Quick Packing Tip: Take an UNSCENTED trash bag for laundry

a yellow box with a picture of a basketFor a typical four day business trip, I won’t worry about a laundry bag. I just assume that I will wear all of my clothes, and they will all need to be washed when I get home. For those longer trips, however, it’s a different story. Once I get home, it helps me so much to have my clean clothes separated from my dirty clothes. Grabbing a bag full of dirty clothes and taking it to the washer is much easier than sorting through an entire suitcase full of clothes. A lot of people use those plastic bags that hotels give you, and that’s a good option if you need it. But I have found that a simple trash bag from home seems to pack better. Maybe it’s because the plastic is thinner? Whatever the reason, on longer trips I always try to take a plastic garbage bag for my laundry.  This is especially true if the Home Warrior will be with me, as he seems to go through clothes more quickly than I do.

A word of caution: make sure the trash bag you take is unscented. I don’t know how it happened, but on a trip a few years ago I accidentally grabbed a scented bag (which I didn’t even know we had in our house). It made everything in my suitcase smell like fake flowers, and I was freaked that my clothes wouldn’t air out in time for my meetings. Luckily it turned out fine, but I vowed to make sure to only bring unscented bags from then on.

Readers, do you usually bring a bag for laundry?



  1. I don’t bring a laundry bag when traveling out of a suitcase, I just put all the dirty stuff on 1 side, and wash when I get home.

    I have made your same mistake camping though. I grabbed a bag to haul out trash when backpacking one time. That cloying scented smell hung around me and my clothes the whole trip. It gives me a headache.

  2. If we are going on a family vacation (2 kids) for a week or so, I bring two bags and leave them in the hotel closet for everyone to put their laundry in the “light” and “dark” bags, and then when we get home it is so much easier to do family laundry that way (plus we just shove them in a suitcase and put clean stuff in a different one).

  3. I usually bring a plastic bag with me so I can separate the dirty and clean clothes. However, if I forget to bring one I just use the laundry bags that the hotels provide.

  4. I usually just use the plastic bag hanging in the closet which usually turns into a cat litter bag when i get home. HA! I always forget to bring plastic bag from home. =^..^=

  5. I prefer a non-white pillowcase. I’m afraid that a trash bag would be thrown out by housekeeping and that a solid white pillowcase would be mistaken for hotel’s linens. Plus, it’s eco-friendly!

  6. I usually have one or two trash bags in my suitcase, since they are useful for many things besides laundry. For the same reason, I usually have a few quart or gallon sized ziploc bags stashed in a pocket or corner of a bag.

  7. i keep regular plastic bags in my suitcase for all sorts of things: dirty clothes, shoes, wet items… anything that i don’t need mixing with the clean stuff.

  8. I stopped carrying laundry bags – I found that under most circumstances EVERYTHING had to be washed when I got home. I’ve been taking more active vacations lately. Under most circumstances I can pack everything I need into a 21″ carry on (for up to 10 days). Once I get home, toss it all in the washer and don’t look back.

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