The travel game can be dirty business! Add a few sweaty days of exploring, take away the washing machine, and you’re left with some less-than-fresh clothes.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to keep things under control if you just plan ahead. I’ve learned by trial and error what works, and what leaves a stinky suitcase.
Here are my essential tips for cleaning clothes while traveling.
Hand washing can be an incredible effective and simple solution– you just have to know what you’re doing and plan in advance. Here’s how:
- Bring Small Woolite Packs: These little guys were literally made for washing clothes in a tiny hotel room sink. They’ll leave your clothes spotless with minimal effort.
- Wash in the Sink or Bathtub: Some places have “unpluggable” sinks, so if you have a hard time plugging the drain, try using a wet washcloth or socks!
- Pack a Drying Line: I love this travel clothes string. Just toss it and a few clothes pins into a baggie and you’re set.
- Check Your Bathroom: Sometimes hotels have a laundry line inside the bathroom so search around.
- In a Pinch: If you can’t hang your clothes to dry, try rolling clothes tightly in a towel to squeeze out excess moisture. It will go a long way with lightweight fabric.
- Grab a Bag: Usually hotels have laundry bags to stash dirty clothes or you can just track down a bag. Ask the hotel for a garbage or get one from a market.
Keep in Mind: Avoid packing heavy fabrics whenever possible– they are heavier in weight and take forever to dry! Pack lightweight fabrics that don’t wrinkle and will dry quickly.
I always travel with Aloha Dry Bags for damp swimsuits and clothes, and I would definitely recommend in case you are ever left with damp items when you need to pack up!
No gimmicks here. Scrubba Bag seriously does the job. The bag lies flat and is ultra suitcase friendly, which is the first test for any travel accessory to pass.
Be sure to bring your own soap, store your dirty clothes in the Scrubba Bag during your trip until you’re ready to wash, then go for it.
Read More: Backpacking Essentials by Eartheasy
Lots of hotels have laundry options, which is the easiest way to get clothes clean. If you have delicates, you may want to also look for a local dry cleaner. The options will depend on where you stay, but you’ll find a they are especially common throughout Southeast Asia, and most international cities won’t make you travel too far.
Depending on where you are and what you’re washing, you can expect to pay around $1-3 per Kilo– which is SO much cheaper than packing a few extra kilos of clothes.
Most countries around the world have some communal location to do laundry. In Europe and US, you’ll find that the majority cities make it easy to track down a coin-operated washing machine.
The typical load costs $3-7. If you’re not in a Western country, ask your hotel. They are usually local professional shops that’ll do it for cheap.
Remember: Keep it simple! Depending on what you’re up to, you may find that you can extend the time between washes. Most things just don’t need to be washed after each wear unless you’re getting seriously sweaty.
Get out of the auto-wash habit and use your discretion (and your nose!) to see what really needs to be washed and what can be worn a few times before it’s thrown in the cycle.