How to Wash Clothes While Traveling


Everyone deserves that much-needed vacation, but no one wants their laundry chores to follow along with them. Unfortunately, the pile of dirty clothes doesn’t stop growing when you go on vacation. Doing laundry while traveling will decrease the loads you will have to do when you get home and help you pack less items. Although it may seem frustrating and time-consuming, washing clothes while traveling can help you to pack lighter and leaves you more room for souvenirs and other mementos from your trip.

If you are planning on taking a vacation that is longer than one week then you should consider the different laundry options you may have while on the go. There are a variety of methods for you to choose from when thinking about doing laundry while traveling. It can be difficult to figure out which laundry option will work best for you so that you won’t waste your precious time while relaxing and enjoying your time away.

Not many people want to spend extra money from their budget on washing clothes while traveling, that’s why we compiled a list of different laundry options for different budgets. From using hotel services to washing your clothes in your hotel room to finding a laundromat and so much more, we outline a number of different laundry services so you can figure out which option may work best for you.

We have also created a list of different products that would make washing clothes while traveling much easier. Whether you are backpacking through Europe, relaxing at an all-inclusive resort, or RVing across the country, there are a variety of laundry products available to suit your needs.

Options For Washing Clothes While Traveling

We have created a list of 7 different ways that you can wash your clothes on your next vacation. 

Use Hotel Services

The hospitality industry strives to be there for its customers, and this includes having  full laundry service. Whether you didn’t pack enough clothes or you packed lightly on purpose, hotel laundry service can be your lifesaver. Most hotels will have a place for your clothes to be washed while you are traveling. Whether you have signed up for regular service or you stained your favorite clothes and need a quick turnaround, hotel laundry service is the place to go.  

The majority of hotels will have a similar process to sending your clothes down to their laundry services, which is outlined below. 

  • Get the hotel laundry bag. Normally you will be able to find a laundry bag in your room, however, if you cannot locate one, you can always call the front desk to request one. This is where you will place all of the clothes you need to have washed.
  • Check the price list for each service. It’s important to check the pricing for each service so there are no shocking surprises when you receive your bill! Depending on where you are staying for your vacation, hotel laundry services can get pretty pricey, so this is an important step.
  • Fill out the guest laundry card. The laundry card will inform the staff cleaning your clothes what you would like done with each item. This is especially important because you can ensure that you are getting exactly what you need for your clothes. 
  • Leave your clothes for the housekeeping service to pick up. Leave your clothes in the hotel laundry bag in the hallway for your maid to pick up (the laundry bag will indicate directly where to leave the bag). If you are not comfortable with leaving your clothing in the hallway of the hotel, then call the front desk and make arrangements for another option.
  • Make a note of the turnaround service times. Knowing the approximate time that your clothes will be ready won’t leave you wondering. Depending on what you need done with the clothing items you have, the times may vary. You can also inquire about the delivery of your clothing if they are not returned in a reasonable amount of time.  
  • Pay for your laundry services. Typically the total of your laundry services will be added to your final bill, so you can take care of it when you are checking out.

    Wash Clothes in Hotel Room 

    If utilizing the hotel’s laundry service for your laundry is not a likely solution for you or is out of your price range, then you can wash your clothes in your very own room. Washing clothes in your hotel room is very easy, cost-effective, and something you can do at the end of your day so it doesn’t get in the way of your holiday relaxing! If you are planning on doing laundry in your hotel room, there are a few things that you will need to purchase for everything to run smoothly. The three main things that you will need to wash clothes in a hotel room are sink stoppers, laundry detergent sheets, and a travel clothesline (optional), which we will go into more detail about in later sections. 

    Here’s a guide on how to wash clothes in a hotel room while on vacation. 

  • Pre-rinse - Running your clothing under the water will get an initial layer of dirt off before you start washing them. 
  • Fill the sink or bathtub with water and soap - You can use the sink or the bathtub, depending on how many items of clothing you are washing. This is where you may need a sink stopper as not every hotel will have one in your room. Fill the bathtub or the sink with water and travel detergent or detergent sheets
  • Wash your clothing - Throw your clothes in the filled tub and knead them thoroughly to remove as much of the dirt as possible. 
  • Drain the Dirty Water - Once the water stops getting visibly dirty, then drain the water. Squeeze out the excess water from your clothing by wringing them out and setting them aside for the next step. 
  • Refill and repeat - repeat steps 2-4 until the water run clear - Typically this process only needs to be repeated once, however, more may be required depending on how dirty the clothes may be
  • Rinse - once the water runs clear, rinse your clothing one more time to remove any excess water and soap
  • Hang to dry

    How to Wash Clothes While Traveling

    Find a Laundromat 

    Finding a laundromat near your hotel can be a more cost-effective solution to washing your clothes while traveling. Although laundromats are more inexpensive than using the hotel’s laundry services, it does require more time than the other options. It will be easy to find a laundromat if you are staying in the city, however, if you are staying at an all-inclusive resort this is not the best option for doing your laundry. Another shortcoming of doing laundry at a laundromat while traveling is that you will have to carry your clothing back and forth from your hotel to the laundromat. 

    If you have never been to a laundromat before it can get confusing but we have curated a guide on how to wash clothes while traveling at a laundromat. 

  • Bring change to operate machines - laundromats tend to require quarters to run. If you do not have any quarters on hand, most laundromats have change machines inside. 
  • Bring laundry detergent, dryer sheets/balls, and fabric softener - if you already know that you are going to be doing your laundry at a laundromat on vacation, bringing your own laundry products will be more cost-effective and convenient. If this is more of a last-minute decision you can either head to the store to buy the necessities or just like the coin machines, most laundromats have vending machines with all of the laundry products you may need 
  • Load washing machines - once you have all of your laundry products, head over to the washing machines and make sure that you find an empty washing machine and load your clothes into the machine with your laundry detergent
  • Insert coins and turn the dial to the preferred setting - insert the required amount of quarters into the machine and turn the preferred setting for your laundry 
  • Wait for the cycle to finish 
  • Put laundry in the dryer - once your laundry is finished washing, head over to the dryers and throw your clothing into an empty dryer
  • Insert coins and turn the dial to the preferred setting - again insert your quarters into the dryer and set the machine to the preferred preference 
  • Wait for the cycle to finish 
  • Fold clothes (optional) - folding your clothes after they finish drying can be convenient when done in the laundromat. It will also prevent your clothing from wrinkling on the way back to your hotel room from the laundromat.

    Local Laundry Services 

    If you do not want to wash your clothes while traveling yourself, but completing it through the hotel services is too expensive, you should consider finding a local laundry service to assist you. Locating a laundry service near your hotel can be convenient and cost-effective. This is a good option if you don’t want your laundry to get in the way of all the vacationing you plan on enjoying. Going to a laundry service is very easy to use, however making sure that you find a good one is important, this is where reading Google reviews comes in handy and can help you plan ahead.

    Here is a guide on how to wash clothes while traveling using local laundry services near your hotel:

    1. Choosing a location - Once you find the laundry service you want to use drop off your clothing 
    2. Check the pricing - make sure that you are aware of the pricing for their services before committing to it 
    3. Know what work you want to be done - make sure that you know what work you want to be done on your clothing, whether you just want them washed and dried or if you need a certain stain removed and pay for the services
    Pick up or Deliver clothing - some places offer a delivery service so that you do not have to go back to pick up your clothing. If no delivery option is available, then make sure that you pick up your clothing on the specified date the cleaners.

    How to Wash Clothes While Traveling

    Travel by RV 

    When you are traveling by a campervan or an RV, you pretty much have all of the options listed above at your disposal, excluding using hotel services. When hand washing your clothing in your RV (follow the same steps as above) there is often more room for the laundry supplies than for people who can only bring travel-size products with them. With more storage in your RV, you are able to bring full-size products that can be more cost-effective. Another advantage of doing laundry while traveling by RV is that you have the option to hang your clothes outside to dry. You can also hit laundromats or laundry services while you’re driving through towns. Another option is when stopping at a campground or RV site, you can look for laundry services, as some of these sites have these services available to patrons. 

    Another option is to purchase mini washing machines that are specifically made for RVs. These machines are very compact and easy to fit into small spaces in your campervan. Some of these machines are run without electricity and others are run on electricity. Depending on which machine you choose will change the pricing. Depending on how long you plan on travelling in an RV and the size of your RV, some will have smaller versions of washing machines and dryers, similar to the ones you can find in your home.

    Travel Laundry Kit

    When washing clothes while traveling, it is important that you have the necessary products to ensure that your clothes are getting the cleaning they need. There are five main things that everyone needs to do their laundry in an effective and efficient way while on vacation. These five things include travel laundry sheets, a laundry bag specific for dirty clothes, a wash bag, a travel clothesline and a sink stopper.

    Travel Laundry Sheets

    Using travel laundry detergent sheets is an effective way to wash your laundry and it ensures that you are not taking up unnecessary space in your suitcase. Using the soap that is already in your hotel room on your laundry is not healthy for your clothing and not as effective as laundry detergent. Travel laundry detergent sheets, like the Kind Laundry travel size detergent sheets, are a non-liquid option and compact for the ease of travelling as well as the ease of use. 

    Laundry Bag For Dirty Clothes

    Make sure that you have a laundry bag specific for dirty clothes on hand when you are travelling to make sure that your clean clothes are not getting mixed up with your dirty ones. Using a laundry bag specifically to keep dirty clothes together will make it easier to remember which clothes need washing and it’s more convenient to transport them all together to be laundered, whether it be to the laundromat, local laundry services, or just to your bathroom.

    The Wash Bag 

    When washing clothes while traveling, using a wash bag can help to keep your delicate garments safe, especially during an unusual washing cycle. The Premium Washable Mesh Laundry Bag from Kind Laundry is a product that protects your clothing while allowing the water and detergent to do their job. This bag also helps to prevent your items from pulling, tearing, and tangles, and to extend the life of your clothes. These convenient travel wash bags take up little space in your suitcase and are effective tools in washing your delicate clothing while traveling, such as bras, underwear, and swimsuits.  

    Travel Clothesline 

    Bringing a travel clothesline on vacation can help with the drying process should you wish to wash your clothes within your room. A travel clothesline helps you hang up more of your clothing in your hotel room or your campervan and can prevent them from wrinkling after you wash them. When purchasing your travel clothesline, it is important to make sure that it can handle the weight of your clothing, so testing it out at home can be beneficial. 

    The Sink Stopper 

    Bringing along a sink stopper for use in your hotel room when doing laundry while traveling can be a real game changer. There is a surprising amount of hotels that no longer have a sink stopper in their bathrooms, and without this handy helper, there is no way to fill up your tub or sink. It is better safe than sorry to bring a sink stopper with you if you plan on doing your laundry in your hotel room. Sink stoppers are inexpensive and always good to have on hand just in case one is needed.

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