Guide to Choosing The Best Travel Laundry Detergent

Travelling is one of life’s great joys, yet despite escaping the everyday home, work, and family routine one thing remains - laundry! 

If packing laundry detergent before traveling is an idea that doesn’t thrill you due to the risk of spills or the weight of the detergents, you’re not alone. So what are your options? Do you buy the expensive detergents at laundromats or buy full size bottles on the go and have to lug them around or waste them? No way! You opt for a smarter travel-friendly laundry detergent

travel laundry detergent

Tips for Selecting Travel-Friendly Laundry Detergent

When selecting the ideal travel laundry detergent to bring with you, you’ll want to make sure that it meets a few if not all of the following criteria:

Lightweight. Many of us have enough trouble packing light for travel as it is. Adding in a heavy bottle of detergent or pack of powder is a big no, no. Liquid detergent in particular is very heavy with up to 90% of its content being water. Liquids can also not be taken on board flights as cabin baggage. 

Mess-free. Liquid detergent for obvious reasons should be completely avoided. The risk of a detergent spill through your luggage is simply too great. Laundry powder may seem less risky, but when spilled is just as messy and challenging to clean up. If deposits of powder go unnoticed on clothing, they can damage the material and even cause it to lighten in patches. 

Pre-measured. Avoid the need for scoops or caps for measuring the right amount of detergent. A pre-measured option makes it easy to do your laundry on the run, whether that is in your hotel room sink or bathtub, a bucket when camping or a laundromat. 

Works in hot or cold water. When travelling you may not always have access to wash in hot water. Ensure your choice of detergent is just as effective in cold water as hot so that your washing efforts are not wasted. 

Eco-friendly and non-toxic. This is especially important if you are going camping or to an area that relies on a septic system to process wastewater. For accommodation not connected to a municipal sewage system, harsh detergents can destroy the necessary bacteria in a septic system. For campsites, keeping toxins away from the natural environment is critical to protecting the native flora and fauna that you’ve gone to enjoy while travelling. 

Biodegradable packaging. No matter where you travel to, cardboard is not only lightweight but easy to dispose of no matter where you are without damaging the location with litter. 

4 Best Travel Laundry Detergent Solutions

Now of course you could decant some liquid detergent into a bottle, pack a small container of powder or some detergent pods, but this is less than ideal. None of these options are designed to stand up to travel and risk spilling or breaking. 

There are a variety of travel specific laundry detergents in the market, all with pros and cons:

Kind Laundry Travel Detergent Sheets

Travel-friendly laundry detergent sheets are the hands-down winner for a number of reasons, they are:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Pre-measured
  • Work in hot and cold water
  • Mess-free

kind laundry travel detergent

There are numerous brands of laundry sheets, however not all brands will be non-toxic and biodegradable (both ingredients and packaging) so it pays to check the ingredients carefully. 

At Kind Laundry you can find a travel pack (pictured) that exactly meets all of the key criteria listed above, and more making it the ideal choice. Simply dissolve a travel sheet in a sinkful of water or add to your wash at the laundromat. It’s just 5 plant-based ingredients that are environmentally friendly and pack a powerful cleaning punch. 

Tide Sport Travel Sink Packets

tide travel detergent

 

These liquid detergent sachets are rated well for effectiveness and fragrance, however as a liquid they are prone to leaking or popping when squashed in luggage. 

This option is also plastic heavy with neither their packaging nor the sachets being biodegradable. They are also less compact than other travel laundry detergent options. 

The Laundress Wash And Stain Bar

 

An easy option for sink washing, this laundry soap bar smells fresh and doubles up as a stain remover. The downside is that once wet, it takes hours to dry properly, it also requires its own soap container to transport it. If wet when placed in this container, it becomes mushy and could easily leak into your luggage. 

This makes it a bulky option that is not suited to those wanting to travel light and skip unnecessary mess. 

Sierra Dawn Campsuds 

 

This all purpose travel detergent is marketed as being perfect for dishes, shower soap, shampoo, hand wash and clothing. It is highly concentrated so you can use a small amount and still have it go a long way. 

While the contents are biodegradable, the bottle is made of a hardened plastic that is not readily recyclable. This bottle also makes it a bulkier option for travel. 

 

Tips For Doing Laundry While Traveling

So once you’ve selected your ideal detergent, what is the best and fastest way to do your laundry while travelling? If you are not able to visit a laundromat, follow these steps for the best results. 

  • Sort the items to be washed both into whites, darks and colours as well as the level of soiling. Wash the least soiled items first so you can reuse the water and detergent for as long as possible.
  • Clean the sink or bathtub thoroughly before washing your clothes in it.
  • Don’t use too much detergent, adding more rarely makes it more effective and can make it much harder to fully rinse the suds from your clothing. Wasting water and your time.
  • Swirl the clothing and ensure it is fully immersed in the sudsy water. You may like to let it sit for 2-5 minutes to begin with. Swish the items around in the water and scrub any areas you know need extra attention, such as collars or sleeves. If washing in a bathtub, feel free to get in and stomp your clothes clean! Just be sure to wash your feet first.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water until all suds are gone.
  • Wring each item out to remove as much water as possible, once done, roll each item, one by one in a towel to squeeze out additional water and speed up drying time.
  • Hang clothing to dry on provided hotel coat hangers or a travel clothesline, you may also like to dry items laid flat on a clean, dry towel. 

Best DIY(Emergency) Travel Alternatives

If you’re in a pinch and need to wash but cannot find a suitable detergent while travelling, there are a few emergency alternatives you may like to try.

Shampoo - The same ingredients that work to lift oil and grime from your hair can achieve the same on your clothing. A quick scrub and rinse in the shower with shampoo is effective for lightly soiled clothing that needs a quick refresh. 

Bar soap - Use directly on stains for scrubbing or dissolve pieces into a sink of warm water and let items ask before rinsing thoroughly. Bar soap can build up on clothing over time so be sure to wash clothing thoroughly in a machine when you next have a chance. 

Vodka - Crack open the mini-bar! Vodka while not a surfactant (sudsing agent) can help to reduce odours. In addition, the high-proof alcohol is also a solvent so it works to lift and dissolve stains, especially greasy ones. Hand sanitizer can also be used with a similar effect, though can cause some marks if not rinsed well after use. 

Lemon juice - squeezing lemon juice on a stain and leaving it to dry in the sun is an effective way to lift stubborn stains even after regular laundering. Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent due to the presence of citric acid, so be cautious when using it on colours or dark clothing as it may cause fading. 

Keep It Simple And Keep It Kind

At Kind Laundry our aim has always been to simplify the everyday task of laundry as well as making it eco friendly. Our travel laundry sheets ensure that no matter where you are in the world, you can safely wash your clothes without harming them or the environment. 

From trekking in Nepal, to lounging on a beach in Brazil, you’ll always be able to keep your clothes fresh, without weighing down your bag or compromising on cleanliness.

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