How To Keep Your Clothes Fresh While Traveling

Becca Marsh
5 Minutes Read

Packing a laundry bag while traveling could save your clean clothes from mixing with dirty ones.

If you are planning on traveling or are dreaming of the day you can explore the world, you might have a few questions before leaving.

A common one amongst backpackers is, “how do I keep my clothes fresh if I am always on the go?”

Here are some top tips on how to stay fresh while traveling.

Wash your clothes at EVERY opportunity, even in the shower!

Man singing in the shower

Now you may think that is obvious when traveling; you must do laundry as often as possible!

But when you’re traveling, this isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

Depending on what part of the world you’re heading to, your access to doing laundry may vary, and sometimes priorities change, and that party you were invited to sounds more fun than staying in and doing laundry.

Some countries have water shortages which might make it difficult to do laundry on the fly, so a backup to keep your clothes clean is to wash them with you in the shower!

You may think this sounds weird, so alternatively, you can wash them in a sink, just like the good old days when people wash by their clothes by hand!

In this modern age, we sometimes forget that laundry used to be done by hand, and the results will leave your clothes just as clean as when they come out of the washing machine.

It would be best if you had a natural bar of soap that is environmentally friendly and can be used anywhere.

Alternatively, you can use whatever shower gel or soap you would typically use, but make sure only to use it in a shower or sink with adequate drainage so it doesn’t pollute local water supplies.

Natural water washing is a good idea if you do it right.

A group of people outdoors

Alternatively, if you find yourself in the wild or hiking in the jungle, if there is a body of water, you can collect some to do laundry.

Only use natural soaps for this, as it can harm wildlife.

Remember, never do laundry or use soap directly in a natural body of water!

Make sure you always use a bucket or a wash bag to the side and pour it out on land so it can filter through.

Use laundry bags.

A basket of laundry at a laundromat

This one might be another no-brainer, but people still forget!

Carrying a laundry bag in your backpack might be just another thing to add to your long list, but it’ll help you in the long run!

You can separate clothes within your backpack, so if you have some super-smelly items and don’t have time to wash them, they won’t contaminate the rest of your clothes.

Wet wipes are a must!

A person getting a piece of wet wipe

You may associate wet wipes with cleaning babies’ butts, but they are much more valuable when traveling.

Whether you are on a short trip, like a long weekend or a yearlong backpacking adventure, wet wipes will be your best friend.

If you spill something on yourself but don’t have the time to wash it or access a laundromat, reach out for a wet wipe!

Generally, most small spills and splats would come off with a wet wipe which means you can still feel fresh even if you spill dinner on yourself.

Make sure to look out for biodegradable wet wipes, as not all countries have the infrastructure to dispose of wet wipes properly.

Perfumes can be used on more than just your skin.

A person spraying perfume on their wrist

Whether you buy top-end perfumes and colognes or prefer more natural homemade oil mists, everyone loves a bit of a scent.

Even if you prefer not to wear perfume, you should carry a small bottle with you or, if you prefer, have an essential oil.

They can be used to freshen up the smell of clothes when they have been sitting around in a damp cupboard or your travel bag.

When your clothes have a little musk, spray or douse a little oil on your garment, paying attention to crucial sweat areas such as the armpits.

This will help your clothes smell fresh even if you haven’t washed them in a little while.

Although it does not clean them, it certainly helps with the smell.

If you prefer to make your mists or sprays, then oils such as lavender, peppermint, and tea tree can easily be made into a fountain.

Just put a few drops in a spray bottle and fill it with water, and then you have a natural mist that won’t damage your clothes or the environment and will smell wonderful.

Hang your clothes out.

Laundry hung dry outside

Make sure to get your clothes out of your bag whenever you get the chance and let them air for a little while.

It might seem pointless, but over time, if your clothes sit in a dusty, dirty, and smelly backpack, they will gradually rub off on your clothes.

Whenever you get to a hostel or place to stay, get them out and let them air.

This is also an excellent opportunity to freshen your clothes by spraying a little mist.

Bring a piece of string to create a clothesline wherever you go.

Avoid packing damp clothes at all costs.

Person holding stinky clothes

Never pack clothes away when they are damp. It is a must, even if you are moving on to a new place and must pack up.

You can also attach the wet clothes outside your pack to dry naturally.

When you pack things damp, mold can grow if they are not aired, and a musty aroma will begin to take over your bag!


The next time you are on the road or planning a backpacking trip, make sure to factor in time for cleaning your clothes.

Or, if you don’t want to spend any time washing them, then take note of these top tips to help you stay fresh on the go.

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About The Author

Becca Marsh
Becca Marsh

Becca Marsh is a travel enthusiast and a lover of nature. She is the co-founder of Global Convoy, a travel production company. When she is not filming, she enjoys writing about culture and travel.

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