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The last thing we want to think about is traveling with dirty laundry. If you’d rather not take a trip to a laundromat, find out how to handle your dirty clothes on the road.
Traveling With Dirty Laundry
Table Of Contents
Travel Fashion Girl help! A reader asks:
I’d like some input on how you handle dirty laundry. I usually put it in the top mesh pocket, but since I’m trying to pack more efficiently, I’m discovering that often this results in too much bulk. I’ve got a husband and two young sons so we generate a lot of dirty clothes when we travel that I’d really prefer to not handle as much as possible. Thanks in advance!
Traveling is supposed to be enjoyable and many of us want to avoid washing our clothes while on the road. However, when you forego washing, it usually means more bulk in your luggage, which makes minimalist traveling difficult.
While we recommend ways to do laundry while traveling for long trips so you don’t have to pack as much, you can usually get away without doing laundry for shorter trips where you can re-wear some of your items without them feeling dirty and keep them stored compactly in your bag once you’re done wearing them. Yet, sometimes doing laundry is necessary, even on a short trip!
We’ve asked TFG readers to share their recommendations on how to handle dirty laundry while traveling, and this is what they had to say:
Bring an Extra Packing Cube for Your Laundry
If you’re using packing cubes for your clean clothing, why not your dirty laundry? Bring an extra packing cube and dedicate it to your dirty laundry. Use a different colored packing cube so you don’t mix clean items with unwashed clothes.
One reader says, “I find that bringing an additional packing cube is ideal. I have a certain one that is only ever used for laundry,” While another adds, “I use a large sized packing cube. When I do laundry, I dump the clothes and the packing cube into the washer and dryer. Everything gets a fresh start!”
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 carry-on 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 carry-on only!
Buy Compass Rose Packing Cubes here!
Use a Dirty Laundry Bag
If you’re traveling as a family and think you’ll have a considerable amount of dirty laundry, a dirty clothes travel bag can be more efficient than Ziplocks. This nylon dirty laundry bag is compact, so it won’t add too much bulk to your luggage.
One reader says, “I bring a lightweight laundry bag that I hang in the bathroom.” Another adds, “I take the same type of bag and have one for each member of the family.”
Take a look these easy ways on how to do laundry while traveling!
Organize With Suitcase Compartments or Separators
For those who love to keep their items organized, take advantage of luggage that has multiple compartments, or add your own separators. You can easily see everything you have with foldable storage boxes as shown above.
One reader says, “My suitcase is divided, so the shoes and laundry go in a separate compartment,” while another says, “I try and keep my laundry to one side of my carry-on if possible.”
Check out more tips on how to save space in your carryon!
Compress Your Dirty Laundry With Compression Bags
If you’re tight on space, travel compression bags can save the day. They work like a Ziplock bag but remove the air so the bag packs flat. One reader says, “I put laundry in a compression bag. Works like a charm.”
Another reader shares, “I use plastic compression travel bags. You seal the zipper then roll to remove air. You can also lay on top them for a few seconds to remove the air. I found that is easiest.”
Check out the best packing organizers that will allow you to travel carry-on only!
Utilize Ziplocks for a Dirty Clothes Bag
Sometimes the easiest solution is right in your kitchen. Several readers recommended relying on Ziplocks as a dirty clothes bag. Since Ziplock bags seal, you can prevent any smells from penetrating your clean clothing.
One reader says, “I use gallon Ziplock bags. They compress pretty flat! I actually take Ziplock bags, large and small, when I travel. They come in handy for lots of uses!”
Another reader adds, “I keep my dirty clothing separate in the other half of my bag in Ziplocks or plastic grocery bags.”
You can also use ziplock to store some of your toiletries!
Spritz Dirty Laundry With Febreze
Depending on where you’re traveling and what activities you’re doing, some clothes may just need a little refreshing. This is where a fabric spray comes in handy. Febreze keeps away odors so you can wear your clothing several times during your trip.
One reader says, “I always take a travel size Febreze spray bottle and spray away!” The travel size bottle is perfect for carry-on travel. You likely don’t even need a full three ounces. We recommend decanting it into a smaller one-ounce bottle.
Here are six dirty little secrets travelers use on how to make clothes smell fresh on the go!
Best Dirty Laundry Travel Bag
One of the best ways to keep your unwashed clothes separate from your clean ones is to use bags for dirty clothes. With that in mind, we’ve gathered a collection of the best ones for you!
Mesh Dirty Clothes Bag for Travel
If you fancy yourself a color coordinating fanatic, then Bagail Mesh Laundry Bags are for you. You can use this travel dirty clothes bag system to store and separate your clothes—there is a black bag for your dark clothes and four white bags for light colored clothes.
Being able to see through the mesh makes it easy to tell what is where, and the breathable fabric means your clothes will protect your delicates. Plus, you can throw the bags right into the washing machine!
Use a capsule wardrobe to pack light but create many outfits. Learn more in my guide!
Portable Laundry Bag for Travel
The Scrubba Wash Bag is not only one of the best laundry bags for travel, but it also washes clothes! It’s perfect for those longer trips where you don’t want to pack a whole ton of clothes but still need something to wear.
You can use this clean dirty laundry travel bag to ensure that you never run out of clothes by doing your laundry using a quick-and-easy method. Just add soap!
Learn how to hand wash clothing while traveling. We talk about using the Scrubba Wash Bag, too!
Compact Dirty Clothes Bag for Travel
Cute and compact, this travel dirty clothes bag is ideal to toss in your suitcase and use while you’re on the road for your dirty laundry. The Miamica is a lightweight, microfibre bag that conveniently separates the dirty from the clean.
It’s expandable for when you have clothes that need to be washed to put inside it and closes with a drawstring. Plus, it’s both tear and moisture resistant.
Backpack Dirty Laundry Bag
Built with jet setting in mind, the iwill CREATE PRO Laundry Backpack is a good solution for storing your dirty laundry while you’re traveling.
You can hang this bag for dirty clothes on the back of the bathroom door (or any door) of your accommodations and put in your dirty laundry. Once you’re ready to head back home, simply pack the bag in your suitcase and voila! Laundry is taken care of.
Laundry Bag Travel Hamper
If you need to take care of your dirty clothes, packing a dirty laundry bag hamper in your bag can make it much easier to store your bulky, unclean clothes.
The Mziart Collapsible Laundry Hamper is awesome because it can hold a ton of clothes—but be careful not to store too much or you’ll end up not fitting it all in your bag when you head home!
Product Comparison Chart
|BRAND | MODEL||FEATURES | REVIEWS||RATING | PRICE|
|Compass Rose Packing Cubes||“I find that bringing an additional packing cube is ideal. I have a certain one that is only ever used for laundry.”||Check Price|
|Handy Laundry Nylon Laundry Bag||“I bring a lightweight laundry bag that I hang in the bathroom.”||Check Price|
|Foldable Cloth Storage Box||“I try and keep my laundry to one side of my carry-on if possible.”||Check Price|
|Travel Space Saver Bags||“I put laundry in a compression bag. Works like a charm.”||Check Price|
|Ziploc Jumbo Big Bags||“I keep my dirty clothing separate in the other half of my bag in Ziplocks or plastic grocery bags.”||Check Price|
|Febreze Air Freshener||“I always take a travel size Febreze spray bottle and spray away!”||Check Price|
|Bagail Mesh Laundry Bags||You can use this travel dirty clothes bag system to store and separate your clothes.||Check Price|
|Scrubba Wash Bag||It’s perfect for those longer trips where you don’t want to pack a whole ton of clothes but still need something to wear.||Check Price|
|Mimica Laundry Bag||The Miamica is a lightweight, microfibre bag that conveniently separates the dirty from the clean.||Check Price|
|iwill CREATE PRO Laundry Backpack||The iwill CREATE PRO Laundry Backpack is a good solution for storing your dirty laundry while you’re traveling.||Check Price|
|Mziart Collapsible Laundry Hamper||If you need to take care of your dirty clothes, packing a dirty laundry bag hamper in your bag can make it much easier to store your bulky, unclean clothes.||Check Price|
What are your tips on how to handle dirty clothes while traveling? Share in the comments below!
For more tips on packing clothes for travel, please read:
- How to Pack More Efficiently
- How to Organize like a Pro
- The Best Packing Organizers
- How to Make Clothes Smell Fresh on the Go
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