How Do You Do Laundry on a Boat? Clothes for Cruisers

s/v Ceilydh has a wringer on board, and laundry is an all-hands-on-deck job

No, we don't beat them against a rock. It's nearly impossible to secure a rock on a moving vessel. So how do cruisers do laundry on a boat? And what about those now dreaded events? You know, like going out in public. In this combined topic, cruisers discuss how they wash and what they wear.

This was a Raft-UP topic in August 2012.

Tammy (plodding in paradise) gives a concise summary of how to look classy while cruising.

Steph (Norna's News) is refreshingly honest about her challenges adapting her land-based wardrobe to life aboard.

Diane (Ceilydh Sets Sail) explains how a family aboard in the tropics addresses laundry issues.

Lynn (s/v Celebration) provides lots of info on selecting cruising clothing fabrics and features.

Laundry aboard JOY has a unique "System" as Ean explains (more JOY everywhere!).

Clothing needs are different depending on whether you're living on land, living on a sailboat and working, or cruising, or on a powerboat, and Jessica (Project Motor Boat) has seen them all, as she explains in her first link.  In the second link, Jessica focuses on laundry room etiquette and offers tips on how to stay in the good graces of the laundering gods.

Laundry day might be high tech or low tech, depending on which harbor Behan's family of five is in (Sailing With Totem).

Mix and match clothing probably saved Jaye's career while living aboard and working in Washington D.C. (Life Afloat Archives).

Stacey and Brett (S/V Bella Vita) managed work and home life wardrobes in a small space over the last three years of living aboard, and looks ahead to what they will likely take with them when they cast off to go cruising.

Verena (PacificSailors) has lots of tips about how to do laundry aboard ... and how not to.

Karen (Toast Floats) describes her husband's creative solution to laundry work.

Dana (Northfork) proves that conventional wisdom about cotton can be wrong, describes her husband's efficient shopping strategy, and more:

Here's a thread on Cruisers Forum about laundry:


[starting 7/2/13 - Note: old topic, new posts.]

Amy (s/v Papillon) admits that "laundry day clothes" are a little worse than regular cruiser clothes, but still, she doesn't "get a single funny look."  Why? "Because this is how cruisers look."

With a teeny, tiny portable washing machine and a bit of sunshine, Sarah (Blue Water Dreaming) avoids the exorbitant fees charged in the marina laundromat.

Jan (sv WindWatcher) has a pint-sized washing machine too - and she loves it.

In a Facebook group for Women Who Sail, Victoria (Forgeover) is an acknowledged expert on laundry in the South Pacific.  Here is her review of the options:

Brittany (Windtraveler) shares her secret ingredient for clean and fresh-smelling clothes, when you need to do laundry by hand:

Kelley (Sailing Chance) does her research and gathers her supplies to do laundry cruiser-style.

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  1. We used a Wonder Wash hand crank machine. Worked great, but sure wish we would have had one of those hand crank wringer on board. Where did you find it? Michael..

    1. I noticed in the cruisers forum thread that a lot of people had good things to say about the wonder wash. The wringer is on s/v Ceilydh - give her a few days to see this, so she can tell you more about the wringer.

    2. Wait --Here's the link - it was Ceilydh's website:

  2. I also wrote this post regarding Laundry Etiquette.

  3. I have a post about doing laundry on board, although i'm not cruising and have easy access to a tap so it's a bit easier for me. But here's my link all the same http://www.bluewaterdreaming.net/2012/08/laundry-day/

  4. I just did a post on how I do my laundry aboard: http://bit.ly/1bZiVjX