How to Best Wash Your Clothes While Traveling
A lifetime of travel is exactly as fun as it sounds, hopping from country to country, meeting cool new people, learning about new cultures and finding amazing experiences. There are some minor drawbacks to traveling full time however, nothing that us digital nomads cannot overcome however, but some tasks which many of us take for granted that become a little more difficult when you are on the road all of the time. One such challenge is that of keeping your clothes clean while you travel.
Any smart traveler will know that they need to pack as light as possible to make humping a rucksack around the World that little bit easier. This means less clothes and less clothes means less options which results in…you’ve guessed it, more washing. Let’s take a look then at how you can keep your clothes clean on the road.
Most travelers are looking to save money wherever they can and if you fall into this category then the sink washing technique may very well be your best bet. This super simple method just involves you filling a sink with hot water and soap, giving your clothes a good scrub and then rinsing them off in the sink with some cold water. If you don’t have a plug then you can buy a universal traveler plug or some rolled up socks in a plastic bag work pretty well too.
I learned the Aloksak method last year when I was traveling through Africa and it worked really well. The Aloksak is basically a zip-lock bag that is made with heavy duty plastic. The method is to simply put your clothes in the bag, throw in a pinch of detergent, add water, give it a stir with your hand and then leave it for 10-15 minutes, rinse the clothes and you will be smelling as fresh as a new spring day. The benefit of these bags is that they are super lightweight and very easy to carry around with you.
If money isn’t too big a deal to you and you have one of those superhero laundry ladies near where you are staying then bag up those dirty clothes, pay the lady some money and let her work her magic. In many countries that I have been to I’ve found that these women are open to a little negotiation so make sure that you try to get the best price that you can.
The classic coin-operated method is simple enough and most western cities will have a launderette where you can take your dirty clothing down and throw it into those heavy duty machines. The benefit of these places is that they also have heavy duty driers so you can do everything in one fell swoop. The launderette is usually cheaper than the laundry lady but more expensive than the freebie sink-wash method.
So there you have it, how to keep your clothes clean when you are traveling the World because let’s be honest, we don’t want the stereotype that we are all smelly vagrants to be hanging around for much longer.