How to Pack Dirty Clothes while Traveling – 6 Smart Tips

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How to Pack Dirty Clothes While Traveling

Let’s face it — no one really wants to do laundry while traveling if they don’t have to, especially for short trips. So, the natural result is that we end up with a bunch of dirty clothes that have to be put somewhere in our suitcases, carry-ons, or backpacks. And keeping our clothes smelling fresh as we begin to mix our clean and dirty items can be a real challenge. 

Sometimes we don’t even know if we have already worn something, and that can be really frustrating. That’s why we need a good system for packing dirty clothes while traveling so that we can keep things separate,

Another problem with dirty laundry while traveling is that dirty clothes often take up a lot more space when packing them than clean clothes. How come you never had a space problem when packing the same clothes when they were clean? The reason for this is because we tend to pack them in weird ways and not folding them neatly the way we do with clean clothes. Sounds familiar?

Well, it’s time to learn how to pack dirty clothes while traveling. Here are our top tips from years of experience.

How to Pack Dirty Clothes While Traveling – 6 Smart Tips

1 –  Use a Packing Cube

Using packing cubes for packing our clean clothes is a great travel tip, but reserving one of them for our dirty laundry is a pro travel tip. Dedicate one packing cube to your unwashed clothes! Choose one you can easily differentiate from your other packing cubes, preferably of a different color. In that way, you won’t mix your clean clothes with your dirty laundry. Plus, the cubes are foldable, so you can store them in any compartment. When you finally do laundry, you can just dump the packing cube and the clothes into the washer and dryer and start all over again.

Related — 12 Best Packing Cubes for Travel
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2 – Use a Laundry Bag

Laundry bags

Bringing a laundry bag is a simple and inexpensive way to separate your dirty laundry while traveling. There are many types of laundry bags, but make sure you choose a sturdy and washable one as the bags can absorb smells pretty easily. You can hang it in the bathroom of the hotel or place you’re staying, and just close it and store it in your suitcase right before leaving. 

Shop Travel Laundry Bags

3 – Use a Compression Bag

Using a compression bag or compression packing cube is a smart option when you’re tight in space. Compression bags work like resealable zipper storage bags out of which the air gets removed, so they pack flat. You fold the unwashed clothes as if they were clean, put them in the compression bag, and roll or squeeze to remove the air. It’s all about the space you get to save in your suitcase or backpack.

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4 – Use a Dry Bag

Dry bags are waterproof bags that you store your items in, roll the top down to seal and clip together. A strong seal is crucial for keeping your items 100% waterproof.

Even though dry bags are most commonly used during canoe and camping trips for keeping electronic items dry, you can also use them for storing dirty laundry, especially wet clothes. In that way, you’ll keep the moisture in the bag instead of out. Even better, a completely sealed dry bag will ensure no odor escapes it. Even though these bags don’t compress as well as compression packing cubes or bags, they are still highly packable. 

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5 – Use a Pillowcase 

Using plastic bags for storing dirty laundry while traveling may be the most common solution, but certainly not the most environmentally friendly or convenient solution. A pillowcase, on the other hand, is a simple and eco-friendly way to keep your dirty laundry without worrying it will break any moment. Plus, you can wash it and reuse it.

6 – Use a Foldable Cloth Storage Box

If you love to keep your stuff organized and your luggage doesn’t have multiple compartments, you can use foldable storage boxes. They will help divide your suitcase into separate compartments for your clean clothes and dirty laundry. You can even keep your shoes in a different compartment.  

Shop Foldable Cloth Storage Boxes

Do you want to go a step further than these 6 methods? Throw in some dryer sheets in with the dirty clothes. The dryer sheets will make your clothes smell nice(r) until you get to do laundry.

Nothing is more annoying than mixing your dirty laundry with your clean items when on the road. Although the solution to which people often resort is usually a plastic bag, there are much better options out there, such as the ones we mentioned above. Try them out on your next trip, and see what works best for you.

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