A Different Way to do Laundry in a Hotel Room Sink

When traveling for multiple weeks, I hand-wash items in my hotel sink. Lingerie, socks, workout clothes, under-jacket camisoles …. Just about anything that’s washable might get washed so I can wear it again. This keeps my packing down to a minimum and I don’t get an enormous dry cleaning bill at the end of my stay.

I use my hotel room’s sink to do this hand-washing and it usually works quite well. I’ve heard of people using the hotel coffee pot to do their hand-washing of lingerie items, but that’s disgusting! But I actually had that very thought today. Why?

Because the sink had no way to hold the water. The stopper was missing!

a close-up of a faucet

Yes, I could ask the hotel to fix this but today is Sunday. I learned last Sunday in this same hotel when I had a burned out light bulb that the maintenance crew is off for the weekend.

So … I had no sink stopper and I wasn’t going to revert to the coffee pot (actually, it’s a large pot for hot water as I am in Europe) and there is no ice bucket in the room either (little plastic trays are available at the ice machine). My room only has a shower, so using a bathtub isn’t an option either. Hmmm, what to do?

Ah ha! I did do some shopping this week and have plastic shopping bags. This should work!

I filled up a shopping bag with warm water and laundry soap (hotel shower gel or shampoo works ok too), added my washables and voila! A mini wash-machine!

a plastic bag in a sink

This worked great! I sloshed my clothes around to give them a decent wash, drained the “wash machine,” then rinsed and hung everything. If I hadn’t had the shopping bag, the plastic dry cleaner bag would have also worked.

Keep this in mind if you ever need to hand wash a few items and the sink stopper isn’t holding the water.


Order now! Business Travel Success…How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel With Confidence! FREE Ultimate Travel Resource included!




Similar Posts


  1. In some of my past travels, I have tied a knot in the bag and shoved it in the drain.

  2. Hi Wendy — Thanks for the tip! I was looking for some plastic or something to cover up the little holes in the drain when I realized the plastic bag would do perfectly. It is amazing what creative ideas we need to come up with on the road!

  3. You can also put a plastic grocery bag in the small trash can in the bathroom and fill it with water. Then just put the trash can in the bathtub and you can slosh the clothing around without getting the soapy water everywhere. Keeps the sink free for other things too.

  4. I like that idea of putting the trash can inside the tub — that’ll keep the mess down and make it easy to get rid of the water when done. Thanks!

  5. People who use items that was meant for drinking, eating or other things to clean should be jailed. Seriously, how selfish and mentally ill can ppl be to use things like coffee pot to clean???? I hope ppl like that gets terminally ill.

  6. I travel with a 2 gallon ziploc for this very purpose. Plus the ziploc enables you to move the bag if something needs to soak and you don’t want to have your sink occupied.

  7. Save your money and support a dirty filthy culture.
    totally unacceptable. It’s amazing how fast US is turning into a third world country.

  8. I carry a few oversized ZipLock (the ones they sell for sports goods). I pack undies and socks in one, which makes it easy to pack/unpack at the hotel. I use the other to do wash. When closed it is water tight. Easy to mash around to simulate an agitator, then rinse/repeat.

  9. Ha! What an awesome idea. I would probably double bag it from the top and make it air tight then shake it up squish it around and let it sit. Smart!

  10. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one washing clothes in the hotel sink :). I always wondered what the cleaning ladies think when they see my underwear hanging around the bathroom and t-shirts/ shirts drying on hangers hanging on door knobs!

  11. If you wad up some toilet paper and put it in the sink, it also completely stops the water from draining. Give it a shot!

  12. I bought a flat rubber circular drain stopper that is available at most hardware stores for a minimal price. It’s about 5″ in diameter, takes up no room in a suitcase and makes doing laundry in a sink quite simple.

  13. I’m going to use the Ziploc bag idea I figure as it fills with dirt y laundry I’ll know when to do my wash

  14. A little piece of clingwrap from your food purchase. Put in in hole and put some coins to weigh it down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *