6 Cleaning Essentials to Take on Every Trip

published Jul 8, 2023
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Long before the COVID pandemic altered many people’s relationship with germs, bacteria, and hygiene in public, I grew up being extra cautious when it came to cleaning and disinfecting. (I like to think I inherited my mom’s eyes, height, and passion for cleaning.)

Traveling, in particular, was always a personal challenge, as I never felt any home rental, hotel, or plane was up to my cleanliness standards, and now that most COVID restrictions have been lifted, I have noticed that some cleaning protocols have regressed — so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

To feel comfortable when traveling, especially now that summer is in full swing, there are a few things I always pack to clean as I go. I also asked Jae’lynn Chaney, travel blogger and CEO of Jae Bae Productions, for her insight on the most useful cleaning essentials to bring when traveling, whether you’re going on a short road trip or a vacation overseas.

Soap Sheets

In addition to hand sanitizer, I always keep a pack of these paper soap sheets that completely dissolve in water so I can constantly keep my hands clean. Stepping into a plane bathroom only to find the hand soap dispenser empty is never a fun experience, so you’ll never regret having these sheets handy (plus, they take up almost no space and fit easily in your pocket or purse).

Handheld Vacuum

Traveling with your pup can make your trip joyous and fun, but their shedding can present a challenge to clean. If you don’t want to be that person leaving behind a ton of dog hair in your vacation rental, Chaney recommends this handheld vacuum

“It’s the ultimate, compact travel companion that effortlessly cleans up any mess on the go — from crumbs and dust to dog hair. This will allow you to focus on making unforgettable memories while keeping hygiene a top priority,” she says.

Travel-Size Disinfectant Spray

The one time I traveled in 2020, I noticed my vacation rental was equipped with plenty of cleaning supplies, particularly disinfectant sprays. Now, I have to make sure I pack a travel-sized disinfectant spray so I can make sure the surfaces I’m touching are thoroughly disinfected. This Lysol spray kills viruses, bacteria, mold, and mildew and is convenient for spraying in a rental car, on upholstered furniture, and on rugs and carpets. It also makes for a great deodorizer. 

UVC Light Sanitizer Wand

UVC lights are mostly used in sterile work environments, like hospitals, to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect. This UVC wand is portable, effective, and versatile enough to use on nearly any surface. Chaney describes this wand as having a portable sanitizing superhero by your side, and it certainly feels like magic as you wave it over your phone, a keyboard, video game controllers, clothes, and so much more to keep them germ-free.

Disinfectant Travel Wipes

These Clorox wipes are so reliable and efficient that I keep a pack in my car, purse, luggage, travel backpack, and even my nightstand. I especially love these when I’m on a trip and need to disinfect a restaurant table or chair, a grocery store cart (for those road trip snack runs), and hotel bathroom counters, toilet seats, and faucet handles.

Disposable Compressed Towels

If you’re like me, then you love trying street food when you’re traveling — even if it does get a little messy. These compact yet practical compressed towels only need a bit of water to expand so you can use it as a wet wipe to clean your face, hands, or other surfaces. They’re made of cotton so they can also be used as makeup remover wipes. Chaney highly recommends these for hygiene-conscious travelers and those who like to pack light.