How Much Water Does an RV Washer Use?

Most RV’s are equipped with a washer unit that’ll allow you to keep your clothes clean without needing to stop at a laundromat and spend between $20-40 per week on laundry. If you don’t already have a washer in your RV, you may be wondering how much water they consume.

Let’s take a closer look at RV washer water consumption so you can decide if this is the right upgrade for your rig.

How Much Water Does an RV Washing Machine Use?

The make and model of your washing machine will determine the exact amount of water used.

On average, an RV washer will consume between eight and twenty gallons of water for each load.

It is recommended to choose the smallest size that will meet your needs and to only wash clothes while attached to a hookup. This will ensure that you have enough water for other functions like flushing the toilet while you are actually in motion.

Vented vs Non-Vented RV Washers

Most RV washing machines use the vented option, but there are plenty of units that are non-vented. This designation will also play a part in how much water is consumed with each load.

Non-Vented RV Washers

In a non-vented RV washing machine, the air in the drum will be heated during the dry cycle. This allows users to save space by not using two units, but, it also increases the per cycle water usage.

Non-vented RV washing machines will use about an extra five gallons of water per load than a vented machine regardless of washer brand. This will put the per cycle water usage between 20 gallons and 25 gallons of water.

Vented RV Washers

In a vented camper washing machine the air in the cabin environment is what is used to dry out the clothes.

This option takes up more power per cycle, but it also reduces the amount of water you will need per cycle. Vented washers start their usage from around 10 gallons.

If you want a vented RV washing machine your rig will need to either have an air exhaust vent built-in, or you will need to modify your RV to have one installed.

How Much Water Does a Splendide RV Washer Use?

Splendide WD2100XC White Vented Combo Washer/Dryer

A vented Splendide washer/dryer like the WD2100XC combo model uses between 9-16 gallons of water with an average of use of 10 gallons of water for loads of between  ½ to ⅔ full. 

If you’re going with a Splendide model like the one above which a lot of RVers are, the key with this washer dryer is not to run the dryer for too long otherwise you’ll end up with burning hot and wrinkled clothes.

For a typical load choose normal wash setting and then 60-minute dry. The power usage for this wash/dry cycle is an average of 1.3 kWh for a normal load.

RV Washer Types, Plus Water Usage

As we mentioned earlier, a few different things will determine how much water your RV washer will use.

The type of washing machine unit, the size, and even what cycle you use will all play a part in calculating usage. We have put together a list of the most common washer types that are used in motorhomes and their consumption specs. This list should help you choose the right model and type of washer to fit your RV needs.

Washer-Dryer Combos for RVs

For families looking to maximize their available space, a combination washer dryer is worth considering. These units consume less electricity overall and come in both non-vented and vented variations. A combo RV unit will use between 20 and 25 gallons of water for each load.

Combination washers are smaller than most RV pre-installed washers. Despite their small size and their combined usage, they don’t take long to complete the dry cycle. Some of the earlier models of combo washers would take twice as long to wash and dry as regular units, but these kinks were resolved years ago.

Portable Washer and Dryers

Portable washers and dryer units are typically non-vented and the only in-vehicle RV laundry solution for rigs that aren’t pre-pepped. They also have a very small electricity usage which helps to save your battery when you are on the road. 

Portable RV washers are smaller than other types and will use much less water per load as a result. An average cycle will consume eight gallons of water but may vary slightly depending on the washer model.

In addition to being an affordable upgrade, you can wash your smaller loads rather quickly. They are heavier than other models and are manually operated. Higher-end models feature moisture sensors so that you can monitor when to apply heat for proper drying.

Stackable RV Washer and Dryers

For RVers with larger families, stackable washer and dryers may be worth considering. This style of RV laundry solution is just like it sounds, and like its stationary counterpart. There is a dryer unit that sits on top of the washer unit. This allows users to operate both machines at the same time.

If you have a lot of people or will be washing clothes often, this may be the most efficient option. Keep in mind stackable RV washer and dryers take up more space than other models. They also have a higher water usage level ranging from 15 gallons to 25 gallons per cycle. While non-vented options for stackable units exist, the majority are vented. Regardless of what brand or model you choose a modification will need to be made to your RV. 

Luxurious RV bedroom interior with a washer and dryer combo in closet in bedroom

What is The Best RV Washer Detergent to Use?

Splendide recommends the use of HE (High Efficiency) detergents for your washer-dryer since they are quick dissolving and low sudsing and will deliver the best results for front-loading machines.

Another tip is to buy biodegradable detergent which is is safer for the environment and won’t put a ton of crazy chemicals into the water supply.

You can use a small amount of fabric softener or white vinegar to help with the wrinkles.

The Bottom Line on RV Washer and Dryers

There are more benefits of owning an on-board washing machine than there are drawbacks. In terms of water usage, you can expect to expend between 8 gallons per cycle for a basic model. You may also use as much as 25 gallons of water for a larger model.

Consider the size of your RV, how often you will wash your clothes and your traveling style when choosing a washing machine for your RV.


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