Washing tips for travellers

Andrea’s tips will help you pare down on your travel packing.

How to do washing while you travel

The idea of doing laundry while on holiday is not terribly appealing to most travellers, but a few simple travel laundry tricks can save you the bother of lugging your dirty washing around with you – and may even help you pare down on your packing.

Pack the right clothes
According to Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Jeans, machine washing jeans is completely unnecessary making them the ultimate piece of travel clothing. They only need to be washed every two to six months, or when they start smelling!

Wool, and in particular merino wool, is a winner when it comes to travel clothing as it is fast-drying, keeps you warm and locks in odour.

Although cotton breathes well, it can stretch after a few hand washes and dries slowly. Opt instead for polyester or poly-blends.

Pack your oldest underwear. If you have underwear that has seen better days, take them on your holiday and throw them in the bin along the way after wearing them; no washing required.

What to wash your clothes with
Take sachets of laundry detergent, or pack a ziplock bag of laundry powder from home – they will take up virtually no room in your luggage. Alternatively, the shampoo and conditioner supplied in your room make excellent laundry liquid. If you are prone to spilling food or drinks on your clothes, pack a small 50ml plastic bottle of liquid stain remover or Eucalyptus oil. A small amount rubbed into a stain and soaked in a sink of water should see your clothes looking and smelling fresh.

Wash your clothes when you have a shower
After you have rinsed yourself off, place your clothes in the bottom of the shower, sprinkle soap or detergent over them and stomp on them like you are crushing grapes. Rinse under the shower until the water runs clear. Otherwise, pop them in the bathroom sink and use your hands instead. 

Wring out your washing
After you have dried yourself off, use the damp towel or the complimentary bathrobe to wrap your wet clothes in and wring out any excess water. It will save you many hours of drying time. Alternatively, pack a large chamois (that soft pliable sheepskin leather usually used for drying cars) and roll your clothes in the chamois instead of the damp towel to remove the excess.

Use the hairdryer
One piece of clothing I always find takes the longest to dry are my socks. Use the hairdryer supplied in your room on low to take the majority of moisture out of your socks, and then hang on the shower or towel rail overnight to dry completely.

Pack a pegless clothes line
Many hotel rooms have retractable clothes lines in their bathrooms, but in case you find yourself in accommodation that does not supply this handy feature make a quick trip to Kmart before you leave on your holiday. For only $2 you can purchase a pegless clothes line which features suction caps at either end. Another handy item to double as a clothes line is doubled over dental floss.

Don’t leave home without a plastic bag
The humble plastic bags can serve multiple duties for your laundering. First, it can be used for your hand washing. Rather than worrying about dodgy sink plugs or packing your own plug, place the plastic bag in the sink, fill with water and place your hand washing in the bag. If you need to leave something to soak, simply hang the bag on the taps until ready to rinse. You can also use the bag to place your dirty washing in between destinations to contain any bad smells that might contaminate the rest of your clothes.

Take a portable washing machine
The Scrubba wash bag is an ingenious product which has an old fashioned wash board mechanism built into it. It is extremely small and lightweight – and folds down to the size of your pocket!

Do you have your own tip to share for doing laundry while on holiday?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    6th Oct 2018
    One bar of sunlight soap, gets stains out, and use for washing .
    Plus after anything is washed, and you have used your towel in hotel etc. place wet items in towel roll up ,twist and wring out , then hang to dry.
    Done this for years

    6th Oct 2018
    I don't undress to shower. I take my clothes off in the shower and give them a quick rub with shampoo and a rinse and throw them over the shower rail.
    We have an automatic washing machine built in to our motorhome, but I like my Sphere Ecospin as it takes very little water and is quick and easy to use and needs no power. I find getting the water out the hardest part of hand washing and this does it so efficiently.
    6th Oct 2018
    So many hotels have sinks with those stupid pop up metal plugs that don't seal well when you want to soak clothes for awhile. Also find hotels are replacing sinks with tiny little shallow bowls now that are almost impossible to do washing in. I think they trying to stop people washing out clothes in the room, and use the hotel laundry at greatly inflated prices.

    Thanks for the tip about taking a plastic bag to wash in. That will solve the problem. I always have a few supermarket bags in my luggage for dirty washing, shoes etc. But not a strong enough one for washing. I will try and find one. Always carry a couple of inflatable hangers as well. I'd love a Scrubba Wash Bag, but they are a bit pricey.
    22nd Jun 2019
    I'm staying in one of those hotels at the moment. There is an easy solution, before you fill the basin with water place a piece of kitchen cling wrap over the area of the plug and smooth down. The suction and pressure of the water above will provide a complete seal
    22nd Jun 2019
    I find that neutral flavoured shower gel does fine for showers, washing up and laundry just as toothpaste does okay for shaving cream. I made a 3m washing line with string from home and 2 or 3 suction hooks from Clarkes Rubber. I take miniature clothes pegs (bought in Germsny) which are handy if a line or horse are provided. On long overseas driving trips I buy a cheap plastic bucket, usually around $2 for clothes washing but use it in the car as an Esky packed with a couple of frozen milks or water bottles and any food perishables. If flying, remove the handle, the bucket will squeeze down, fill it with gear and pack it in your case

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