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Universal sink stopper - do I need one?

I'll be going on the RS Best of England tour and plan on doing laundry nightly in my hotel sink. Rick's "Doing Laundry in Europe" post advises bringing a universal sink stopper for this. Can anyone who's been on the Best of England tour tell me whether those hotels are likely to have sink stoppers? I'd rather not bring one if I don't have to.

Posted by
14157 posts

Actually I think it works better to bring a 2 gal ziplock bag. Put that in the sink add clothes, water soap/shampoo/body wash then let them soak a bit. You can transfer the bag to the shower or tub for a soak.

Posted by
7389 posts

And for laundry detergent, I like to bring Earth Breeze sheets. They look like a dryer sheet but are detergent that disintegrates when it’s wet. Just store them in a flat quart Ziploc bag and tear them in half, depending on your amount of clothes.

Posted by
360 posts

Can't speak specifically to English sinks, lol, but I brought one of those flat sink stoppers on our recent trip to Italy and was glad I did. Several sinks had stoppers that did not work very well. I also bought the little laundry sheets (Travelon), and personally think hotel/personal shampoo does a better job. Although the sheets would be good to have if you are using a laundromat, I suppose.

I also always carry travel clothesline - twisted elastic, no pins needed - and have used it on every trip (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B5JQXCMH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1)

Posted by
6801 posts

I’ve been using a 2 gallon ziplock bag since I first read Pam’s mention of it in another post and it works great. But honestly, I still bring a flat sink stopper since sometimes I just want to wash a pair of undies or something, and it’s not worth getting the ziplock bag out.

Also, I like to take baths and sometimes the bathtub does not have a stopper, so I just use my own. It’s small and flat and doesn’t take up much room, so I figure it’s worth it to bring it along. :)

Posted by
585 posts

I have a USS that lives in my suitcase so it automatically travels with me. It has proven useful on a number of trips. Just have to remember not to leave it behind at the hotel! It’s light, flat and lives in the lining pocket of my suitcase.k

Posted by
27342 posts

I have a universal stopper but wasn't able to make it work in the small wash basins I often encountered, so I use a large zip bag now. Maybe I need to practice here at home.

What I run into more often than missing stoppers is stoppers that don't seal well enough to keep the basin from draining rapidly.

Posted by
11350 posts

I always bring a sink stopper when I travel. Whether or not you will need them in a hotel is rather random. They are flat, small so no problem packing them. Hardware stores sell them.

Posted by
10330 posts

I used to bring one one every trip, but never used it. I tried once and it didn’t work. I also used to bring a clothesline. Never used it either because it was awkward to string up. Inflatable hangers were part of my laundry packing as well and they worked great until one sprung a leak. I discovered plastic hangers that fold up and can be hung in showers, from curtain rods, in closets and at one agriturismo in Italy from trees. I’ve gotten so that I make it a point to stay somewhere with a washer at least once a week to make it easier to do laundry.

Posted by
2853 posts

This sink stopper works on most sinks for hand laundry. A few hotels I stayed in have RV size sinks. In those I use a 2-gal ziplock bag.
For hand wash and delicates at home, I use Forever New. A little goes a long way, so to cut weight, I put a couple ounces in a smaller container. I like it because it washes out easily leaving no soap residue.

Posted by
2460 posts

Imtake one. Have used it a few times. I like the 2.5 gallons zip bags

Posted by
4836 posts

Wouldn't it be better to bring more clothes

Well that's a tradeoff of space, weight and time. A stronger person might prefer to pack more clothes. Socks take up space, so I'd rather not bring lots of those. And if you go back to the hotel, the clothes can be soaking for a few minutes while you freshen up for dinner, so not much extra time.

Posted by
2732 posts

I’ve never taken one and never regretted it. I’ve never had a problem washing clothes in the sink or shower.

Posted by
14157 posts

Do you really plan to do nightly laundry? Wouldn't it be better to bring more clothes

Yes, strength plays in to this. I was able to lift my 19# suitcase onto the overhead shelf on the Thalys train today. If I’d packed enough clothes for 5 weeks that would have been impossible.

I do wash unders every night. It’s easier not to let things build up.

Everyone travels differently. I don’t want to waste sightseeing time in a laundromat. Others find it part of the travel experience!

Posted by
755 posts

I always take a flat stopper as well as a clothesline and mostly just wash socks and underwear using detergent sheets. Clothes can be worn more than once. I don’t travel in the summer so no getting hot and sweaty.

Posted by
4286 posts

Ok, I am with Mardee on this one. I love a bath when possible after lots of walking. And yes, sometimes the stopper in the bathtub doesn’t work. So this is a new thought for me - less about sink washing than a bath.

I have just done a look on Amazon and wondering about the different sizes - of silicon stoppers. While the 4.5 inch would work for a tub, would it be too large for some sinks? https://www.amazon.com/Dogxiong-4-5-Inches-Universal-Bathrooms-Laundries/dp/B07HP9FXM7/ref=sr_1_24?keywords=travel+sink+stopper&qid=1681505020&sr=8-24

Posted by
4836 posts

That's about the size I have. Occasionally, in a smaller sink, it is too large for the flat area of the sink and can't form a seal.

Of course, if it's too small.... opposite problem. I seem to remember seeing a 2 pack, one smaller, one larger.

But some hotel sinks (I'm thinking of you, Motel One) are constructed to make stopping them difficult. There is a silver strainer that sticks up from the drain such that a flat stopper can't work.

Sometimes, I just use a baggie to stop the sink ..... even the ornery sizes and shapes.

Posted by
4574 posts

Too often I couldn't get a seal with the flat universal plug...always seemed too big for the small sinks.
But the 3 pack linked above means you can leave one large and cut down to a medium and small size....following the circles on the top.

Posted by
266 posts

This is one of those things that you see everywhere until you decide you want to buy one.

I read about taking a Universal Stopper when travelling on this board, sounded like a good idea. Doesn't take up room or weight.

So I looked for one I was sure I had somewhere in my house.

Nope. Must have gotten brittle and thrown out.

So I started looking for them when I was shopping. You know you see them ALL the time at the grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target.

But nothing.

I finally asked a clerk at the grocery store one day. "Sure, they're right over here."

Nope. Just regular drain stoppers that fit in the drain.

Finally found them at the Hardware store up the street when I was in there looking for something else. So I bought 3. One in my toiletries kit, one in a zip-loc bag of "laundry supplies" and one in the bathroom drawer still in the original container for "later when these are an antique" ;).

Had the same experience with a deck of cards.

You see them at the check-out, on racks sticking out of the shelves, with the school supplies at the grocery store, drugstore, Wal-Mart, Target, . . .

Until I wanted to buy a couple of decks to use for a training session at work. Nowhere to be found. Finally found some at a dollar store. Had to ask the clerk for them though. They weren't in an "obvious" place.

Now I see them everywhere. The checkout at the grocery store, the checkout at the drug store, in the aisles, everywhere.

Posted by
185 posts

I was on the Best of England tour in September 2022. I did not have a universal sink stopper. Every hotel I stayed in had a plug that worked just fine.

Posted by
3194 posts

If you need one but don’t have one, cover the drain hole with a bit of plastic bag, and put some coins on top of the plastic.
That will be heavy enough and will block the drain long enough to get a bit of laundry done.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks, everyone! I actually didn't know there was such a thing as 2-gallon ziploc bags. I think I'll get a few of those and see what it's like to do laundry in them. Sounds easier than having to scrub out the sink after brushing my teeth to make it clean enough for soaking clothes.

Posted by
14157 posts

Sounds easier than having to scrub out the sink after brushing my teeth to make it clean enough for soaking clothes.

🤣🤣For sure! Without getting into TMI, I use a neti pot or nasal irrigator when I travel so sink is not where I want my clean clothes.

I recommend getting a name brand slider ziplock bag. I got some at the Dollar Store once and they were too thin and wimpy. What was I thinking?? I think it’s Glad that has the slider closure. I also reinforce the side and bottom with mailing tape. I travel with jeans which need a fairly sturdy bag. Definitely try this at home first.

Posted by
2764 posts

.

If you’re in a hotel that has an ice bucket, they’ll be a plastic bag in the bucket, you stick that in the drain it’ll work long enough to do laundry. You can do it in the tub and close that drain if you really had to have a lot of water.

shampoo is a soap. It doesn’t have to be laundry soap, you can clean things with any soap you’ve got. Use a bar soap. That’s what I used to get stains out it works.

Posted by
6801 posts

This sink stopper works on most sinks for hand laundry.

horsewoofie, that's the same one I have - I love it!

TexasTravelmom, I do love baths! I was recently on a quick weekend trip and was looking forward to going back to the hostel for a bath. But unfortunately, there was no stopper in the tub, and I didn't bring one. So no bath, although I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it much since the water did not get that hot. :(

Posted by
4286 posts

Lol, Mardee! Same for my last trip in Granada. I used the plastic baggie trick and it worked! But maybe a sink stopper would be more reliable.

Posted by
14157 posts

Well, I’m not sure why I didn’t just look at the bags I’m traveling with! They are Hefty brand with the slider closure.