We're an affiliate. If you use our partner links we may earn a commsission from sales at no extra cost to you. Thank you! Read the full disclosure here.

truckers laundromat

How do truck drivers do laundry?

Nobody likes chores, but doing laundry is one of the more important chores that need to get done in order to maintain hygiene – especially in the age of corona.

Whether you’re new to the industry, been at it awhile, curious (searching for random topics on google) or travel frequently enough that you need to do your laundry you might able to use a few tips. 

Truck drivers work hard and for long hours. Often, they spend a lot of time driving then have to either assist in unloading or unload the truck themselves. Then get back in the truck and do all again. 

The environments can vary from typical warehouse dirt to a chemical plant. Maybe you just spilled diesel fuel on yourself by accident the last time you fueled. In any case, you’re going to want to get the dirt, chemical or fuel off of your clothing so your not tracking it around or have to smell it. Or, smell like it. 

This is the way it is;

Truck drivers have tight delivery schedules and life on the road can get hectic. You’ll have to do some good trip planning so you can plan a good rest stop to take the time to get some laundry done. How do truck drivers do laundry? We’ll take a look at some options and the different ways to get it handled. 

If you plan things just right, you might not even need to do your laundry while out on the road (if you “hack” it, you’ll save a lot of money in the process). If you do though – there are several ways to handle it.

Video: How to do laundry at a pilot truck stop

How do truck drivers do laundry

Truck drivers typically use any of the following to get their laundry done while on the road:

  • Truck stop laundromat
  • Local laundromat
  • Laundry facilities located in a hotel
Consider buying “travel underwear”. They can be easily washed by hand and dry quickly.

Choose the right clothes

This is a big one – clothes made from certain materials will help keep them stink-free for a longer period. Skip polyester and poly-blend shirts – they absorb sweat faster, but they also start stinking faster and hold that stink longer. Also, skip light-colored clothing – there’s a higher chance of getting them dirty by the end of the day.

Instead, stick to natural materials (like cotton) and dark colors that hide dirt better. Don’t be greedy when it comes to clothes for the road – buy sturdy high-quality clothes that can serve you for a long time.

When it comes to pants – jeans are the most popular choice and for a good reason. They’re not only comfy, but sturdy, do not show wear easily, and can easily be worn for three or four days straight as long as you look after your hygiene.

If you go for shorter gigs – say stay on the road for no more than a week – at a time, you can easily bring the few changes of clothes with you and skip doing laundry on the road altogether. Instead, keep the dirty things in a separate pack and do the laundry when you get back home.

If you’re planning to be on the road for a longer period of time, however, you won’t be able to avoid doing laundry on the road – no matter how sparingly you change your clothes.

If that’s the case, you’ll have to use laundromats.

Do Truck Stops Have Laundromats?

The good news is most truck stops, especially the bigger ones, have their own laundry facilities, along with showers, and a cafeteria – so you can take care of all your business right there.

Typically, a load of laundry will cost you between $1 and $2, depending on the same, with dryer prices usually in the same vicinity. If the truck stop in question doesn’t have a laundry facility of its own, ask around if there’s a commercial laundromat somewhere in the area – though be aware that they might not have parking suitable for large trucks (this is why it’s always better to check potential stops beforehand and ensure they have all the facilities you may need when you stop).

BYOS – Bring Your Own Supplies

Always make sure that you have your own laundry detergent and laundry cart (or something that could act as a laundry cart) on hand – while commercial laundromats carry their own and some even provide detergent for free, truck stop laundry facilities aren’t likely to do so. If you don’t have the detergent on you, you’ll have to buy some at the truck stop – and they usually wildly overprice their products.

And last, but not least, always be careful calculating how much time you’ll be spending doing your laundry. While some recommend simply living the washing machine on, while going to the cafeteria or to take a shower, others firmly advise staying close by while doing your laundry, since they’ve had a bad experience such as having their clothes either thrown out by another trucker in haste or outright stolen.

Laundry supplies to bring:

  • Laundry detergent
  • fabric softener
  • Plastic bag or laundry bag
  • Dryer sheets

What is a Double Load Washer?

 Commercial laundromats – including the ones at truck stops – will likely have a variety of washer sizes.

The most common among them are “single load” and “double load” washers, but there are also “triple” to “super” to “mega load” washers (which can wash up to 55 pounds of clothing), though not all truck stops are likely to have them.

If the washing machine is coin-operated, then the higher its capacity – the higher the cost.

Double load washers are usually an optimal choice – they can wash about 20 pounds at the same time and they’re reasonably priced.

Dryers, on the other hand, tend to be overpriced, if they’re charging by the minute. If there’s an option to pay-by-a-cycle, then choose that one, even if it might seem more expensive at first.

semi trucks parked at dock

Portable Washer and Spin Dryer

Portable washers seem to be gaining a small but rather devoted following among the trucker community. While many still think it’s a waste of time – and the water and power they’ll use up will not help save money (and may even cost more), in the end, it will depend on:

  • 1) Which model you choose (there are inexpensive portable washers that use only around 5 gallons of water to wash and 5 to rinse);
  • 2) If it’s possible to safely install them in your truck;
  • 3) How long you stay on the road at a time.

If you’re out on the road for weeks and need to do laundry at laundromats more often than others, portable washers may be worth looking into.

Laundry Tips For Truckers

Sometimes you just need to get laundry done while you’re on a run for a long period of time. Whether you use a hotel with a laundry facility or you’re at a truck stop, here are a few tips to help keep you organized:

  • Stick to mom knows best basics – separate color, delicate etc
  • Wash clothes in a mesh Laundry bag
  • Transport clothing in a plastic bag or box
  • Don’t leave mesh bags or clothes in a plastic bag too long – they’ll mold
  • Some clothes can hang dry vs going into the dryer – it’s good to know which is which
  • Pay attention to dryer setting on your clothes and set dryer appropriately
  • Make sure you buy the right clothes – some clothing wear better than others and dry more quickly
  • Wear you clothes longer if you can – except socks and underwear!

Conclusion

how do truck drivers do laundry

If a trucker plays their cards right – gets optimal clothes for the road, doesn’t change clothes every day, doesn’t stay on the road for more than a week at a time – they might not even need to do their laundry while on the job.

If not – they’ll likely need to do their laundry at a truck stop. They’ll need to keep detergent on hand (buying the on spot is too expensive) and keep an eye on their load while it’s in a washer, but all in all – easily doable.

Another option – especially for truckers who stay on the road for longer periods – is to look into getting a portable washer and a dryer.

If you have time, check out our article on how to meal prep with a small fridge.

Scroll to Top