Lifestyle

How Do You Stay Clean In A Van?

With a little planning, it's not difficult to keep things clean in a van. Here's how to deal with laundry and showers while you're traveling.

When we talk about van life, it is often associated with a dirty and uncomfortable life. But is it really so? The most common questions that arise regarding the “van life” concern cleanliness and hygiene. How do you keep the van clean? Can you maintain daily personal hygiene? How do you take a shower? Wash clothes? 

Having all the comforts in this lifestyle is easier if you have a camper or a medium in which you can set up a shower and have a washing machine inside. But to maintain good hygiene, it is not essential to have a “castle on wheels” and appliances of the latest generation.

Cleaning your van

Let’s start with the basics: obviously, the needs and comforts that a person decides to have are crucial. Of course, in a small van, it could be problematic to keep some comforts. Especially in a small space, you will have to adapt more. But if you organize the space well with the appropriate equipment, you can maintain proper order and hygiene while you’re on the road.

First, occasionally, it is important to perform a deep general cleaning, disinfecting the surfaces and parts that you can disassemble, wash any curtains, blankets, and pillows as you would in a house for spring cleaning.

Clean and dust daily, regularly clean the windows, ventilate often, and apply disinfectant sprays to the fabrics. Fundamentally, it is useful to have a portable vacuum cleaner, especially a wet vacuum with powerful suction, as even liquids will end up on the floor or on the fabrics, and if you are in the company of a four-legged friend, these will help you a lot in the removal of hair.

Dealing with laundry in van life

As for dirty clothes, you can use a folding basket for storage until you can get to the laundromat, which allows you to wash and dry with a minimum expense. I think this is the most practical and preferred solution by many vanlifers.

While waiting to go to the laundry, if you have not accumulated an amount of clothing to warrant the cost and you need a certain clean garment at that time, it is advisable to equip yourself, if you have the necessary space, with a small portable washing machine like the Wonder Wash. Alternatively, you can simply warm up some water and proceed with a hand wash, obviously using the most suitable products. Another idea could be to use a folding bucket to carry out the operation. In addition, the bucket will be useful for many other different purposes.

Portable showers

As for the shower, if you do not have enough space to fit inside the cabin, it is useful to buy a solar shower or pump, easily available on the internet. In combination, for more privacy, you may want to carry a pop-up tent to change in the open air. Never forget the importance of nature, and only use biodegradable soaps for both personal washing and for dishes and clothing.

stay clean in a van
Portable shower – Photo via author

Surely, those who do not have a shower inside the vehicle will have to arm themselves with a spirit of adaptation and enjoy the shower with cold water, or lukewarm at best. This is one of the many reasons why most vanlifers to head to warmer and sunnier places, especially in the winter months.

This will also help you to lessen any moisture problems, which in the long run could turn into mold. Always try to choose the reusable and washable rather than the classic disposable to reduce waste, garbage, and even expenses in the long run.


Read more: Is Van Life Right For You?