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Travel Laundry Detergent

I have quick dry clothes for travel (REI, Ex Officio, Eddie Bauer). Which travel laundry detergent is the best for getting these clothes clean and for convenience of carrying and use?

Posted by Nordheim
Seattle
544 posts

I like the little Tide packets in the travel-size section of the drug store. Most of the time I just drop my clothes off at a laundry while I'm in Europe though.

Posted by Beth
KANAWHA
3 posts

I usually use Washeze or Purex sheets. They are detergent, fabric softener and antistatic all in one. Just put a sheet in the washer and then put same sheet into the dryer with the clothes. You can get these at Amazon and sometimes the Purex sheets are available at Walmart or Target. They are flat, easy to pack in a zip-lock and won't explode or leak.

BT

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
3903 posts

Agree with David except after a recent accident I would put pods in a zip-loc inside ANOTHER zip-loc. (I use generic pods -- whatever works at home.) Or if you run out, laundromats often sell small packets of detergent.

For sink washing, the hotel shampoo is often sufficient.

Posted by chinalake67
303 posts

We like FOREVER NEW powder (we buy ours on Amazon) - we've bought the individual packs & the little container & both have worked very well for us with all clothing types. It's a powder, so it doesn't have to go in your 3-1-1.

Be careful not to get detergents that contain fabric softener as some merino wool, SmartWool, Ex Officio state NOT to use fabric softener on their products

If you go to the "packing" section - there's a good topic with lots of recommendations on TSA approved detergent

Posted by Joel
S. Florida/Maine, USA
483 posts

I have used both the little Woolite packets and Washeez sheets (cut in half). Both worked fine, though I favor the Washeez since there is no liquid involved, hence no need to pack it in the 3-1-1 bag.

Posted by Kathy
United States
8239 posts

Tide packets for colors, and a little container of Oxyclean powder for whites. Otherwise, hotel shampoo works pretty good.

Posted by Joseph
Laflin, PA, USA
67 posts

Consider using Trek and Travel, by Sea and Summit of Australia. I picked up a bottle at an Ex Officio store at JFK Airport. The bottle is only 3.0 oz and is TSA compliant. The wash is a concentrate, and the instructions indicate that 2 capfuls can wash an average load. I have only used it for washing clothes in the sink (microfiber underwear, microfiber / moisture wicking shirts, and socks). For me, I find that a half capful can wash a small sink full of clothes with ease. When properly ringing out clothes, they are dry between 12 and 24 hours, depending on heat and humidity indoors.

If memory serves me right, I paid $6.95 for the bottle, but I am not positive. The bottle is small, light, and fits easily into a travel kit. Because I use so little at a time, one bottle should last me years (I think I used only 10% of the total and I purchased last May - and have used about 10 times). For me, the price is well worth the mini-splurge when compared to other alternatives.

Posted by CL
Salem, Oregon, USA
1335 posts

I've used the Purex laundry sheets as well, though I slice them in strips for sink washing (and dispose of the "anti static" end for the dryer). I've also used Dr. Bronners liquid soap. I recently discovered the Fels Naptha solid bar - it has a stronger scent but lathers up and rinses out well. I slice off a chunk and store in a baggie (you don't need the whole bar). It's about $2 at the grocery store. Since it's not liquid you don't have to worry about TSA rules.

Regardless of what you choose, I would recommend testing it out on your clothes before you go. This will make sure it works as you expect and there aren't unintended consequences (like detergent marks on your clothing after they dry).

Posted by Mark
Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
2063 posts

I use my regular powdered laundry detergent (Cheer) and regular dryer sheets (Bounce). I pack just enough detergent for a full load into a snack size zip top bag, taking as many as I feel I might need for the trip, and pack a few of the dryer sheets into another zip top bag. Both of these go into an extra thick quart sized freezer zip top bag. Takes up almost no space in your bag this way.

IF I am doing the sink wash, I just use enough of the powder from the small bag to get things clean, but prefer to use a washing machine. By bringing my own soap and softener I know I will not have any type of reaction to strange cleaners I am not used to (which happened to me on one trip and it was not a pretty sight). Also, this is a lot more cost effective than buying the small boxes you find at laundromats.

Posted by Jane
Sapulpa, OK, USA
2417 posts

I use my regular laundry product - Ecover liquid - transplanted into the tiny TSA approved bottles you can get at Target or the Dollar Store. Half a small bottle lasts us for weeks, but do be sure to seal the plastic bag you put the bottle in.

Posted by TC
Atlanta
2926 posts

For hand washing in the sink, try Prell Concentrated Shampoo. Just takes a little and does a great job.

Posted by christa
alameda, ca, usa
1713 posts

All I do is sink laundry and honestly, hotel liquid soap works just fine.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
15084 posts

I have also carried Palmolive dishwashing liquid to use for sink washing of either dishes or laundry. But I now tend much more toward Laundromats and buy the detergent there (or choose full service for only a few euros more at some shops).

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
2470 posts

Like chinalake67, I use Forever New (tried after reading about it on the Travel Forum). It's a powder that completely dissolves, cleans very well and leaves a faint pleasant odor when clothes are dry. Bonus: it's a powder and doesn't impinge on 3-1-1 liquids sack.

Posted by Debra
TX, USA
523 posts

I carry what I use at home; Charlie's Soap. Super concentrated, so only a small pinch to wash a sink load. I usually put a scoop or two in a zip lock bag. No need to worry about TSA compliance as it is a powder. Try looking for it here.

Posted by Donald
Wichita, KS, United States
501 posts

I like to use cold water Tide for washing in the sink, I put it in a Go-toob container and 3 oz will last a 2-3 wk trip with washing every third night.

Posted by Susan K
Columbus, USA
242 posts

Because I am normally full on my liquids in my 311 bag, I carry bar soap. Bar of choice is Dr Bronner's Castile soap. Plus I find it easier to scrub.

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, Washington
2280 posts

I pack enough Woolite packets for half of the trip and use the hotel shampoo for the other half of my trip for sink-washing clothes.

Posted by Janet
Temple,Tx
193 posts

I also use Forever New. I bought it at Dillard's. I use every available space in my TSS quart bag with shampoo, make up etc. this powder works great and it doesn't take much to clean a sink full of clothes.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
16905 posts

I take only one bar of soap with me to Europe - a bar of Ivory. It works for everything - washing my body and hair in the shower, and washing my clothes. It's a good soap. Why make it any more complicated?

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
2167 posts

Lee is right; Ivory washes everything. I take a bar of Ivory with me for sink-washing all clothes. To get socks extra clean, put your hand down inside the wet sock, scrub the bottom of the sock with the Ivory soap bar. Then let socks soak in soapy water in the sink before draining the sink and rinsing the socks.