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Wearing your clothing more than once may be out of the question at home but for seasoned travelers, it’s our secret to packing light. We pack less of the right things and re-wear them as needed until we have time to do laundry.

Let’s just say that long-term travelers and backpackers especially get to know themselves on a whole other level and are accustomed to the classic “sniff test” to ensure clothing is still wearable for one more day.

If you’re not used to wearing your clothing more than once and are wondering how to make clothes smell fresh on the go, here are six dirty little secrets travelers use to re-wear clothing and pack light!


How to Make Clothes Smell Fresh on the Go


Travel Fashion Help! Reader asks:


I’m traveling to Spain and Italy for 11 days and want to travel light and only pack in a carry on suitcase. With this post on mixing and matching outfits I’m assuming you wear clothing several times without washing them. Do you have any tips on how to keep clothes smelling fresh on the go? I know it’s an odd question but just thought I would ask. This is going to be my first travel experience.


This was a great question and I’ve been meaning to address this subject for a while. The answer is yes. You would re-wear some clothing from your travel capsule wardrobe but you can also do laundry half way through your trip if needed.


Start by reading these tips on how to make your clothes smell fresh on the go:


Next, follow these steps to help you learn how to make your clothes smell fresh!



Foldable Travel Hanger


Hang Up Your Clothing


One of the best ways to help avoid scents when re-wearing clothing is to hang them up and letting them air out. I find this works particularly well when you have to re-use clothing in hot climates or when being active.

Sometimes you just don’t have the opportunity to wash your clothing in these situations, so this is a great tip for making clothes smell fresh.




Febreze Air Freshener


Spritz a Bit of Freshener


If you have a bit of room for liquids, take a travel-size bottle of Febreze for a quick fix. Don’t spray delicate fabrics or clothes that can stain easily. Do a spot test just case! However, if you don’t have any room or weight to spare, the next item is a good option.




Fabric Softener Sheets


Use Fabric Softener Sheets


One of my favorite tips to share on how to make clothes smell fresh is to add a dryer sheet in between each piece of clothing. This helps dirty laundry smell better, clean clothing can still smell clean, and it also adds a fresh scent to your luggage. I put one in between clothing and one loose in my luggage. Remember, be careful with delicate items!


If you do plan on doing some laundry on your travels, check out these picks for the best travel laundry soap according to TFG readers!




Shop in regular, petite, and tall sizes: Eddie Bauer Departure Ankle Pants


Wear Athleisure


Some of the best fabrics for travel are athletic-inspired pieces that are made to repel sweat and have antimicrobial properties. Do your best to choose at least a couple of items like this that don’t absorb sweat and scents so you have at least one “emergency” travel outfit.


For more tips read this guide on how to choose the best fabrics for travel!




New Perfect Fit T-Shirt


Pack More Tops Than Bottoms


As a general rule, packing more tops than bottoms is helpful when you’re creating a capsule travel wardrobe. It helps you maximize travel outfits while giving the illusion of completely different looks.

As a bonus, it’s easier to re-wear bottoms without washing just avoid light colors. While it can be tricky to know how to make clothes smell fresh when you’re dealing with delicate silk tops, jeans are easier to keep smelling odor-free.


White t-shirts are classic, and a capsule wardrobe staple!




Seychelles 2-Piece Dress


Take Dresses With You


If traveling in the summer, take dresses! They’re an easy, breezy travel outfit solution and a great secret for ensuring your clothes smell fresh. Look for light fabrics not heavy ones that won’t cling to your skin making them easier to re-wear.

And because they make a full outfit on their own, you can easily pack seven pieces for a one week trip and not have to wear anything more than once!


It’s the season for easy breezy vacation style! We’ve got a round up of twenty beautiful summer maxi dresses!


If you’re only spending one or two nights in each city and doing laundry is difficult:




Midweight Crew


For cold weather travel, wear merino wool thermals under everything – they can be worn for days and won’t absorb scents so you’ll only need one or two pairs. This is a great trick for how to make clothes smell fresh when traveling. Since they’re closest to you skin you won’t need to wash the rest of your clothing.


The secret to cold weather travel is thermal underwear! Read this to discover our top ten brands for the best thermal underwear for women!




Compass Rose Compression Packing Cubes


For two week trips in hot weather travel, clothing is lighter so you can pack 3-4 bottoms and 11 tops and not do any laundry at all. That’s the Maximista size capsule wardrobe and should still fit into a carry-on with packing cubes.


Watch the packing tutorial on Youtube!


In 2017, I launched Compass Rose Travel Accessories and my very first product was a 4-Piece Set of Carryon Packing Cubes. These are the only packing cubes sized to fit the exact width of a carryon suitcase and they also have a unique color-coded and numbered organization system – the only kind currently available anywhere on the market.

I put together a five-part YouTube series showing you the different methods to use packing cubes. If you use this specific packing strategy, they can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carryon only!



For a one week trip (depending on the time of year you’re traveling) you could take 3 bottoms + 7 tops and wash at the end of the first week if your trip is longer without having to re-wear tops.

What are your tips on how to make clothes smell fresh on the go? Please comment below!


For more packing tips, please read:


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