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The last thing we want to think about when traveling is dirty laundry. If you’d rather not take a trip to a laundromat, find out how to handle dirty laundry while traveling.
Traveling with Dirty Laundry
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 doing 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.
Here, our readers share their recommendations on how to handle dirty laundry while traveling.
Pack an Extra Packing Cube
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 your clean items with your dirty laundry.
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 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!
Bring Ziplock Bags
Sometimes the easiest solution is right in your kitchen. Several readers recommended relying on Ziplock bags for storing dirty laundry. 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.”
Use a Laundry Bag
If you’re traveling as a family and think you’ll have a considerable amount of dirty laundry, a laundry bag can be more efficient than Ziplock bags. This nylon laundry bag is lightweight, 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,” while another adds, “I take the same type of bag and have one for each member of the family.”
Spritz 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 cleans 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 carryon travel. You likely don’t even need a full three ounces. We recommend decanting it into a smaller one-ounce bottle.
Organize with Suitcase Compartments or Separators
For those who love to keep their luggage organized, take advantage of luggage that has multiple compartments, or add your own separators. You can easily see everything you have while keeping them separate and organized.
One reader says, “My suitcase is divided, so the shoes and laundry go in a separate compartment,” while another says, “I try and just keep my laundry to one side of my carryon if possible.”
Compress with Compression Bags
If you’re tight on space, 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. They are also great if you need to take sweaters when traveling, they take up a lot less room. I traveled for business for years, often for 2 to 3 weeks at a time and I would use them often. Medium or large bags worked best for me. Small were useless, except for lingerie.”
What are your tips on how to handle dirty laundry 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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