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Clothesline, clips, etc.

Two weeks and 4 days before my trip. I have run out of things to plan and am now going over minutiae. I am going on RS 14 days Scandinavia. Adding one night before and 3 nights after. Will carry 46L Osprey Porter, not full and cinched down plus a cross body purse. Not very many laundromats in Scandinavia so plan to do sink laundry with a 2.5 gal zip lock bag.

I have read a lot of comment about clips and hangers and clotheslines but they were scattered amongst a lot of different threads. What works for you? Line alone, line plus clips, clips with hanger tops, lines with Velcro, lines with hooks, suction cups...?

I am thinking about this: https://www.amazon.com/Hawatour-Portable-Clothesline-Adjustable-Clothespins/dp/B01LZYLO2A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496085713&sr=8-1&keywords=travel+clothesline

Posted by
208 posts

Meh. I think that one is too bulky. I once bought the braided line that is made of bungee-like elastic, and it was useless. It did not grip the clothing. I really like my braided one that is made of latex tubing. It grips the fabric well. I also take a length of thin cord (like "parachute" cord), because invariably, the braided line is too short to reach between whatever purchase points I locate. To be honest, you could do worse than to use just some cord and pack maybe 4 plastic clothes pins (or a few black "binder clips"). You don't necessarily have to peg every item -- some can just be draped over top. I often use hangers and hang the hanger on the line to save space. Sometimes, for faster drying, I will use 2 hangers to, let's say, hang a top, separating them by a few inches... that way air flows between the two layers (front and back) of the fabric, effecively halving the drying time.

My undies (nylon, and have a cotton lining), I hang inside-out, so that the cotton dries better. Sometimes, just over a chair or door knob.

I have a couple of suction cups that I will use with this, also a couple small caribiners, so that I have multiple methods of attachment.

I do find, though, that I've been using hangers more and more. I pack a couple with me, so that I can make sure they can be hung outside of a closet. I've even hung them over an a/c unit, suspended by a binder clip from a (very secure) window valance. Also, from a ceiling fan! LOL.

FYI, those hotel hangers that just have a nub at the top, that attaches to the metal part that stays on a rod??? You can feed that nubby end through the latex braid, and it will "grab" hold of it, too! So, they can be used outside of the closet to hang stuff.

I sink-wash every. single. night. Sometimes it's just socks and undies, and (at the risk of sounding gross) only the dirty/smelly parts of tops/pants. Yes, I will turn my top inside out, gather the under arms together and wash that section only under a tap with soap. Then twist just that section in a towel, then hang to dry. My point is, you can hang stuff just about anywhere when you don't have a whole "load" to deal with.

cheers!
Vivian

Posted by
985 posts

We each take a pants hanger with clips and two regular clothes hangars. I cut pieces of foam pipe insulation and then slit it lengthwise to slip over the top of the hangers where the shoulders of the shirt lie. This keeps the front and back of shirt spread so air can circulate up inside the shirt and help it dry faster. They are lightweight and bendable to stuff into my bag. I also throw in a hand full of small clips to use for socks, underwear, etc. Make sure they will fit your hanger! Some places we have stayed only had a few wire hangers or else the wooden ones in the closet, and no place to really hang a clothes line. Towel racks and the inside of window shutters offer extra good places to hang your clothes.

Have a fabulous time on your trip!

Posted by
985 posts

lol - Vivian, I am picturing flying underpants, whizzing around in a circle. Especially humorous if one pictures the maid coming in to clean.

Posted by
208 posts

Nance - I like the pipe wrap idea to thicken out the hanger (to spread out the layers). Will have to keep that one in mind!

BTW, I wish we could post pictures -- I do have one of the clothes on the ceiling fan! LOL.

I, personally, don't really see value in washing clothing in ziploc bag. I use the sink or the tub, and even the bottom of a shower (if the head is on a hose).

What I HAVE used, is a mesh lingerie bag -- I use it to collect the dirty things, and sometimes I can wash everything in it in the sink, by just massaging it around. Then rinse.

The mesh bag does double duty, and I get them very cheap at the dollar store.

cheers,
Vivian

Posted by
2529 posts

Try my laundry travel kit:
1. "J" style laundry hooks (it's amazing how many ways you can attach these very lightweight devices with damp clothes connected to bits and pieces about a room...avoid spirnkler heads).

2. A couple of inflatable hangers (great for shirts/blouses as such dry faster with more surface area exposed to air).
3. Use Forever New powdered laundry detergent (dissolves completely and doesn't leave a residue; claims to be biodegradable and non-toxic).

Posted by
11396 posts

I have been happy with the RS clothes line . https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/travel-clothesline

Its woven so you can stick just a tiny corner of your clothes without the need for pins or clips.

If there are hangers available you can put shirts on the hangers, and hang them on the clothes line and maximize your usable space

Posted by
208 posts

Bruce, what is a "J" laundry hook?

I sometimes take inflatable hangers, too. They are also useful as a lumbar roll, and as a neck pillow by a pool. :-)

Cheers,
Vivian

Posted by
228 posts

We have been using the Rick Steve clothesline with some cord to lengthen as needed for a number of tours and it has worked well. Depending on the size of the item we also drape what we can over whatever is available.

Posted by
985 posts

Vivian wrote: "I, personally, don't really see value in washing clothing in ziploc bag. I use the sink or the tub, and even the bottom of a shower (if the head is on a hose)."

Ditto on this. I took a large ziploc to do laundry in on our first trip. It came home unused. I just used the sink for everything, even pants. We did laundrymat twice, hand washed the rest of the time. As soon as we arrived at a new hotel the guide would give us 30 minutes before the group met up again to go out. I would rush and get our stuff washed, rinsed, twisted and stomped, and hung to dry. That usually gave my clothes an extra 4-6 hours of drying time compared to anyone who waited until after dinner.

Ditto on the J hooks too. I was given the most god-awful bright shiny purple bag that had velvet hangers, j hooks, and clips. I used both clips and j hangers this winter. I also carried two hook over the door hooks to give me extra hanging space. Mine are metal (that's all I could find at the time) but they also make lightweight plastic ones.

Cheap, sturdy cord ideas. Home Depot has paracord in many colors. Wal-Mart and Kmart camping sections have paracord as well. A shorter shank of cheaper cord is sufficient for traveling. It's made of either nylon or polyester.
The inner strands can be removed and used for sewing up things as well. I figure I can temporarily fix a broken suitcase or backpack with it as well.

Posted by
22 posts

My husband and I took the same Scandinavia tour in July 2016. There are few if any laundromats. Your only real options are the hotel laundry service (very expensive) or washing your clothes in the sink. We splurged and bought the “Scrubba” which is a glorified dry bag that acts like a portable washing machine. While it is pricey, it was well worth the time saved. We were able to each do a ‘load’ of laundry every few nights and it was a lot faster than individual sink washing. My husband used the inflatable hangers. I used very slim plastic clothes handers with small clips. These clips held my capris and even jeans! Be sure to bring a microfiber towel to wring out your wet laundry before hanging to dry. It will dry a lot faster.

Posted by
368 posts

I have also used the towel warmers in bathrooms to dry heavier items if they are available, and turned on. I sink wash at have what looks like a clothes pin with a hanger hook on top. I hang them from the shower frame and the clothes clip in the clothes pin.

Posted by
1194 posts

I bring flex-o-line for socks and undies. I put an S-biner one loop of the flex-o-line so I could loop it around things

I also always bring two inflatable hangers for shirts. I use small hanger clips for pants and skirts.

There's no need for a zip lock if you have a sink available.

Posted by
11355 posts

Doesn't Rick Steves still sell a clothesline? I bought one from his site years ago and use it occasionally.. My go to supplies are clips with a hook/hanger to for underwear and inflatable hangars. The clips are found on Amazon. The inflatable hangars help the clothes dry quickly. And most important, a flat rubber sink stopper that you buy at the hardware store. I buy concentrated liquid soap from REI or another outdoor store, pour it into 3oz bottles. That's it!

Posted by
3521 posts

The laundromat on Aero is not there anymore?

When I took the tour, we all used that laundromat which was just across the street from the B&B where most of us stayed on Aero. It was pretty run down and half the machines didn't work, but what did work got the clothes very very clean. And the dryers worked very well. Don't remember the cost, but it wasn't much. Lots of locals also used it.

Posted by
991 posts

I have a clothesline like the one RS sells, but it's from REI. It's braided, has hooks and suction cups. I bring it every time, and probably use it maybe 30% of the time, or only when I can't find another option. I won't bring anything else because I don't want the bulk. Usually I'll use what is available such as the towel heater or knobs. I do make sure to wring and towel dry as much as possible, and that things are only hanging over tile or in showers, nothing that will be damaged by dripping if my clothes happen to drip. It's a score, though rare, when the hotel has useable hangers that I will then use to hang clothes in shower by attaching the hanger to the shower head or something. It helps to wash often enough that I never have much to hang to dry at one time. Pants tend to get worn three or so times before being washed to help with this.

Posted by
3241 posts

I have used Rick's for the last three years. It works fine for me. I use it every time. The only thing I can't get the braid to hold are my jeans, for obvious reasons. Still works fine. I use the hotel samples of soap or shampoo to wash my clothes in the sink.

Posted by
22 posts

I didn’t see any laundromat on Aero. Maybe it is gone.

Posted by
19153 posts

I think by a J-hook he mean what are also called drip-dry clothes pins. They are clothes pins with a hanger on one side. They are plastic and weigh almost nothing. I use four - one each for a pair of socks and two for my shorts. I hang them all on the towel rack. Then I use an inflatable hanger for my shirt. The hanger keeps the front and back of the shirt apart to help drying.

I used to use one of Rick's woven clothes lines, but I could never find two places to hook it. Now I also bring one with suction cups on the ends. I can usually find someplace to stick one of the suction cups; for the other end, I can hook it around something or use the other suction cup.

Posted by
1080 posts

I've tried several different clothes lines and the Rick Steves one is the best, I've used it over the last 3-4 years and it has never failed me!

Posted by
2215 posts

Got the RS clothesline; last trip I brought "paper" soap that comes in a small pack, 2 plastic skirt hangers that usually break before the trip is over and clothespins. I've used the individual pa keys of woolite on previous trips, but I like the paper soap better. I think you can get it at places like REI, but even Target or Walmart probably has it.

Love all these tips - especially ideas for extending the versatility of the clothesline. Invariably, the line isn't long enough or the places to attach it aren't compatible. I especially like the suction cup hook idea.

Posted by
208 posts

LOL. Love this thread.

Bruce: Thanks for the pic of the laundry hooks -- I can see how they would be useful. Also, thanks for the video of the Sea-to-Summit line. I've seen that sold locally, and had been tempted. I have actually seen that video before, too. LOL.

Joe: I agree -- I find it easy (space-efficient, safe, practical to use) to pack a small ziploc of dry, powder, laundry detergent. More precisely, I always pack "HE" powder (high efficiency)... it's the stuff that is designed to be used in front-load washing machines, and is low-sudsing. I only need about a teaspoon in a sink, and because it is low-suds, the clothing rinses more quickly. Whatever I have left, I leave behind when I'm returning home.

BTW... here's a tip about the braided, latex clotheslines (like Rick Steves') -- which is the type I use... the latex DOES degrade. So, be sure to check the integrity of the latex before your trip. I've had the strands degenerate, then break, which would be a drag if it happened while I was relying on it. Just be sure to confirm yours is in good shape before you pack, in case you need to replace it before you go. Been there, done that!

Cheers,
Vivian

Posted by
487 posts

I am surprised that so many people like the Rick Steves clothesline. I bought the braided version a couple years ago for a trip. The braid was so tight that there was no way to get even a small corner of a sock or underwear in the braid. We just had to drape everything on top. I have pretty much given up on clotheslines as they never seem to fit well anywhere. If we are doing anything more than socks and underwear we go to a laundromat and just do a quick load.

Posted by
1507 posts

Thanks for all of the ideas!
I have decided to take a length of paracord that my husband has for some reason and get a few of the clips with the hanger tops.

I will take the Ziploc bag because it can serve many purposes without taking up space, I won't need the sink stopper, and I know the inside of the bag is clean.
I have been fighting the idea of a money belt (just used my cross body bag as a piece of clothing in Ireland). I think I could get away with not using one in Scandinavia but am planning Italy next year so will try to get used to it.
I haven't started packing clothing yet in reality (packed in my mind) but I have toiletries and such ready to go.
At least I can come here to the forum and obsess about the details so I don't drive everyone in my life crazy. I think they will be relieved when I step on the plane!

Posted by
2619 posts

I don't bother with a clothesline, just bring some individual clip hangers--perfect for socks and undies--and one plastic hanger for pants, plus a pack of hook converters in case the hotel doesn't have removable hangers for tops. I wash socks and undies nightly, tops as needed and jeans every 4 days, and I've had no issue with just hanging from the doorway or over shower. I travel solo so just my own stuff to worry about. No bag, just soap it up and wash, bathtub is preferable. I just use whatever liquid soap the hotel offers, no special detergent.

Posted by
50 posts

I don't use a clothesline and I bring a single bar of olive oil soap that is body and clothes soap. I find there's enough stuff around the room (shower rod, chair backs, etc) I can drape my clothes over. I will occasionally pay for larger knit items (e.g. tunic) to be washed for me. I use an extra towel to wrap wet clothes to get the water out of it. I actually stand on the towel wrapped clothes bundle to get the most water out. This combination works for me.

Posted by
4574 posts

If I have several items, or dirtier items, they soak in the ziplock. My sink experiences for soaking are unsuccessful....I never seem to have the correct stopper for the sinks on the road and the flat universal one is often too big. For all-in-one-go laundering, sink works. I take 6 clothes pins, small hunk of laundry soap and some dry powdered soap. Use apartment ha gers.as I tend to do short let apartments rather than hotels. I have bought all variety of hooks, hangers and laundry gear and due to space, rarely pack them or if packed, rarely bother to use them. I guess I am just not a gadgets type even when I try to be.

Posted by
1334 posts

According to Google maps there is still a laundry on Ærø (Aeroe) in Marstal - no launderette though.

I use the NEARBY function on Google maps to find laundries and launderettes in places I am going to stay for a longer period.

Posted by
1252 posts

I made a home-made rubber travel clothesline similar to the RS version. It was suggested on some thrifty traveler site. I took a bunch of rubber bands and looped them together to form three strands about one metre long. I tied the three ends together and then braided the three strands like a pigtail. After braiding, I tied the other end off. I added mini carabiners on each end. To use, i just attach the caribiners to stationary objects to form a clothes line. I can then hang damp clothes by pinching fabric in the braided strands. Cheap and quick to make.

Posted by
208 posts

@funpig, now THAT is resourceful! Well done!

Cheers,
Vivian

Posted by
11396 posts

Vandrabrud-- on the subject of a money belt .....by the middle of the 2nd day I was oblivious to its presence.

Enjoyed not having to worry about the larger cash stash, credit/debit card , passport. disappearing

Posted by
681 posts

I've found two advantages to using the zip bag (which I, sadly, forgot at home this trip) - When the sink is too small to wash even a shirt and when the stopper doesn't work well or is missing. When I get home, I'm going to put a bag in my suitcase before I put it back in the attic.

Posted by
788 posts

Just got home from Italy, where we used the RS clothesline about every other day. The challenge with that line is finding two points to attach it securely with the velcro staps. The suction cups are no good at all. At our first hotel in Venice, I was able to arrange it so that stuff was mostly hanging over the tub, while in Rome it ended up partly over the tub and partly over the floor and we had to duck to get to the toilet. I would agree to be careful when stretching it very far. If one end of the line came loose while attaching the other end, well, you could put your eye out, as Mom used to say.

I also took a half-dozen wooden clothespins this time, which worked out better than trying to fasten things with the rubber braid.

EDIT: I took one of Rick's micronet towels to help with wringing out wet clothes and it was a winner. Much better than ending up with a dripping wet hotel towel. And you never know how many towels you're going to get from place to place. I could wring out the micronet towel and hang it up and it would be dry in an hour or so.

Posted by
1507 posts

I am also taking the travel towel. I got one with my $100 voucher. The para cord will easily tie and untie if I can find something to attach it to.
Stoutfella, I am planning 17 days Italy next spring. I am looking for your trip report : ).

Posted by
788 posts

It'll take me a bit to pull the trip report together. We were so busy I didn't have time to write much down, so I'll be reconstructing memories from my 2,000-plus photos.

Posted by
19153 posts

Much better than ending up with a dripping wet hotel towel.

Every place where I have ever stayed has had a bathmat. That is what I use to wring out the clothes so they dry faster. I don't mind stepping out of the shower the next morning onto a damp mat, but I don't want to try to dry myself with a damp towel. By using the mat, I don't have to carry an extra towel for wringing out the clothes (or an extra plastic bag in which to pack the wet towel).

Posted by
32245 posts

Although I'm late in the discussion, I also use a rubber clothesline similar to the RS model. No clothespins are needed, as the clothes can be clipped inside the two layers of the clothesline.

Posted by
2529 posts

Lee's advice is followed to the 50% mark....I use a bath mat, but also a towel if needed.