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Tips to Use Your Undergarments Wisely When Traveling

Whether you’re about to zip up your travel suitcase or already several days into your vacation, there comes a time when every traveler peers into their suitcase and realizes—uh-oh—they’re fresh out of clean underwear.

So, how to wash underwear while traveling?

There, there. Below, find everything you need to know about scrubbing those small squeaky clean while you’re on the move, plus some pro tips on underwear travel care.

First Things First: How Much Underwear Should You Pack?

It’s a tale as old as time: midway through your week-long camping trip, you ransack your duffel to discover you’ve blown through every clean pair of undies you have. You curse yourself for that spontaneous lake cannonball and sweaty sunrise hike—you were trying to get close to nature, but not that close.

That’s why we advise following the 2x rule of thumb for packing underwear for travel: For every day you’ll be gone, pack two pairs of underwear. 7 days backpacking? Pony up with 14 pairs. Off to a weekend wedding around your period? Pack 6 pairs just in case Auntie Flow visits early.

By planning ahead and making room for error, you’ll make washing clothes while traveling that much easier.

Washing Undies 101: How to Wash Undergarments While Traveling

Depending on where you find yourself, there are a few ways you can achieve clean undergarments while traveling:

  • Hotel laundry service – If you’re staying at a hotel, inquire before your trip as to whether or not they provide a laundry service. If they don’t, they’ll probably be able to recommend a laundromat close by—and some spectacular restaurants in the area to visit while you wait for your travel laundry.

  • Laundry wash bag – Laundry wash bags are fantastic for rugged and rural travel. Laundry bags let you wash your dirty clothes without a washing machine or water basin—just stick your dirty clothes in with fresh water and soap, scrub, rinse, and hang to dry.

  • That said, if you have a bit of laundry soap and a sink or a tub, you can hand-wash your normal or wedding underwear as well as the best of them.

    Here’s how to give your unmentionables a good clean, step by step:

    1. Plug the drain in the sink or tub with a sink stopper, so that it can fill up with warm water without draining.
    2. Fill the basin with lukewarm water. As it fills, add a quarter-sized dollop of liquid laundry detergent to the sink or tub.
    3. Turn off the tap when there’s enough warm water in the sink or tub to completely submerge your undergarments.
    4. Washing one or a few at a time, submerge your undergarments in the clean water. Gently agitate the garments in soapy water, especially in the crotch areas.
    5. After 3 to 4 minutes, drain the excess water. Turn the tap back on with cold water and rinse your travel clothes to remove all soapy residue.
    6. Once all the soap is gone, turn the tap off and gently squeeze out excess water from the fabric. Be mindful of squeezing but not stretch, as stretching can wear down your underwear’s elasticity.
    7. To avoid wrinkling, hang to dry over a shower rod, laundry rack, or an ironing board overnight.

    Pro tip: If you upgraded to the ocean view or have a private outdoor space, lay underwear flat in the sun to dry for a men’s or women's travel underwear quick dry hack.

    Choosing The Right Soap

    Before we wrap, you may be wondering: what kind of soap is best for washing underwear while traveling?

    Yes, you can go ahead and pour your at-home liquid detergent into a travel-sized soap bottle—but this can be messy and inconvenient. For undergarments, a gentle, hypoallergenic soap can work just as well. Plus, mild soaps help keep delicates delicate and those fun colors and patterns looking vibrant.

    If you’re earth-conscious, a dissolvable sheet detergent works well for travel, too. They take up minimal luggage space and won’t need to adhere to any liquid volume limitations with TSA.

    5 Tips on Underwear Care for Travel

    The best thing you can do for your underwear while traveling is to use, wash, and store them with care. Keeping your undies tidy will help keep the rest of your bag that way, too. Don’t know how to fold underwear for travel?

    Try out these tips to make sure both you and your skivvies travel in style:

    • Fold and pack your underwear for organized and crease-free transport
    • Pack an odor-proof laundry bag or two that double as bathing suit bags
    • Pack laundry soap in your carry-on to keep clean underwear on hand in a pinch
    • Bring some antibacterial fabric spray to eliminate odor without hand washing clothes
    • Opt for an undergarment bag for delicates and any special-occasion sets you’re bringing

    Have a Clean, Comfy Trip with Tommy John

    Now that you know how to keep your air underwear Marie Kondo-clean on your trip, let’s make sure you’re equipped with the underwear you need for every travel occasion.

    At Tommy John, we’re meticulous about comfort and obsessed with style, so we decided to create undergarments that offer both—no more choosing between daytime comfort and bedtime appeal.

    Our undergarments are made with soft, breathable textiles that keep you breezy all day and night. Best of all, every pair cleans like a dream—whether you hand wash or treat yourself to that hotel laundry service (you deserve it).


    Sources:

    1. The Scrubba. Here’s how to use it. https://thescrubba.com/pages/using-your-scrubba-english
    2. The LA Times. Here’s how Travel readers keep their clothes clean on the road. https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2019-09-02/readers-laundry-tips-clean-clothes-traveling