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Laundry detergent within TSA limit

The 3 oz TSA limit is a challenge when you want to bring your own laundry detergent for a multi-week trip. I brought 3 oz of "Method 8X" detergent which is highly concentrated. Unfortunately I wasn't very impressed as every time I used it, it left a sticky residue on my hands that was difficult to rinse/wash off. It also released the black dye in a pair of black socks bigtime, which ended up ruining a pair of underpants as the black dye seeped into them (my fault for hanging them too close to each other).

I also brought the little dry-detergent sheets sold in camping stores. I wasn't very impressed with those either, as it was hard to get them to dissolve and suds up a sinkful of even just 4 or 5 garments.

Next trip I'll probably go back to bringing a 3 oz bottle of regular laundry detergent and just take a chance on running out before the trip is over. Hotel shampoo could fill in for the last few washes if necessary. And, one of the hotels we stayed in had a deal where they would wash and machine dry a whole load for 10 euros, which we thought was definitely worth it considering that we were able to go out and enjoy being tourists while the innkeeper dealt with our dirty clothes.

On another laundry-related note, I can't praise Rick's braided clothesline highly enough. Not having to hassle with clothespins is a godsend, and the velcro fastening design is ingenious. It performed spectacularly in a variety of different hotel rooms; I was always able to hang it inside the shower so no dripping occurred in inappropriate places.

I would wash our socks & underwear in the afternoon, after housekeeping had made up the room. By morning the garments were dry enough to be hung in the regular closet and continue airing until fully dry.

Posted by
10344 posts

There are times when I think, it would just be easier to check a bag.

Posted by
2977 posts

Thanks for the tip about Forever New. I was not familiar with that powder product. It sounds great according to the customer reviews on Amazon!

We actually did end up checking our larger bags (1 per person) even though theoretically we could have carried them on board. Our to- and from-Europe flights each had a stop & change of planes, so it would have been a pain to keep track of the luggage in the en route airports. Checking it through to our end destinations was just simpler. Even so, I wanted to keep the weight as low as possible. My DH would bring 8 oz bottles of shampoo, body wash, shaving cream etc. if I let him think this was going to be allowed, LOL.

Posted by
1220 posts

I've seen more than one article talking about how the laundry soap companies spent the past 70 or so years convincing us all that we needed to use more laundry soap than we ever really did, and how they're seeing falling sales now because the new generation of front loaders actually are encouraging people to use less soap.

So I wouldn't be surprised if, unless you need to work a stain out, you could get away with a smaller amount of laundry soap in every hotel room wash than what you're using now and the clothes would seem just as clean the next morning.

Posted by
14232 posts

We've had some great moments in the laundromats. Yes, we also do some stuff in the sink but we never mind spending 2 hours now and again to repack the suitcase with clothes that are REALLY clean and dry. Want to meet some locals and/or travelers just like you? Go do some laundry!

Posted by
3777 posts

You might consider Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets while they are still available from Amazon. I like them because they are neither liquid nor powder.

I cut them up into 1/4 or 1/3 strips, making sure to follow the curve so as to get all the benefits of the 3-in-1. For sink washing, I use 1 strip. For the laundromat, I use 1 or more strips depending on the size of the washer.

On our last trip we took care of our laundry weekly and every way possible except paying the outrageous prices per item many hotels charge. Those methods included sink washing, having everything done at once by the hotel, taking it to a service to do it all at once for us and using the laundromat ourselves. All worked and all were cheap.

Posted by
12222 posts

The laundry sheets don't make a lot of suds but they do work. Put the into the sink and "swish" the water around until they dissolve. Then put in your clothes.

You could try Zote soap--97 cents at Wal Mart. Cut it into pieces and take that.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Zote-White-Laundry-Soap-14.1-oz/16935506

I used to use the liquid travel wash found in the Rick Steves store. Or you could try Campsuds. Or Dr. Bronners soap--bar or liquid.

Posted by
3428 posts

Plain shampoo (not the kind with conditioner) or even plain hand/body soap (bar or liquid) will also work as a substitute for laundry detergent. A few drop or a few rubs on the bar will clean several outfits. Multi-use products rock! Take 2 or 3 bottles of shampoo or throw in a small bar of soap (less for the little 3-1-1 bag).

I've also seen powdered Tide and other detergents in very small packets (travel sized) at the travel section in my drug store (Rite Aid) and grocery (Food Lion) and at Walmart, Target and some Dollar Trees. A single packet would do several sink-loads or giant ziplock baggie loads.

Posted by
715 posts

I do believe they sell laundry detergent in Europe.

Posted by
2977 posts

Lots of great ideas here, thanks, everyone!

The main thing I wanted to share was that the "Method 8X" concentrated detergent was not as smart a choice as I had anticipated. It didn't impress me.

@JKC, yes of course they sell detergent in Europe. But we had a very full itinerary and didn't want to have to spend time going to a store for detergent.

Posted by
8990 posts

Forever New is sold in Macy's--Lola FYI. Bought it near some underwear if I remember. A tiny bit in a sink does the trick.

Posted by
771 posts

We don't waste space and weight taking detergent with us. Along time ago we found out that at least in France, Germany and Switzerland the stores have some great cold water detergents that were even better than our old stand-by Woolite. So why bother taking what you can get there?

Posted by
14446 posts

lrv, the French have laundry detergent? I never would have guessed. Shampoo works pretty well too. At least for what I transfer to my clothes. Then, there is the lady over on Ó utca that will do a load for about $7 and will do it in one day.

Posted by
5141 posts

Yes, you can purchase laundry detergent in Europe....as long as you know what you're buying. During our first trip to Europe, we stopped in a small grocery store in Verona to pick up a few things along with some laundry detergent to wash items in the sink. My hubby grabbed what he thought was a small box of laundry detergent; it had a graphic of a T-shirt on it. Luckily, I looked back at the shelf and noticed the same graphic in a different color. He had picked up a box of black dye! Whew, we almost had a monotone wardrobe for our trip to meet up with a RS tour - ha!

And to answer your question, I bring along the packs of Woolite and also use shampoo if/when we run out.

Posted by
11459 posts

We love Forever New.. the little canister lasts us three weeks easily.. I even come home with some.. and it rinses out nicely. We do not bring things like blue jeans .. they would be a nightmare to wash !

Posted by
285 posts

I'm with Kent and Kathy! I don't want to spend a bunch of precious holiday time stressing over laundry. Especially the washing it myself kind. While on different trips, we have found a laundromat , paid a few bucks and gone and had a lovely coffee or wine and visited with other fellow travellers while waiting to pick it up. It's part of the trip that your clothes get a little tired, aside from undies that can be done in a sink, go to a laundromat. Don't get too carried away with the idea of minimalism in packing , you do want to be comfortable in your clothes and for us, freshly laundered clothing every several days is worth the trip to a laundromat when packing minimally.

Posted by
14232 posts

We've never paid someone else to do our laundry. It's been pretty easy (so far) to find self-serve laundromats when we've wanted them, and we usually do a washing-up just once during a 3-week trip. It might be twice only for the benefit of a dryer if the climate is humid enough to have trouble getting even lighter-weight, hand-washed item to dry well. It's never been a waste of time, and we've met such interesting people doing the same thing!

I pack a little powdered Oxyclean for any stubborn stains (great stuff) but otherwise use whatever is available for sink washing, and soap from dispensers at the laundries.

Posted by
526 posts

I use Charlie's Soap for all my laundry needs. It is safe for sensitive skin and for high efficiency washers. One small scoop does a large load. When I travel, I usually take a couple of scoops. When doing sink wash I will use a three/four finger pinch. I love this stuff. This will last a good three years. Try here to find retailer near you.

Posted by
23 posts

We have had good luck using a chunk of Fels Naptha Laundry soap. A large bar at the grocery store costs about a dollar. I break it in half because the bar is rather large. No liquid for the 3 1 1 bag. This soap works great for sink washing.

Posted by
23 posts

We have had good luck using a chunk of Fels Naptha Laundry soap. A large bar at the grocery store costs about a dollar. I break it in half because the bar is rather large. No liquid for the 3 1 1 bag. This soap works great for sink washing.

Posted by
518 posts

I've been bringing small containers of plain old powdered Tide detergent. And the others are right, you don't need nearly as much as what the manufacturers would want you to believe you need. If there is a nearby self service laundry, that's the route we usually take and these days, the machines are very easy to use and are "all inclusive" in that they include the detergent and everything.

Posted by
1834 posts

Hi, I spent too much time in France this year shopping for laundry detergent. I finally found some and used it for a few days before I thought to google the product and found out it was fabric softner. It smelled nice but didn't clean the clothes very well. Will bring some from home next time.

I've used these Travelon laundry sheets in the past and they worked just fine. Be sure your hands are dry when you're separating them or you will end up with one solid block of sheets!

http://www.amazon.com/Travelon-Laundry-Soap-Sheets-50-Count/dp/B000Y0CL8K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436574431&sr=8-1&keywords=laundry+detergent+sheets+travel&pebp=1436574419313&perid=10VWYX02YWM53R97AVTD

Posted by
2977 posts

@Donna, I hear you about accidentally sticking the dry detergent sheets together! Luckily I saw a warning about that before I used any of mine or I'm sure I would have made the same mistake with wet/damp fingers.

Posted by
698 posts

Another vote for FOREVER NEW powder (we buy ours on Amazon) - we've bought the individual packs & the little container & both have worked very well for us.

Posted by
4383 posts

LOVE Forever New!!! I use it all the time at home, too. I just put some in a snack-sized Ziploc bag (double-bagged; its fabulous scent is very strong, and you don't want powder all over your bag). I just put a pinch in the sink...a little dab will do ya ;-)

There's no reason to stress (someone else' sword) over doing your own laundry! It just takes a few minutes every other night or so with a powdered detergent (no airport security issues). That's it!

And yes, shampoo is a great laundry soap. Very clean-rinsing.

Posted by
2977 posts

I'm curious about Charlie's soap since the website advises you to detox your clothes when you first start using it. What if you bring it on your trip and you haven't detoxed your clothes at home ahead of time? Will you get weird effects using it for hand washing in hotel sinks?

Posted by
526 posts

I have used Charlies Soap for years, so sorry, I don't recall if there were any strange odors. But I don't think so, I probably wouldn't still be using if so. I did read information on the website and it just stated it helps to remove residue from other laundry products. CS itself has no odor(scent). I have never favored detergent or soap that had flowery scent.

Posted by
2349 posts

Another vote for Forever New. But even just powdered detergent like Tide or Cheer will be fine. Consider that a hotel sink holds, at most, a gallon and a half of water. Your washer at home holds 10-12 gallons for the wash cycle. So one scoop of Tide in a baggie will last you for 7-10 sink loads.

(I still use powdered detergent. The other people in my house don't believe they should have to measure liquid detergent, so they just pour it directly into the machine. If I buy powdered, the most they can put in is an overflowing scoop. But at least they do their own laundry! 'Cuz I sure ain't doing it.)

Posted by
2977 posts

@Debra, thanks for the reassurance about Charlie's soap. I may try it at home, especially now that I've tried to use up the bottle of Method 8X and found that it leaves an invisible but sticky residue on towels unless I add white vinegar to the rinse compartment.
@Karen, that is too funny about the liquid vs powdered detergent in the household. Good for you!

Posted by
22268 posts

We use CampSuds. It is a highly concentrated designed for the backpacking crowd with limited access to water. A couple, three drops in a sink is all that is needed. Almost no suds, and raises out easily. You seem to focused on the need for lots of Suds. You don't need suds as evidences that the clothes are being cleaned.

PS Forgot to add. The standard 2 oz will last forever at 3 or 4 drops per use.

Posted by
2977 posts

@Frank, I would not say I'm "focused on lots of suds," but I admit I don't care for the super-low-suds detergents. I'd rather use an ecologically responsible small quantity of a laundry soap/detergent that provides evidence that it's working and with which I can tell that I've rinsed it out at the end of the wash.

Posted by
1257 posts

Our Family used Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets on our recent trip. They worked great, or so my Wife said.