Clean clothes while traveling

How to Do Laundry While Traveling
Packing lightly requires knowing how to clean clothes along the journey. No matter how many days I travel I still take the same three pieces … a carry-on size luggage (which I always check. Why should I wheel through the huge airports?), my CPAP machine and a tote bag with my on-airplane needs– especially my noise canceling headset and a book. My purse is small and does not count.

So I have learned to pack, wash or have cleaned.

While you don’t want to increase the weight of your luggage too much, it doesn’t hurt to include at least a small, travel-sized packet of detergent before you go, or a reusable bar of laundry soap. A few other items that may be necessary include: a light, but durable clothesline, sink stopper, mesh laundry bag.

Hand-washing
 
If you’ve just checked in and are planning on staying for three days, hand-wash your clothes on the first day so that they have time to dry. Clean the sink with soap first. Be conservative with the detergent – you don’t need a lot for big bubbles! .Only fill up the sink halfway, or less. You need room for your clothes. Let your clothes soak for a few minutes. Knead your clothes with your hands while still in the water. Unplug the sink and rinse off the soap. Squeeze vigorously, and hang to dry. Don’t wring – doing so will stretch the fabric! Use a towel to get rid of excess water. If placing on a rack or hanger somewhere to dry, place a towel underneath to catch drips. All may sound obvious but not often heeded.

If you’re really not into hand-washing your clothes in the sink, check your accommodations beforehand for laundry services or laundromats. Plot potential places on a map. You might even find it’s a great place to mingle with the locals, or just people watch!

But then I usually allow several extra dollars to have my clothes washed. When I am staying two nights or more at a hotel/resort I give them my dirty clothes soon after I check in. And I will be ready for the next place!

Edited from Candice Walsh July 20, 2012

About alwaysharriet

With thirty years experience in corporate and leisure travel consulting, Harriet Ahouse has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and worldwide. An avid scuba diver, she understands the requirements of travelers both on land and in the water. On the European scene she has offered traditional and personalized travel itineraries throughout the continent--Italy, France, and England are some of her favorites. As a Virtuoso Agent, she also has extensive resources to enhance her expertise in designing individual destination travel itineraries--and honeymoons--worldwide!
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