The travel game can be messy business! Whether you pack light on your trips, and regardless of how long or short they are, you always wind up with laundry. I’ve put together a quick guide on cleaning clothes while travelling. Fortunately, it’s really easy to stay on top of your laundry load if you plan ahead. I’ve learned during my travelling what works and what leaves a stinky bag.
Clean clothes with a Scrubba Wash Bag
No tricks here. The Scrubba Wash Bag genuinely performs the job quite well and acts like a washing machine to-go. The bag is flat and it easily fits in a suitcase, which is the principal test for any travel accessory to pass.
It’s not even necessary to use laundry detergent; you can use shampoo or a soap bar. However, I do advise investing in a multipurpose product that can be used as a washing liquid and dish cleaner. Keep storing your dirty clothes in the Scrubba Wash Bag during your trip and when you’re ready to wash, just go for it.
Lots of hotels and inns have laundry services or amenities, which is the most stress-free way of getting clothes cleaned. This will depend on where you’re staying, though. Also, if you have delicate clothes, you may need to look for a local dry cleaner and they’re easy to find throughout Asia. Fabrics like silks, linen, and other delicate material should be washed by hand.
Depending on where you are and what you’re washing, expect to pay around USD1-3 for every kilogram of laundry. If you’re visiting a more expensive city or country, it’s recommended to do your own laundry rather than giving it to the hotel as it may cost a lot. However, in most regions of South Asia, you can have a sack of dirty clothing washed for only a few bucks. In countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, most clothes are hand-washed instead of machine-washed and often not sorted by colour.
Washing clothes by hands
This is such a simple solution. It’s one that you can resort to anytime and anywhere. You just need to know how.
Fill up: Fill the sink, tub, bucket, or even a super large Ziploc bag with lukewarm water and add a few drops of washing liquid. Separate white clothes from coloured ones. Wash similarly-hued clothes together.
Complete a spin cycle: Add your clothes to the soapy water and delicately swirl them around the sink (or whatever you’re using). Clean dirtier spots by rubbing the fabric against itself. Apply more liquid to these dirty spots and give them an additional scrub.
Soak your clothes: After scrubbing clothes, leave the clothes to soak. If the water looks dirty, you can change it and refill the sink with new, soapy water. Five minutes of soaking ought to be sufficient.
Drain, rinse, wring: Drain the water and rinse the clothes under running water to get rid of excess soap and detergent. Finally, wring out each item as much as possible to get rid of excess water before hanging to dry.
Drying clothes: Spread wet clothes over a large towel. Firmly roll up the towel to wring more water out of your clothes. Hang your clothes to dry or lay them flat if required. The more air there is circulating, the better and sooner they will dry. Hanging clothes outside or near a fan or window will dry them the fastest. Silk and linen fabrics dry the quickest. Wool clothes should dry overnight. Cotton takes the longest to dry. Also, consider packing a makeshift clothesline with you.
In a nutshell
Keep it simple! Many clothes simply don’t require a wash after each wear unless you’re getting drenched in sweat. Try to get rid of the auto-wash habit by packing these kinds of clothes. Doing so will save you time, money, and effort. Not to mention, it’ll make you a greener traveller too.