Can you do laundry on the Camino de Santiago?

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Laundry on the Camino


Before we walked our first Camino de Santiago, this was one of the questions on our mind. Surely it’s not possible to carry enough clean clothing for one month? No, it’s not! So, can you do laundry on the Camino de Santiago? Find out in our short guide.

You can find more about packing and preparing for the Camino de Santiago in our articles, here and here. We also have a number of books on Amazon, including the Camino de Santiago Survival Guide and the Camino de Santiago Guide for Women.

  1. Can you do laundry on the Camino de Santiago?
  2. How to hand wash clothes on the Camino de Santiago?
  3. How to do laundry in albergues?
  4. Where to visit a laundrette on the Camino de Santiago?
  5. Top tips for doing laundry on the Camino de Santiago
  6. 5 Best Detergents for Washing Clothing on the Camino de Santiago

Can you do laundry on the Camino de Santiago?

You can, and will have to, do laundry on the Camino de Santiago. There are three ways that you can do laundry on the Camino.

  1. Handwash clothing in albergues
  2. Use the laundry machines that are available in some albergues
  3. Visit a laundrette on the Camino de Santiago

How to hand wash clothes on the Camino de Santiago?

Handwashing is likely to be the quickest and easiest way to wash your clothing on a daily basis. If, like us, you go for the “one to wear, one to wash,” rule, then you will be handwashing clothing every evening when you arrive at the albergue.

Before you head off on the Camino, you will want to think about how you will handwash your clothing and what detergent to use. It is possible to pack a handwash detergent, but you will want to consider whether this is too heavy in your backpack. We always use all-in-one soap to wash our clothing. This is soap that can be used to wash your body, hair and clothing. For me, it’s a great packing hack to save space and weight in your backpack. Find out more about the best detergents for washing clothing on the Camino below.

We also recommend that you pack one or two clothing pegs. You can use these to hang your clothing at the albergue in the evening or on your bag the next day.

Next, when you arrive at an albergue, be sure to use the handwashing sink and not do your laundry in the bathrooms. Most albergue owners will explain this to you. But it’s basically a hygiene rule. Normally the handwashing sinks are outside or in a separate room. You may find there is a bit of a queue for the sink.

Finally, you can hang up your laundry. Sometimes there will be a washing line or rack to hang out clothing. If it’s raining, you may be able to hang clothing on your bunk bed (as long as it’s not dripping wet) or somewhere else indoors.

Don’t forget to collect your laundry in the morning! I sometimes set an alarm to remind myself to collect it. It’s easier than you might think to leave it!

If the laundry is still not dry, you may want to hang it on your backpack. If the weather is sunny, it should dry quickly in the morning as you start walking. Just make sure you tuck away your smalls before you get to a town or stop for coffee!

Walking the Camino de Santiago: A Guide for Women

Emma from Lotus Eaters Travel has written a guide for every woman taking on the adventure of a lifetime and walking the Camino de Santiago for the first time.

This book is full of tips on what to pack, advice on preparing for your journey and important details to help you get the most from the Camino. Whilst it does not include maps, it does include itineraries for the main Camino routes, as well as daily stage guides for the last 100km of the walk. You can find a detailed training plan to help prepare you for the Camino as well as extensive information on what to expect when you walk.

Inside this book you will also find information specifically for women walking the Camino, including a chapter on women’s safety and the answers to frequently asked questions like “what are the toilets like on the Camino?” and “How to deal with bed bugs on the Camino?”

It is split into three sections: Preparing for the Camino (packing, training, budgeting, finding motivation), Walking the Camino (choosing who to walk with, meeting people, accommodation, staying healthy, staying safe) and After the Camino (what to do next.)

Find it on Amazon now

How to do laundry in albergues?

Some of the albergues you will visit on the Camino de Santiago will have washing machines and sometimes tumble driers. The majority of the albergues will charge you to use the machines, normally a couple of euros. The exception is the donativo albergues, like Guemes on the Norte route, which does not charge a set rate for machines (but consider this as part of your donation.)

Using the Buen Camino app, you can find out which albergues have laundry facilities before you arrive. Although this is not 100% accurate, it is generally right in our experience. If you really want to be sure, you could contact an albergue in advance.

Often there will be queue to use the machines in an albergue. We recommend getting their as early as possible if you want to be sure that you can use a machine. Of course, you could also buddy up with a friend or someone you meet in the albergue to share the machine. You’re unlikely to have a full machine load on your own!

Where to visit a laundrette on the Camino de Santiago?

Laundrettes are very easy to find in Spain and you are unlikely to need to queue for a long time to use a machine. Whilst you will not find laundrettes in small villages, you will find them easily in large towns or cities. Just look them up on google maps and you will find one.

If you decide to take a rest day during the Camino, this can be a good time to take care of all your laundry. For example, when walking the Norte we stayed in Gijon for an extra day (roughly half way along the route) and did our laundry whilst there.

You will want to make sure you have some coins for the laundrette. Although some laundrettes are card operated, most require cash. Most laundrettes have built in laundry detergent, so you don’t need to worry about carrying it around with you!

Find out more here about travelling with cash or card for the Camino.

Top tips for doing laundry on the Camino de Santiago

  • Plan ahead so that you know when you will be doing laundry and how long your clean clothing will last
  • Pack two of everything needed for walking – one for wearing, one for washing
  • Pack one or two pegs to hang laundry in albergues and to hang it onto your bag the next day if required
  • Pack all-in-one soap that you can use to handwash clothing – like this one
  • Deal with your laundry straight away when you get to the albergue for the evening – don’t let it fester
  • If you plan to use machines at albergues, get there early
  • Buddy up with a walking friend to share a washing machine if required
  • Make sure you have some euro coins for laundry machines
  • A plastic bag can be handy to separate your clean clothing from your worn bits and to carry laundry to a laundrette

5 Best Detergents for Washing Clothing on the Camino de Santiago

  1. Dr Beckmann Travel Wash Detergent – Retailing at under $10/£10, this travel detergent is perfect if you want a dedicated hand washing detergent. At under 100ml, you can also take this onto a plane in your hand luggage, or save on space in your Camino backpack.
  2. Sea to Summit Trek Laundry Sheets – if you’re planning to predominately use laundry machines in albergues, then laundry sheets are the perfect solution for you. These lightweight sheets are handy to pack and can go straight into your machine.
  3. 2 in 1 cleaning brush – if you’re planning to handwash clothing but you want to ensure that it is scrubbed clean, this product is ideal. Offering a 2 in 1 functionality, with a scrub brush and detergent included.
  4. Foaming travel soap – these tiny soap bars and a great option for handwashing. They foam up well to allow for a thorough clean of your clothing. Plus, they are super small so you can pack a few and use them as required.
  5. All in one soap – finally, if you really want to save space in your backpack, you can take an all in one soap. This can wash your body, your hair and your clothing. The ultimate backpacking hack!

What should I pack for the Camino de Santiago?

If you would like more suggestions for packing for the Camino, you can find our supreme Camino packing list for 2023 here. This is our “lightweight” backpack packing list, based on our experience from walking multiple Caminos.

Find our packing list here.


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