Laundry Tips and Tricks: Travel Edition

Nobody wants to think about doing laundry while traveling, but these are some top tips and tricks to perfecting your clean clothes on the go!


The Traveling Shopaholic

8/10/20234 min read

pink blue and white textiles
pink blue and white textiles

Laundry on the Go: Tips and Tricks for Fresh Travel Wardrobe

Traveling is an exciting adventure that lets us explore new cultures, indulge in mouthwatering cuisines, and revel in breathtaking landscapes. However, amidst the thrill of new experiences, one mundane yet essential task often gets overlooked: doing laundry. While it may not be the most glamorous part of your journey, mastering the art of laundry on the go can keep your wardrobe fresh and your travel experience stress-free. In this post, I'll share invaluable tips, helpful products, and tricks (some from our Facebook group!) to ensure you're never caught with a suitcase full of dirty laundry.

1. Plan Ahead:

Before you embark on your travel escapade, take some time to research the laundry facilities available at your destination and plan out what days you may need to get some washing done. Many accommodations offer laundry services, either in-house (ie: AirBnB, hotel) or through a nearby laundromat. Knowing your options beforehand can save you time and hassle once you arrive.

2. Pack Wisely:

Choosing the right clothing can significantly reduce the need for frequent laundry. Opt for versatile, lightweight, and quick-drying fabrics that can be easily washed and dried overnight. This not only minimizes the amount of clothing you need but also makes the laundry process a breeze. This is extra important for those of us that prefer carry on only travel.

3. Carry Travel-Friendly Laundry Supplies:

Invest in compact, travel-sized laundry essentials to ensure you're always prepared. Here are some popular recommendations:

  • Travel Laundry Detergent Sheets: These dissolve in water and are incredibly convenient for hand washing small items in sinks or tubs. (I use this brand both abroad and at home...they leave my clothes feeling clean and pack down flat, are lightweight and won't spill!)

  • Travel Clothesline: A portable, elastic clothesline with clips allows you to hang your clothes virtually anywhere to dry.

  • Stain Remover Stick: Accidents happen, but a stain remover stick can quickly tackle spills and stains before they set.

  • Packable Laundry Bags: Keep your clean and dirty clothes separate while allowing air circulation to prevent odors.

  • Individiual Laundry Detergent Packets: Conveniently sized and packaged for individual loads. (*Group members also rave about THIS brand!)

  • Scrubba Portable Wash Bag: A foldable washing bag that weighs only 5.3 oz and is sure to get your items squeaky clean!

  • Large Ziploc Plastic Bags: One group member mentioned bringing large (2.5 gallon) plastic bags to wash her clothing in as the sink in her hotel was far too small. Great for smaller items like underwear, socks, tanks etc.

4. Master the Art of Hand Washing:

Hand washing your clothes might seem like a daunting task, but with a little practice, it becomes second nature. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  • Pre-Treat Stains: Before washing, spot treat any visible stains using your stain remover stick.

  • Fill a Sink or Tub: Fill a sink or tub with lukewarm water and a small amount of travel laundry detergent/sheet.

  • Soak and Agitate: Let your clothes soak for a few minutes, then agitate them by gently rubbing the fabric together to loosen dirt and grime.

  • Rinse and Repeat: Drain the soapy water and refill the sink/tub with clean water for rinsing. Gently squeeze and rinse your clothes until the water runs clear.

  • Squeeze, Don't Wring: Wringing can damage delicate fabrics. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water from your clothes.

  • Drying Time: A hot tip from the group is to lay your clothes flat on a towel and roll them up to absorb excess water. Hang your clothes on your travel clothesline to air dry.

5. Embrace Local Laundromats:

Exploring local laundromats can offer a glimpse into daily life and allow you to interact with locals. Plus, laundromats often have industrial-sized machines that can handle larger loads and ensure a thorough clean.

6. Time Management:

While waiting for your laundry to dry, use the opportunity to explore nearby attractions, cafes, or parks. This turns a chore into an opportunity for new discoveries.

7. Stay Organized:

To avoid mixing up clean and dirty clothes, always keep a separate compartment or bag for used items. Mesh laundry bags are excellent for this purpose.

8. Utilize Hotel Services:

If your accommodation offers laundry services, take advantage of them. It might be slightly more expensive than DIY options, but the convenience can be worth it.

9. Consider Clothing Alternatives:

Opt for clothing items that are resistant to odors and moisture, such as merino wool (Unbound Merino is a favorite!) or certain synthetic blends. This can extend the time between washes.

10. Keep a Positive Attitude:

Laundry mishaps or challenges are part of the travel experience. Embrace the process with a positive attitude, and remember that it's all part of the adventure.

Mastering the art of laundry on the go can significantly enhance your travel experience. With careful planning, a few travel-friendly essentials, and a willingness to embrace the process, you'll be able to maintain a fresh and clean wardrobe no matter where your wanderlust takes you. Happy travels and happy laundering!

green jacket on white front load washing machine
green jacket on white front load washing machine

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