How do you do your laundry when you live in a car?  – Backpacking Tips

Laundry on journeys in New Zealand

Do laundry? In Europe we all know the annoying thing of clean clothes. But in an apartment or a house there is usually at least one washing machine. It gets more difficult when you are travelling and don't have your own washing machine in the van. But with a little planning and information the whole thing is not an issue in New Zealand and the laundry is done quickly.

We'll show you the tricks that make washing laundry simple and effective.


New Zealand washing machines

Finding a washing machine is usually easier than expected. Either you are on a campsite that provides one or you go to one of the many laundrettes. New Zealand washing machines are usually filled from above and wash cold (even if there is something else). We have noticed that after washing with washing powder, the clothes often contain white residues. To avoid this you should first put the powder and then the clothes into the drum, or even better use liquid detergent. To wash warm or even hot, you have to set the washing machine to “Colour” or “White” (but most of the time it is also on or in the lid of the machine); unfortunately this does not necessarily promise that the machine then really washes warmer.

When the machine is finished, you are faced with the next question: Do you want to use a dryer or not? Usually the dryer’s need 2-3 runs to get the clothes dry and each run costs money.

But to dry the laundry in the air you would need a laundry corner or a clothesline and many clothes pegs or not?

No – luckily not!


Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash


Good washing facilities

Although there are certainly other good laundromats, we have had a very good experience with the “Liquid Laundromat” chain. They run laundromats all over New Zealand. In every bigger city there is usually at least one branch of them. The laundrettes have no staff, do not take coins and are always built according to the same principle. Also the prices are similar to everywhere, the biggest difference; the machines are much more modern and normally front loaders. Also the machine size of washing machine and dryer are rather generously dimensioned. That's why we now only wash in these stores.

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A washing machine of up to 8 kilograms costs 4NZD, but there are also larger washing machines with more capacity for a small extra charge.


Laundry drying

A clothesline is very advantageous (to be found in DIY stores, the warehouse, etc.) but not absolutely necessary. A fence or the car are already completely sufficient (one can hang garments over the mirror, in the doors or under the windshield wipers clamped if the car is reasonably clean).


Good drying possibilities

In addition to the savings tips mentioned above, the Liquid Laundromat also has good dryers. Due to the generous dimensions, the laundry is normally ready after a drying cycle. A dryer load also costs from 4NZD and is practical as a front loader.


More about Liquid Laundromat

The chain has laundrettes all over New Zealand. These are always built according to the same principle. There are small and large washing machines and dryers. All the shops we have seen so far have been modern and in good condition, but there is no local staff. To pay you need a so-called key. These keys are usually available at a shop in the immediate vicinity. Once you have purchased a key, you can load credit on this key. You can use the credit in every Liquid Laundromat branch, the key itself costs 3NZD and can be passed on to the next traveller when you leave the country. You can buy washing powder at the shops, but it is cheaper to bring your own washing powder.


Clothespin tricks

With some tricks you can also reduce the clothespins to a minimum:

  • Socks and underwear can be easily clamped together (e.g. a clip around both heels of the socks)
  • Hang garments such as T-shirts in a double pack, i.e. clamp one T-shirt from one side and another from the other side over the leash and together
  • Trousers are usually heavy enough so that they cannot fall down even in windy conditions. To be on the safe side, simply close the button on the waistband around the leash
  • Jackets can be fastened very similarly, simply hang open lengthwise over the leash and close the zipper around the leash
  • Bras can also be attached to the clothesline by simply closing the hooks around the line
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Laundry dirty but no launderette nearby

You don't always find a launderette, or you only have a few clothes so a whole machine isn't worth it. If you are close to a river or lake, you can of course wash your clothes by hand.

PLEASE make sure that you DO NOT dispose of any detergent in nature! In an emergency, do not use detergents rather than polluting rivers, lakes and forests!


Suggestions, additions or questions

Do you have any more tips about washing in New Zealand? Write us your experiences in the comments; we look forward to your experience and additional tips for the trip!



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