Being a long haul truck driver presents numerous challenges. People who have jobs that allow them to come home every night don’t require the level of planning as truckers for minor day to day activities. One of those items is washing clothes. If you are home every night, you can throw a load of laundry into the wash and have a fresh set of clothes that’s ready to wear in a couple hours. As a trucker, getting clean clothes isn’t quite so easy.
So how do truckers wash their clothes while on the road? Most truck stops nowadays have laundry washing facilities that can be used. However, some level of planning will still be required for the driver to ensure they have everything they need to wash their dirty clothes. In the article below, we’ll cover what drivers need to make washing their clothes on the road an easy and inexpensive process.
What clothing to wear
I think it’s very important to ensure that the clothes you are wearing while out on the road are clean. Personally, it is refreshing to put on a new clean set of clothing to start the day. On days that I’m able to change into a new set of clothes, I feel much better. It’s amazing what a small shower and change of clothes can do to your attitude.
With that in mind though, changing clothes everyday isn’t always feasible. Trucks have limited amount of storage for clothing (both clean and dirty) and there’s no point in changing clothes if you’ve simply driven all day and haven’t gotten dirty.
Since you likely won’t be changing clothes every day, I think it’s important to ensure the clothes that you are wearing are comfortable.
My go to clothing for driving is just some jeans and a t-shirt. That’s what makes me most comfortable. I know many drivers who wear shorts or bagging jogging pants, which is fine as well. I’ve grown to really like the cooling t-shirts that have become popular over the last few years.
I tried a few different brands out, but ended up really liking the shirts by Neleus. Amazon sells them in 3 packs multi-colored packs, so I like to pick them up from there. In the summer months, these shirts keep me cool and I never sweat unless I’m out of the truck and in the heat and humidity.
These don’t take up much room and they are also comfortable for me to work out in when I get the chance as well.
If it’s winter time, I wear those same shirts and usually just throw on a flannel shirt like these from Three Sixty Six. They also have the moisture wicking technology as well as stretch fabric.
These clothes are what’s comfortable for me. Find what’s keeps you comfortable and buy multiples of them so you can keep them in the truck. I’d recommend trying the wicking fabric though because it does a good job at controlling sweat and smell so that your truck doesn’t start stinking as your laundry bag starts filling up with dirty clothes.
What you’ll need
There are a few things that you’ll need should you decide to wash your clothes while out on the road. Everything is very inexpensive, but I’d recommend buying everything before you hit the road because all these items will be marked up considerably if you get them from a truck stop.
To make it easy to keep your dirty clothes together and make it easy to carry from the truck to where you are washing them, I recommend some canvas laundry bands like these on Amazon. You can pick them up anywhere, including truck stops, but like I said earlier, they will be more expensive. I also like this brand because they are made of thick canvas and the strap comes in very handy to throw on your shoulder.
Obviously, any detergent will work, and again truck stops typically sell overpriced bottles of it. However, I really like the laundry detergent sheets that you can get here at Amazon. The nice thing about them is that they come in a small container (or sometimes box) that is easy to store in your truck and don’t take up much room. They also double as detergent, fabric softener and help reduce the amount of static that is created.
Again, regular detergent will work fine, but for me it is easier to store these and I can throw a sheet or two into the laundry bad before leaving the truck to go wash. It’s once less thing for me to have to carry. I use regular detergent at home because my wife has a high efficiency washer and from what she’s found, Amazon is the cheapest place to get any detergent these days.
Once thing that’s always helpful to have in the truck is a roll of quarters. Most washers and dryer machines are going to cost around $1 – $2 per load to use while on the road. Understand, that’s per machine, so at some truck stops you can pay $4 to wash and dry one load of clothes. Truck stops can be hit or miss on having working coin machines, so I just always try to save my quarters and pick up a roll of them at the back from time to time if I’m running short.
Use the showers
If you find yourself needing a few pieces of clothes but don’t have enough to do a full load, it is possible to wash a few pieces of clothing while you are in the shower. I’ve done this several times. Liquid bath soap cleans clothing just as well as laundry detergent. The one downfall to using this option is the fact that there isn’t a quick and easy way to dry the clothes that you’ve washed.
What I do it wring the water out as much as I can while in the shower. Then I take them back to the truck and hang them in the sleeper on a retractable clothes lines that I hung. I picked up this one on Amazon that has 4 lines. When I need to hang clothes, I just stretch it to the other side of the cab and hand the wet clothes.
When I’m done, it retracts back into its holder. If you go this route, it’s best to wash your clothes in the morning, so they can hang and dry during the day. It sucks to wake in the middle of the night to clothing hanging in the sleeper with you.
As you can see, there are options out there that make it easier for truckers to do their laundry while on the road. It will never be as convenient and inexpensive as doing them in your own home, but with a bit of pre-planning, you can make it more tolerable. Feel free to add any tips or ideas in the comment section below that you find useful.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like my article titled “How do truck drivers use the bathroom while on the road.” There’s actually more options available than you might be aware of!