Contrary to popular belief, travelers aren’t smelly hippies who make a decision that washing is too new-age and that clothes should be worn until they fall off, we’re actually pretty clean people as it happens. Washing clothes on the road is very much in our minds although it does often bring with it challenges. If you are country hopping and living out of a backpack then you will have already completely dismissed the idea that you will be wearing clean, fresh and crisp clothing on a daily basis, it just doesn’t work like that. You are going to need to have a few tricks up your sleeve however when it comes to washing the clothes and here are some of the ways that I keep my threads clean.
Obvious choice for number 1, if you have a launderette near you then you are in luck. You have 2 options here, either leave your clothes behind and pick them up another day, or wash the clothes yourself in the machines. I’d opt for the latter here, not only is it cheaper which means more money for epic adventures but it is also faster and you can guarantee that none of your clothes will get lost, trust me I have 8 socks without pairs to prove my point.
This method was introduced to me last year and it is a great option if you are going to be on the road for a while without the luxury of a launderette. Basically you need a strong zip-lock bag, easy to fold up and take with you and so light that it won’t add any weight to your bag. Simply place your dirty clothes inside the bag, sprinkle some detergent, you can pick up small bags of this for next to nothing and carry it with you. Add some water into the bag and mix it all up with your hands, leave your clothes for 10 minutes or so and hey presto your clothes are clean. Let the bag dry out, pack it in your rucksack and off you go.
If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel or anywhere that has a bathroom then you can wash your clothes by hand in a sink, follow the same method as with the bag-washing method. The only downside with sink washing is that you can wash less clothes at once but the results are the same, clean pants and socks for your next journey. Ale sure that you give your clothes a really good rinse after this before drying them and ensure that before you start that you use something robust to block the sink drain, you’d be surprised at how many countries don’t have plugs for the sink.
So there you have it, no matter where you are in the World, all you need is a little soap and water and you can keep your travel clothes clean and put to bed that awful myth about us all being stinky vagrants of the World.