How to Pack Dirty Clothes While Traveling

This post may contain affiliate links and advertising. Learn more

This article was originally published on our site Nomad Paradise. As part of a rebrand, we are publishing all our travel packing and tips content in one place for you to enjoy - The Travel Method. For world cuisine and recipes, you can keep visiting Nomad Paradise.

Learn how to pack dirty clothes while traveling with these smart and efficient techniques. Dirty laundry in your luggage can lead to unwanted smells and stains. Knowing where to put these clothes and how to separate them from your clean ones isn’t as taxing as you may think.

How to pack dirty clothes when traveling (ten methods from the article).

Use a Spare Packing Cube

While packing cubes are used for clean clothes, reserving one for your dirty laundry is a smart way to keep clean and dirty clothes separate.

Choose a packing cube you can easily differentiate from your other packing cubes, preferably of a different color. That way, you won’t accidentally mix your fresh and used clothes when packing to leave.

Packing cubes also allow you to store your dirty laundry anywhere in your suitcase, as the cube provides a barrier between used and fresh clothes.

Once you get home and do laundry, you can simply wash the packing cube you used.

Use a Laundry Bag

There are many types of laundry bags for travel. Be sure to choose a sturdy and washable one, as some laundry bags can easily absorb odors.

On arrival, simply find a place to store or hang your laundry bag in your hotel, Airbnb, or apartment. Fill it with laundry throughout the week, and pack it just before you leave.

If you can, try to at least stack or fold your dirty laundry as you add it to the dirty laundry bag. That way, the laundry bag will be easier to pack in your suitcase.

Put Dirty Laundry in a Compression Bag

Using a compression bag or compression packing cube is a smart option when you’re tight on space. Compression bags work like resealable zipper storage bags, removing the air from the bag once sealed.

If you use a compression bag, pack it as if the clothes were clean. That way, you can maximize space and compactly store your dirty clothes.

Once you get home, you can simply unzip the bags and put the laundry in the washing machine. For once, you don’t need to worry about the creasing!

Store in a Dry Bag

Planning on spending plenty of time outdoors, at the beach, or in the water? A dry bag may be a great option for you to store dirty clothes.

As dry bags are designed to be 100% waterproof (see product specifications), a quality dry bag can lock in moisture and odors, stopping it from getting in or out.

A dry bag will take up more room in a suitcase, but for wet, moist, and stained clothes, this can provide an excellent barrier.

Simply roll your dirty clothes and place them in the bag. When it’s time to pack up, seal the top of the bag and roll it as best you can. Anticipate the room you’ll need in your suitcase by doing a trial packing run before you leave.

In a Spare Pillowcase

A smart travel hack is to use a spare pillowcase for dirty clothes. Within a pillowcase, you can stuff or fold plenty of dirty laundry. Once full, the pillowcase’s fold, while not fully odor-proof, will at least help seal in some of the odor.

Once you get home, you can simply wash your pillowcase with the rest of your dirty laundry. Your spare pillowcases can be reused for travel as often as you like.

The beauty of using one or more pillowcases, too, is how easily you can save space while packing them. This is an eco-friendly, smart, and inexpensive solution that utilizes material you should already have at home.

Use a Foldable Storage Box

If you like to keep clothes organized and your luggage doesn’t have multiple compartments, a foldable storage box could be a great idea to bring.

A foldable cloth storage box allows you to separate not only your dirty clothes, but also efficiently organize all your clothes.

This isn’t a quick solution, and you’ll need to ensure the storage box you find fits in your suitcase. Check the product dimensions first.

For a multipurpose solution that organizes everything in your suitcase, a foldable cloth storage box can make packing far more efficient.

Spray Clothes with Odor Spray

Whether you can separately pack your dirty laundry or not, packing an odor spray in your suitcase is a simple solution. This will help stop foul odors spreading to clean clothes, or seeping into the fabrics of your separators and luggage.

A small bottle of odor spray is lightweight to pack and inexpensive to buy.

Use the Zippered Compartment of the Suitcase or Bag

Many suitcases and luggage come with inline or outside zippered compartments. Often, these don’t get used. We either overlook these compartments or don’t want to compress our clothes too much.

If you roll, wrap, and spray dirty clothes, however, you can use these suitcase compartments to keep your dirty laundry separate from the rest of your clean clothing.

Fold a Beach Towel and Place It at the Bottom of the Suitcase

The idea here is to use the size and thickness of a beach towel as a barrier. Beach towels generally cover a large area and need to be folded to fit into a suitcase.

This makes such towels ideal for separating dirty laundry from clean clothes. Lay out your towel at the bottom of your suitcase, layer your dirty clothes, and fold the towel over the top.

You’ll wash the towel when you get home anyway. Beach towels absorb more moisture, and their fabric is generally thicker, making them an excellent separator within your suitcase.

Use Plastic Bags

Admittedly, this is not an eco-friendly option. However, if you have a plastic bag or two at your hotel or apartment from shopping and groceries, this at least puts them to good use.

If you leave plastic bags for the cleaners, they will simply end up in the trash. At least this way, you’re putting your spare plastic bags to good use.

Nothing is more annoying than mixing your dirty laundry with your clean items when on the road. I’m confident one or more of these tips will work wonders for you and help you travel with both clean and dirty laundry in an efficient way.

From Ziploc bags to portable laundry bags, there are plenty of methods in the article. Try them out on your next trip, and see what works best for you!

You Might Also Like to Read

Save and Pin for Later

Did you find this article useful and want to keep it for reference for when you next travel? Be sure to save it and pin it to one of your packing tips Pinterest boards so that you can find it again when you’re about to travel.

How to pack dirty clothes when traveling (ten methods from the article).
Author: Dale

Dale Johnson is a content creator from the UK. He has traveled full-time for over three years and to over 30 countries and writes on a number of travel-themed topics, including travel packing tips and the latest gear.

Leave a Comment