Doing Your Laundry in Europe

There’s basically four ways of getting your laundry done while you’re on your European journey.  If you are renting an apartment, do it in your own washer/dryer.  If you have other accommodations, there’s washing in the sink, going to a local Laundromat, or having the hotel laundry service take care of it.  Be sure to bring a few supplies depending on what your laundry plan requires.

Apartment washer/dryer:

This is one of the biggest advantages of renting an apartment for your family while in Europe.  You have the conveniences of home and this one is major.  Be sure when renting, that laundry facilities are on the list of amenities!  I bring a small box of Tide as a starter and the 10-sheet travel pack of dryer sheets just to be prepared.  Often the apartment has supplies or you can buy a small quantity in a shop.  Apartment-size washer/dryer combos are common.  They are often found in the kitchen and don’t hold much.  You need to plan on small loads that take a long time. I usually wash as many dirty clothes as possible a day or two before departing so to have fresh clothes in the suitcase.  Often there will also be an iron/ironing board.  It also allows you pack less as you know you’ll be able to wash everything between destinations.  Europeans have a number of folding racks for drying.  Be considerate and don’t dry dripping items on floors or rugs!  A lifesaver if you have kids, only a few towels or it’s really hot and you need freshening up.

Washing in the sink:

This works well if you think ahead what clothes will lend themselves best to this technique.  Clothes should smooth out easily.  Bring three things: a flat drain cover, the elastic rubber clothes line (see Marketplace) and some small packets of detergent.  Like above, be considerate where you dry your clothes so you don’t damage your accommodations.  This method works best if it’s just me alone but with kids, not my favorite.  Be sure to do your washing allowing enough time to dry! The clotheslines are terrific as your weave your item between the strands.  They really work!  Travel towels (see Marketplace) can help you wring out more water so items dry more quickly.  The extra-large size towels don’t take much packing space and can be very handy depending on your needs.

Laundromat:

These look much like the Laundromats at home.  Just be sure you go in with coins and are prepared to stay close by.  Some Laundromats advertise wifi.  This is a good family solution.  Not a great use of time but clean clothes on the road feel so great!

Hotel Service:

This is the most expensive option.  Very nice to receive back professionally cleaned clothes.  Great for long pants or shirts you want ironed!  Just be sure you allow enough time for them to get done!