Clothes Refreshing Spray for the Desperate Traveller

I am the queen of packing light. Several years back I spent three whirlwind weeks in Europe, and I managed to cram all three weeks of clothes (and everything else) into a single backpack and a smallish messenger bag. I’m about to attempt that again, and somehow I’m actually looking forward to it.

Packing this way is a skill I’ve cultivated over the years, slowly distilling my travel belongings down to the barest necessities. There are a number of tricks to the trade: minimizing the number of socks needed by wearing sandals (unless it’s raining), packing clothes that don’t take up too much space, hand washing laundry in sinks as needed, etc.

But one of my greatest tricks is this clothes refreshing spray. A quick spritz and a little air will make the need for that last tip significantly less frequent. It’s essentially like hand sanitizer for your clothes, and it makes traveling with a limited wardrobe infinitely more bearable.

To make things even better, it’s insanely easy to make. The recipe can also be scaled up or down to make as much or as little as you need.


  • 90% (or higher) isopropyl alcohol
  • 20-30 drops essential oil of choice (Clean/fresh smelling oils are good; I used a blend of tea tree, lemon, and eucalyptus)
  • 1 oz spritz bottle (adjust essential oils as needed if using a different size)

To make, add the essential oils to your bottle, top off with rubbing alcohol, cap, and shake to combine.

Note: If you do not use 90% rubbing alcohol (or a higher percentage), your essential oils will not fully dissolve. Thankfully 70% alcohol (which is fairly standard) is plenty effective on odor causing germs, so if that’s all you have or if you need something even easier than the recipe above, plain rubbing alcohol in a spritz bottle will serve you pretty well too.

To use, lightly spray any less than fresh smelling areas of your clothes and allow to air dry completely before wearing. That’s it! Go forth and be clean, my wandering friends!


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