Travel Life Hack: Washing/Drying Your Clothes in A Hotel Room


If you travel enough, you will inevitably find yourself washing your socks, underwear, and at least two or three t-shirts in a hotel bathroom sink.

As any experienced traveler will tell you, this is the easy part. Getting your clothes wet in the confines of a hotel room isn’t a problem.

I just realized that sounds kind of pervy.

The point remains: washing your clothes is a snap. It’s getting them dry that’s difficult.

(I should probably warn you now, this post has actual, useful travel advice. This may alarm and confuse my longtime readers. I’m sorry, you guys. I’ve got a terrible cold and didn’t sleep very well last night, so this entry is a lot shorter and more practical than any of us would like. In my defense, the advice I have to dispel is pretty obvious.)

After you’ve washed your clothes in the bathroom sink (I like to use equal parts hotel shampoo and cursing), squeeze all the water that you can out of them. If they are particularly sopping, roll them up in a towel and twist the dickens out of it. If your clothes are delicate, this will probably pull them out of shape and make them look like burlap bags. (Note: this is how most travel clothing is designed.)

If you are in Europe, odds are your hotel room will have a towel warmer. Turn that sucker on. Take your hopefully-now-just-a-little-damp clothes and drape them over the towel warmer, like so:

(Now the entire internet knows I have pink underwear.)

Try to get as much surface area of the clothes in contact with the heated pipe as possible. (Again, this totally sounds pervy.)

You’ll find that the heat will dry your clothes in just a few hours. If you can, move the items around after a couple of hours, so you reach all the damp spots. (Again, pervy.)

(This method means your clothes will be stiff and a little stretched out, but they will be clean. )

And if you aren’t in a room that has a towel warmer? Try using a hair dryer to remove some of the moisture and then hang your clothes to dry (do not hang damp clothing on a wooden hanger or it will stain). I find an ironing board works pretty well, as does the shower curtain rod.

Okay, all this … real world knowledge is exhausting. I need to take some DayQuil and lie down. Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled useless ramblings.



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  • Tom Ward

    One way I’ve used to wash clothes is by wearing them into the shower and soaping up; it’s not always easy to get out of a wet shirt, but it’s easier to rinse the soap out while in the shower than it is in a hotel wash basin.

  • Gemma

    If you have access to a microwave, you can dry cotton shirts – 30 seconds, shake it out, another 30 seconds, shake again, dry. (I’ve never been game to try with polyester)

  • Jill A. Smith

    Instead of twisting, do this: spread item of clothing out on the towel, roll bundle up so clothing has as much surface-area contact with the towel as you can. Then STAND on that towel-clothing burrito. Walk up and down it. Unwrap and hang. Your body weight can exert a lot more pressure than twisting can, and your clothes won’t get torqued out of shape.

  • SeeJulesTravel

    I like the practical advice now and then… It makes me happy when I learn I’m not the only one who uses hotel shampoo to wash underwear. 🙂

  • Tripventurist

    From my own experience, the hair dryer works fine. It will take a while to get your clothes drier. But at leats, they will be warm 😉 Much appreciated in the wintertime!

  • Trisha Velarmino

    Thank you, Geraldine! I’ve had my fair share of speedy washing and quick drying whilst traveling. It was especially difficult when I was going around South America since the hotels or hostels I stayed at aren’t all equipped with a towel warmer or a hair dryer. I had to squeeze the water out of my clothes and just hoped that it will be dry before I go off to another destination. This is an awesome tip though for once I go back to Europe!