Five things you need to know this Friday: doing laundry while traveling.

I have a hard time doing anything halfway. I’m either on or I’m off.

So when I pack light, I am not messing around. Josh and I traveled through West Africa for four months with only day packs. When we got home, I literally threw the entire contents of my pack into the garbage can – my clothes were so thrashed, and I was so sick of them, that throwing them away felt like some kind of purification ritual. Maybe it was.

Anyway, I digress. My point is that packing light has its merits, but it’s also got limitations. One of those limitations is that if you’ve only got 12 things in your pack, then you’ve only got a few days before you need to do laundry. If you’re traveling overseas, this process can be a big pain in the booty unless you come prepared.

Of course, if you are staying in a hotel that offers laundry services, or if you can easily find a laundrymat or another service that will do your laundry for you – great!

However, sometimes finding a laundry solution while traveling can be unpredictable, time consuming, expensive, or a combination of all three.

I find that it’s a great insurance policy to pack a little laundry kit. That way, you’re always prepared.

Five easy pieces.

1. Universal Rubber Sink Stopper. You can use this in any sink, anywhere.Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.36.09 AM

2. Twisted Clothesline. Eliminates the need for clothespins. Stretches to 6 feet. Adjustable straps attach to towel bars, shower heads, door knobs, or wherever you can make them work!

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.43.32 AM3. Laundry soap sheets. I love these because they aren’t liquid. You can cut the sheets in pieces if you aren’t washing many clothes. 

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4. Aloksak Bags. These are awesome if you don’t want to use the sink. You just toss your clothes in, add water and soap, seal the bag, and shake. These bags double as wet-packs, so you can keep things dry in the rain, or separate your wet bathing suit from the rest of the items in your pack. Genius!

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5. Inflatable Hangers. I am not a huge fan of these, because they take up extra space in my pack. However, as we have discussed, I am an “on/off” kind of person, and these may be fantastic for those of you who want to add a touch of luxury to your travel laundry rituals.

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That’s it! Easy.

How do you “wash and go”? Do you have any tips to add?


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  1. Laundromat, laundry Service, or…… some hotels, even the nicer ones, will have a set of washer/dryers tucked away on a floor somewhere. I don’t usually find it advertised but if I call the front desk, they always know. It’s been hit or miss with me, inconsistent, but worth a try.

  2. In Europe, utilize the heated towel bars, it helps dry things extra quick.

  3. The scent in Purex is too strong for my allergies. Do you know of any other brands that are not so scented?

    • Ms. Trish says:

      A Canadian company makes unscented laundry strips called Dizolve. Their website is and they ship to the U.S.

  4. Great tips! I always take the the stopper and twisted clothes line with me on long trips and use them almost daily for at least my unmentionables, but my travel laundry rituals can get slightly more ghetto. I don’t bother with laundry soap, I just use the shampoo or body wash or bar soap I get at the hotel. I roll wet clothes into the towels and step on them. I also pack a few Shout wipes for stains. I used to have a friend who would use her toothbrush to get stains out, and would then brush her teeth with the same brush. That was a little over the top for me, but it worked. And I avoid packing jeans, they take too long to dry and take up too much room anyway.

  5. Easy Victor says:

    I believe the Purex Complete sheets have been discontinued. Too bad because I would have liked to have tried them in our timeshare.

  6. Points Pixie says:

    Rebecca – I also love finding washers/dryers in hotels. Hidden gems! I find that these are rare outside of the US, though.

    Shannon – great tip!

    Ms. M. – try these:

    Hottie – Ha ha! Laughing out loud here. Ghet-to!!

  7. I’ve traveled all over the united States and Canada. We always did laundry once a week. I’ve done laundry with a wash tub and heated water from the lake while fishing in northern Ontario. You do what you have to while vacationing for weeks at a fly in fishing camp. Our drinking water always came out of the lake.

  8. If there’s an iron in the room, that can help with speeding up drying time a bit. Just put it on an appropriate setting for the fabric, and obviously don’t use steam.

    Also if there is enough flat space on top of an A/C or heater unit, that’s a another good drying method – you can leave the articles there all day while you’re out.

  9. JustSaying says:

    I was in Eze at the Chèvre d’ Or and was in dire need of laundry in the middle of a 21 day trip across France……….I looked at the hotel laundry sheet that the front desk gave me and rudely laughter out loud…… was more of an uncontrollable cackle but I did my best not to be too rude……….then I asked where the nearest laundry mat was and they told me it was on the other side of Nice…..40 miles or so……..not satisfied with that answer I stopped at the village dry cleaners at the bottom of the hill and asked in my broken French if they did laundry…..”yes by kilo” So I brought my bag down and gave it to them and then took out a sweatshirt to bring the weigh into an acceptable price and 1 day and and 20 euro later I picked everything up with minimum fuss…….To me the 20 euro was worth the 2-3 hours plus 2-3 hours drive time to deduct from my trip time……….If I’m 6,000 miles from home paying to have laundry done at the local dry cleaners is well worth it and never worth it to have the hotel do it………..

  10. The Scruba ( always travels with me.

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