Five tips to keep your luggage smelling fresh on the road

By John Walton, May 11 2012
Five tips to keep your luggage smelling fresh on the road

We've all been there -- that point halfway through a business trip where there's something in your travel bag that's making everything in it smell a little less than crispy fresh.

It's even more disheartening to pack away clothes straight from the hotel laundry (and at hotel laundry prices, no less) only to have them coming out smelling like you've worn them through a particularly hot day in Bangkok.

5 ways to keep luggage smelling fresh

So here are a few tried and tested ways to keep your baggage from getting too feral.

1. Use the soap-in-a-sock trick

You'll need a thick, old, clean sock if you're starting from home, or a pair of clean socks will do if you're halfway through the trip.

Pop a small bar of scented soap (not that we're suggesting that you filch a bar you like from a hotel, but that would work) inside the folded-up socks so it can't fall out.

The scented soap will freshen everything up, and the sock stops bits of soap from rubbing all over everything.

2. Air out your luggage

Empty out your bag entirely at some point over the trip.

You might find that one lonely sock that's been festering since your last Singapore run, but even if you don't find a particularly stinky culprit, it's useful to get the air moving.

This is also a good opportunity to hang shirts and suits in a steamy bathroom to let wrinkles drop out. Adding one of those little bottles of body wash or shampoo to a sink full of hot water can get the steam -- and thus your clothes -- smelling a little fresher too.

3. Give it a spray of deodorant

Even if you don't have time to air out your luggage before giving it a good waft of aerosol deodorant, a couple of quick sprays can take away the worst of the scent.

Don't go overboard, though -- you'll end up smelling like a medicine cabinet -- and make sure that your deodorant spray isn't the type that leaves white marks.

4. Pop a dryer sheet in your luggage

If you have a tumble dryer at home, pop a dryer sheet in your luggage before you leave home (you know, the ones that you throw in the tumble dryer instead of using fabric softener).

Your things will smell of laundry, and you can even actually use the dryer sheet if you end up in a hotel or serviced apartment with laundry facilities -- they tend to provide detergent powder but not fabric softener.

5. Segregate your belongings with plastic bags

Have you narrowed down the culprit to something that's dry clean only, but you don't have time to get it cleaned? Or do you just not want to take the chance of all your luggage smelling a little unwashed?

Consider separating your various types of clothing into a series of large plastic bags. The bigger zip-lock type are useful here, but anything plastic and airtight is handy.

As an added bonus, you'll also be able to use the bags to squash the air out of clothes, gaining a little bit of packing room so you can squeeze in that last-minute purchase for the other half back home.

Your top luggage tips

Do you have a secret to fresher-smelling luggage? Do you use those sachets, sprays, or something else? Share your knowledge with fellow AusBT readers in the comments box below!

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

16 Aug 2011

Total posts 9

Febreeze or a boutique linen spray (example from Dusk or Jo Malone) makes for a nice smell in luggage.

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