Doing laundry when on holiday is definitely not the highlight of your trip, but sometimes it’s got be done – especially when spending lots of time in the outdoors. Whether you are staying at a luxurious resort or camping in the bush, dealing with dirty laundry is something you’ll be faced with.
Here’s our guide to holiday laundry – our advice may come in handy!
Pack Enough & Re-wear
It goes without saying that the more clean clothing you bring, the less washing you will have to do. But of course, light luggage is always preferred. We suggest packing for one week taking 3-4 outfits and 7 pairs of underwear. Clothing can and should be rework – undergarments on the other hand are a different story.
Wear your clothes multiple times until they become dirty or start to smell. This method helps reduce the amount of laundry you will do while traveling and also save wear on your clothes. This might sound odd, but washing your clothes can be hard on the fabrics and it can be better to wash them less. Sometimes you can wear the same shirt 2-3 times before it would be labelled as ‘dirty’. This just depends on what you are doing and where you are in the world.
How to Wash
Below are different ways to wash your laundry while traveling. Even if you are taking a short trip, you can still implement some of these methods so you can pack light.
Each method has it advantages and disadvantages, as you will read below. It’s surprisingly easy to keep your clothing nice and clean while you are traveling!
The sink wash method has worked for years and is one of our top picks. Plug the drain of the sink, add soap, fill up with hot water and hand wash your clothing. Let everything soak for a while before using your hands to massage and work the material. When you’re done washing, rinse your clothing with clean water. This is probably the most popular way to clean clothing for travelers.
Soak Bag Method
This method uses a plastic, waterproof bag to act as your own personal washing machine. We have also found that any decent waterproof bag will get the job done. You can purchase a variety of bag sizes and I would recommend something that can fit at least half of the clothing you plan to carry with you when traveling.
Throw your clothing into the bag, add a pinch of laundry detergent, fill with hot water and seal the bag. Shake or mix everything up for a few minutes and then let soak. Once cleaned dump the clothing into the sink and rinse in the bag or in the sink.
Plug your shower drain, run hot water, strip off your clothing or place your clothing into the shower, move your feet over the clothing like your crushing grapes and rinse each garment under the shower head until the water runs clear. This works well if you do it daily or even if you have a large amount of clothing to wash. I use this method all the time.
For this method you will need one or two wash bins or even trash cans will work, anything that will hold water. Fill up the bin with soap and hot water, use your hands to wash the clothing by squeezing and ringing them like a washing machine. If you have two bins fill the other bin up as your rinse bin and rinse your clothing until the water runs clear. This method is very similar to the sink method except it allows you to choose a bigger bin for washing.
Visit a Local Laundromat
Coin operated laundromats can be found all around the world, even in the smallest of towns. Many hostels and hotels will also have coin-operated machines to use. This is a great option if you have something nasty that needs a good deep clean or you just don’t feel up to washing them yourself. Many are safe to use and to leave you’re clothing until they are done without fear of your items being stolen. If you’re lucky, some even offer WiFi.
Send It Out
Have a pile of laundry to deal with but having a bad day? No worries, send it out and stop worrying about it. Regardless of the accommodation class you choose, there is always an option to send your laundry out. In some countries, this can be an affordable option but no matter where you are, this is the most expensive way of dealing with your laundry while traveling.
It always takes 24 hours and most places will charge you per item or based on your weight of clothing. It is important to clarify how they will be washing your clothes for you. While many times you will have standard option of machine washing and drying, don’t assume this. In many parts of the world, sending out the laundry will still result in hand washing and line drying. Just something to keep in mind.
How To Dry Your Clothes While Traveling?
Drying your clothes on the road can be tricky bc line drying may be your only available method. But it is just like being at home and not using a dryer, you have to pay attention to the climate both indoors and outdoors.
Indoor Drying – Sometimes drying clothes indoors works faster than outside. If you have air con, a heather, or a fan, that will also help the process of drying clothing indoors. Note that fans don’t do the job if the weather is humid.
Outdoor Drying – Drying your clothes outside while traveling can be hard, you need a nice sunny day and a great place to hang your clothing outside. Plan your washing day around the forecast & if you don’t have a line to use, find some supplies and DIY!
Pre-Dry with Towel – To speed up the drying process, use a dry towel, lay it out, place the clothing on the towel, and roll it up as tight as you can get it. The dry towel will pull much of the excess water from washing out of the clothing, allowing your clothes to dry faster for outside or inside drying.
Keeping Clean Clothes Fresh
To keep your clothing fresh, fill small plastic bags with potent smelling dryer sheets and then pack them between the clothing. This helps absorb any smells off of clothes your wearing more than once, keeps any strange smells you may encounter with your bags while traveling off and also keep your freshly laundered clothing fresh longer. Every few weeks we open and remove the dryer sheets on the top and bottom to release new scent and it works really well.
Items to Pack
There are some products that you want to consider if you plan to do laundry while traveling. Each item makes laundry days easier and faster.
Drain Stopper – Makes it possible to plug a wide variety of drain sizes
Travel Clothes Line – Packs away to almost nothing and makes it possible to hang clothes anywhere
Quick Dry Towel – comes in handy for pre-drying on laundry day
Waterproof Bag – To soak those really nasty clothes
Stain Pen – We don’t use it often, but when we do, we need it.
Hopefully our advice will serve you well on your next adventure. If you are off somewhere this holiday season, be safe & have an unforgettable trip!