We've seen it before: you get a toiletry bag for your next adventure and pack it full of nifty, travel-size products. You get on the plane, fly across the world, and then ... wait ... "How did my shampoo explode all over the place?!" You ask yourself as you look down at the mess in your toiletries pack — the one you're now responsible for cleaning up — and let out a deep, tired sigh.
How to Clean A Toiletry Bag in 3 Easy Steps
If you resisted the urge to toss your toiletry kit in the washer, congratulations! You get a thousand brownie points for doing both its zippers and the washing machine a big favor.
Of course, this means that to get your toiletry bag looking brand spanking new, you'll need to roll up your sleeves and do some hand washing before your next trip. That's how the pros do it, so let's follow suit and take a look at how to clean a toiletry bag in three easy steps.
Step 1: Empty and Scoop
The first thing you want to do is unzip your toiletry bag and empty all of its contents into a sink or tub. This will make it a lot easier to clean or rinse the various bottles and tubes later.
Next, scoop out the clumps of shampoo, conditioner, or lotion with a spoon or something similar. You can also use a dry hand towel, but try not to spread the mess around too much. Otherwise, you'll make it harder on yourself and spend more time (and water) cleaning up the mess.
Last, before you lather up and spot clean your bag, use a dry toothbrush or toothpick to clean or pick out any bits of dried lotion or soap that may be stuck in the corners of the bag.
Step 2: Lather and Spot Clean
We recommend spot cleaning your toiletry bag instead of a full-on wash for a couple of reasons. First, it requires less scrubbing than full-on cleaning, which minimizes how much wear and tear you put on the bag. Second, spot cleaning allows your toiletry kit to dry faster than if you were to rinse it or submerge it in water.
To spot clean your toiletry kit, start by adding a drop or two of hand soap to a damp washcloth. A hand soap that foams right out the gate is ideal (looking at you, Method!), as it requires less scrubbing to lather up. If you don't have access to quick-foaming hand soap, a regular one will do the trick. Just lather up first by rubbing the soap with your hands and then placing the lather on the spots in the bag you want to clean.
Next, grab the damp washcloth or hand towel and use it to gently rub the soap in a circular motion. If you have some towel options from which to choose, we recommend microfiber as it's highly absorbent, quick to dry, and barely leaves any lint behind.
Whatever you do, avoid using laundry detergent and paper towels. Some detergents are super concentrated, which means that it'll take a lot of water and scrubbing to rinse them off. Paper towels, meanwhile, are too flimsy and can easily fall apart as you scrub, leaving paper fluff all over your toiletry kit (which is super annoying).
Step 3: Dry and Go
Now that you've spot cleaned your toiletry kit and rinsed your travel-size products in the sink, it's time to let everything dry.
We recommend laying your toiletry bag flat on a towel so that all parts of it dry quickly, but you could also hang it on a hook in a dry room. At Gravel, our Explorer SLIM and Explorer PLUS bags have a stowaway adjustable strap and aluminum G-hook, which makes hanging it easy peasy.
If you're really in a rush, use a blow dryer on a low setting to get it mostly dry. Just be careful not to overheat the bag as it could cause more wear and tear to its materials.
And there you have it — how to clean a toiletry bag in three easy steps. That wasn't so bad, was it?
Now you can pack up all your toiletries and keep the adventure going. And maybe the next time your travel-size shampoo explodes in your toiletry kit — although we seriously hope it doesn't — you can breathe easy knowing exactly what to do.