I admit, I’m a total budget traveler when it comes to certain things… like doing the laundry on the road. Okay, so I’m not like a complete slob or anything; I can see the value in getting a load of laundry washed in a machine. However, when that load of laundry is looking to cost me $9 or more, I completely shy away and proceed to wash the necessaries in the sink until I can get a cheaper deal.
So, over time, I would call myself a bit of a pro at hand-washing my clothes. For others looking to do the same, here is a list of some of the essential pack items that make it all possible.
Essential Pack Items
A Sink Plug
Some travelers say this is a worthless item because the sinks will already have stopper or they can just use running water to clean the clothes (and therefore don’t need a sink full). I disagree because you can never really assume there will be what you expect when you travel overseas. Maybe you want to soak your clothes for a while because they got really dirty. Maybe you want to conserve soap by having a sink of suds to work with. Perhaps you have to use the tub. You never know what to expect, so a sink plug, one that works with multi-sized drains, is a great asset for those looking to hand-wash.
You can easily buy a sink plug on Amazon >>
A Stretchy Clothes Line
A clothes line rope will obviously do the job, but how are you going to hang things? Are you going to carry a set of clothes pegs in your backpack around the world? Chances are that you won’t be. With that in mind, I recommend a stretchy, braided clothes line that allows you to just hang clothes in the middle of the rubber bands. Also, the stretchy lines allow for you to stretch in some of the most unique locations, like from the side of the bed to a locker door.
An option for those without a clothes line is to hang items over chairs and the edge of the bed, but let’s be honest, those just don’t dry as quickly. Sometimes you’ll be lucky and your hostel will have a communal line, or they may even have those drying racks in the bathroom (I love those).
Several versions of the travel clothes line are on Amazon >>
Not all detergents are created equally. You could easily use any old brand to wash your clothes in the washing machine, but hand contact to some may irritate your skin. I suggest grabbing a tube of concentrated hand-washing detergent in advance. The little packs of Woolite or non-liquid detergent sheets are also good to pack in your bag. Otherwise, look for the sensitive skin or hand-wash friendly detergents at the local market.
Check out my review of the Sea to Summit laundry products.
Buy your travel wash on Amazon >>
Items That Can Be Helpful
These shammy type pack towels soak up water like no other. So, by having one, you can use it to drain your washed clothes of excess water before hanging them to dry. Simply roll up your wet clothes in the towel and then twist it, stomp it and squash it. You will soon find that a lot of the liquid originally in your washed clothes is in the towel – a towel that is quick drying and can be wrung out itself.
>>Check out our tips for drying clothes without a dryer.
You can pick up pack towels on Amazon >>
These are some of the items I recommend for travelers looking to save money by hand-washing clothes on the road. How to do it? Well, that’s another post, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, do you hand-wash your clothes when you travel?