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In Hotel Laundry - what went wrong?

Quick trip to Belgium last month, so I thought I'd try some of the pack light tips. I couldn't do the complete routine because I was packing a lot of camera gear. So I tried bringing the suggested travel underwear and washing things in the hotel. The underwear was great. However, when it came time to wash, it took more than overnight to dry. Regular briefs, dress socks, and a dry-fit golf shirt took up to 3 days to dry. Even with a few minutes of blow dryer time on each item. Does the self laundry only work in warm climates?

The official travel clothes line was pretty pathetic too.

Posted by
2145 posts

Hi Mike, sorry your plan didn't work out. I do a test run with my hand washables at home before I leave for my trip. This gives me an idea of how long things take to dry and how wrinkled they will be. I usually do laundry when I have 2 or more nights at the same hotel. I take a shower in the morning, then wash out my clothes and roll them up in the towels to get out the excess moisture. I bring a few plastic or inflatable hangers from home. Most of my stuff dries overnight, although I do sometimes have a problem with socks.

Posted by
7397 posts

Humidity in the air can be a factor. But, I can't stress enough the "roll everything up in a towel and stand on the towel" - really makes the difference to having clothes dry by morning. We use every towel available, including the floor mat. The disadvantage is that if you're really good at this step, your towel will still be somewhat wet for your morning shower. : )

One comment - my husband & I don't have special quick-dry travel clothes; this method is used on normal clothing.

Posted by
1080 posts

Mike,
Were your clothes made from nylon or polyester material? I travel in clothes that are made to dry quickly like Royal Robbins Expedition shirts or ExOfficio briefs and I usually wash my clothes at 6:00 pm and roll them in a Rick Steves travel towel then hang them up and they are always dry by morning. If your clothes had a high percentage of cotton or wool than that would explain why they took so long to dry.

Posted by
23431 posts

The only clothes that I have trouble drying overnight are 100% cotton. Since I don't take anything that is 100% cotton that is not a problem. I use all clothing especially underwear that is a synthetic blend - at most 10 to 20% cotton. I will start drying in the bathroom but once the clothes have finished dripping I will move to the bedroom just for more air circulation. If taking three days, something else is going on.

Posted by
11507 posts

Did you roll wet stuff in a towel and squish water out that way first.. even in humid mexico I can get stuff dry in two days. I don't buy "travel undies" just thin synthetic stuff. guess its harder for men as they make mens undies out of thicker cotton.

Posted by
985 posts

The towel stomp or twist is definitely the key. I came in from touring two nights ago and washed my jeans and everything worn to this point. Twisted out excess water and then lay everything out flat on towel, rolled it up, and stomped it. Shook out wrinkles and hung to dry. Cool to touch in morning and could be worn. It is in the 60's here with apt. windows open during day. Humidity around 80%.

Posted by
796 posts

I travel with a thin towel that sucks up tons of water. I bought it at a travel store. I roll all clothes in it twice, then hang. Usually socks I use the hair dryer right after rolling in the towel. At home, I use that towel to dry my hair; it removes so much water. I never use a blowdryer. The towel and clothes are usually dry by a.m. I try to wash where I have a 2 night stay, so everything will dry completely.

Good luck with laundry on your next trip!

Posted by
1068 posts

I agree that standing on the towel makes a big difference. Unfortunately, once that towel gets wet...... I do have some special travel shirts/pants but my briefs are made by a "regular company" which advertises on TV lots, however, their stuff is not cotton.

Posted by
3240 posts

I, too, have a travel towel (microfiber?). I do a quick wash before dinner, roll the items up in the towel, and go out again. The towel sucks the water out of the washed items. When I return at night I hang the items on the line. They have been dry by morning, and this includes a pair of NYDJ (jeans), cotton blouse, mixed material Lands End tees, and costco merino wool socks.

Posted by
518 posts

Ditto on the "rolling up the clothes in a towel and wringing it out" step. This step is very important as most of the moisture comes out from that step. Lay the towel flat, then lay the article of clothing on top of it, also flat, and then roll the whole thing up and wring. Cotton is the hardest to dry. Synthetics like quick-dry fabrics, are easier, and wool is easier yet. I use Ex-Officio underwear (they use a really nice synthetic fabric) and Smartwool socks, both of which dry quickly with this given method. They are expensive, but well worth the cost and if you're traveling light and washing every other night, you won't need to buy many.

Like others have mentioned, humidity in the air can affect this, even if the weather is warm. If your hotel bathroom has a fan, you can hang dry it in there and leave the fan running. Likewise with the air conditioning/heater, if your room has one. Another thing about quick dry synthetic fabrics is that even if they are still slightly damp, you can just wear it and it dries from your body heat very quickly.

Posted by
2475 posts

If your bathroom has one of those white, tubular towel racks, look down at the bottom - it has a dial that heats it up. I heated my underwear and socks for a hour in the evening and a hour in the morning, and they dried fine.

Posted by
19151 posts

On my first pack light trips of this century, I, too, had the problem of (cotton) clothing not drying overnight. However, during recent trips this has not been a problem.

  1. I've spend considerable effort to build a travel wardrobe of fast drying (cotton-polyester blend) shirts and underwear,
  2. My final "rinse" is with water as hot as I can stand,
  3. I, too, squeeze out all of the water I can. However, if there is a bath mat (there always has been), I use it instead of a towel. I don't mind stepping on a moist bathmat after my morning shower, but drying with a moist towel - no,
  4. For shirts, I got inflatable hangers. They keep the sides apart allowing the air to flow through to dry.

In five trips since 2007, in the months of May, August, September, October, and November, I have never had a problem with clothes not drying overnight.

Posted by
32244 posts

mike,

I've found on more recent trips that I'm not as concerned with sink washing or packing along a few cotton clothes. I used sink washing a couple of times on my recent trip, but also found that they weren't drying as quickly as advertised.

The easiest method I've found is just to visit a laundromat about once a week. It's not really much of an inconvenience to take an hour or so in the morning to take care of laundry, and that allows me to deal with any larger items as well such as underwear & socks.

Posted by
19151 posts

"The easiest method I've found is just to visit a laundromat about once a week."

Nice in theory, but I have found, in the small towns I like to visit, that laundromats are few and far between. But it's so easy to just wash my underwear and a shirt in the sink at night. Occasionally, I've stayed somewhere where there was a washing possibility, like a laundry room in the vacation apartment building where I was staying, and I washed all of my sink wash clothes plus my slacks, but I don't rely on finding a place to wash.

Posted by
32244 posts

I agree that whether laundromats will be an option depends on the destinations being visited. Some small towns won't have facilities like that as they simply wouldn't make any money. In the places I've visited (including this year) that hasn't been a problem. The hotel staff usually know where the laundry places are in town, and in some cases they will do laundry for their guests (for a fee of course).

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks all! I brought along a microfiber towel and rolled things up in it, but didn't walk on it. OK, don't use cotton, but the dry-fit polo was hung on a hanger, but in an open closet without a lot of airflow. Will need to try again at home.

Posted by
1068 posts

The problem with a microfiber towel is that is does one load. A towel like this is a better bet if you plan to do a full laundry.

Posted by
12 posts

We used some of the travel underwear last trip and they worked pretty well. Brought a twisty-type clothesline and hung everywhere. If we could keep the room warm enough (a potential problem during the transition spring season) most things were dry. Also used laundromats - BUT you might want to bring your own detergent. Our granddaughter suffered a very annoying and unexpected rash after her clothes were washed in a laundromat with their soap. Still, for longer trips, a laundromat is nice to get everything clean at once. I agree with the suggestions to try washing the clothes before traveling, wash as early in the day as you can, and/or stay at least 2 nights to give your clothes time to dry.

Posted by
8293 posts

What a lot of laundry anguish! I never try the carry-on caper so I usually have enough unmentionables, T shirts, PJs etc., to see me through, in my checked luggage. I know ... unorthodox and shocking. I also never use Uber or AirB&B either. A Canadian rebel.

Posted by
518 posts

"BUT you might want to bring your own detergent. Our granddaughter suffered a very annoying and unexpected rash after her clothes were washed in a laundromat with their soap. "

On my last couple of trips to Europe I noticed that many coin operated laundromats are high tech enough to include detergent as a part of the wash cycle. You basically put in money push a button and the machine does the rest, so there really isn't an option to forego the detergent or put in your own. Maybe in smaller towns the machines won't be as fancy, but my most recent experience was at a laundromat in Vernazza (Cinque Terre), IT.

Posted by
32244 posts

Norma,

" I also never use Uber or AirB&B either. A Canadian rebel."

I guess I'm another Canadian rebel, as I don't use either of those services either (and don't plan on starting anytime soon).

Posted by
1221 posts

I'm with Norma- I find a bigger checkable bag to be a lot less hassle on a trip than the fuss of doing laundry along the way.

Posted by
420 posts

I do a good job of packing lightly but I bring 10 pairs of socks and panties. Underware can be rolled very tightly & doesn't take up that much space.

Posted by
41 posts

Agree with most of the above. Steer clear of any clothing that contains cotton, including jeans. All the T-Shirts, socks, undies and jumpers I travel with are 100% Merino Wool, which dries in a fraction of the time it takes cotton. Plus, the T-Shirts can be worn multiple times as they do not retain body odour. There are any number of merino Polo shirts available if you are looking for a golf/casual shirt. The down side to 100% merino is that it expensive, but you get what you pay for.

Posted by
2618 posts

I find my jeans, while a lighter weight denim, still take at least overnight if not a bit longer to dry, so I plan my washing days carefully and this trip I'm bringing along a couple of sturdy plastic clip hangers, no more hoping my hotel room has removable hangers in the closet. I also had an episode last trip, I think one pair of jeans were fairly new--rolled in towel to remove excess moisture and left blue stains on the towel, then I had to worry about removing them! I don't bother with a clothesline but hang somewhere to get air-flow.

Posted by
1221 posts

As someone with a contact wool allergy, the mere idea of wool undies makes me want to break out in hives.

Posted by
33128 posts

Good luck with your uber in London.

There was a story of a chap on the news last week who got into an uber and was charged £100 for a short ride, The passenger hadn't been paying attention and the uber driver took him on an over 20 mile great circle route to his very short £5 destination.

Posted by
8293 posts

Apart from the kind of thing that happens such as Nigel's example, I just think it is bloody unfair and wicked that taxi drivers in Montreal, (and no doubt elsewhere) who have paid thousands and thousands of dollars for a taxi licence are suddenly being robbed of a living because of someone with a car and a driver's licence, An acquaintance of mine was impressed that her Uber driver was a law student. Yeah, well anyone can claim to be a law student or a PHD candidate but how does that make them a good, honest, safe driver? There is something fundamentally wrong about Uber ... I will never use it.

Posted by
8293 posts

I have only ever seen good reviews of JustAirports. It surprises me that you have not. Have another look.

Posted by
8293 posts

I have only ever seen good reviews of JustAirports. It surprises me that you have not. Have another look. Last time in London we asked the concierge in the hotel, also near Lancaster Gate, by the way, if he could help us arrange a shared taxi with other guests to the airport. He did and it worked well for all of us.

Posted by
1068 posts

Anyone ever use the hotel laundry for heavier things like jeans? I have used hotel laundry services on occasion. Generally they are very good. Expense, in my experience, varies widely. I have also run into "sales" when you can get a bag of laundry done inexpensively etc. etc. As many of my trips are over a month, I generally use a combination of self-wash and hotel laundry service. I have used self-laundry facilities in the past but it is not my favorite.

Posted by
33128 posts

I've had a PM. If I haven't written here in the Forum it is unlikely that I have more to say.

I have never heard a bad thing about Just Airports.

Don't trust a quote from Uber. They can and do change what they charge.

A proper minicab company will give a fixed quote on a run to the airport. I have no idea of what they would charge as I never use cabs or minicabs unless somebody else (usually my employer) is paying.

I have friends who have also been successful using the Hailo App for a black cab early in the morning.

Posted by
33 posts

Some stores sell underpants and socks for cheaper than hotels charge for laundry. Use them as disposables and rebuy at destination. This is not "green", but neither is international travel by air. Then you only have tot worry about shirts and pants.

Posted by
518 posts

Good example re: Hansom cabs. Another example is saying it's "unfair" that services like Netflix basically eliminated, the DVD rental business (such as Blockbuster video). Honestly, would you prefer to drive to a video store, see if the movie you want is available, rent it, and be pressured to watch and return it within a certain time frame, vs. watching whatever you want, whenever you want (especially if it's streaming video), for a fraction of the price?

I think Uber and similar services are good in that you can get a car much faster, easier...and you don't have to worry about having the right amount of money/change/tip. Plus, you have far better control of your access to these cars via the app. The problem is these services aren't as well regulated and, as others have mention, just about anyone can do it. When regulation catches up with the service, then I think it's fair game and cab companies will need to rethink their business model.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

I rely on doing laundry in the hotel room sink and having it done by the Pension or hotel. Relying on finding a public coin laundry facility is very chancy and a waste of time, although I have seen these facilities in German cities, (Frankfurt, Berlin...that one doesn't exist anymore more near Savignyplatz, Munster/Westf), and in Vienna, just by accident. I've seen more dry cleaners in Germany than coin laundries. In France only in Paris and Arras.

Other places you can count on seeing coin laundries are at some of the independent hostels, Pensionen, or hotels indicating that service. If I plan on staying at least three nights in a city, I could be doing the laundry that night in the sink, depending how low the supplies in socks, underclothes, etc . are by that time.