Doing laundry on the road is one of the necessities of light, one-bag travel. You don’t need ten changes of underwear for a ten-day trip; you can get by with three. But, you must use synthetics to successfully wash and dry overnight in the hotel room or hostel. Therein lies the problem: Synthetics get stinky fast. One solution is to pay $18-$35 for high-tech underclothing which has expensive fabric with built-in anti-microbial (and, hence, anti-odor) properties.
I have discovered another, cheaper way: Sink wash your garden-variety synthetic (polyester/nylon) undies using my odor-fighting concoction. Here’s how you do it. Fill the sink about half way with luke warm water. Mix in a couple of glugs of clear Softsoap antibacterial handsoap and a couple of spritzes of Febreze Anti-Microbial. Handwash the undies, then rinse them out quickly - not too aggressively. Apparently enough of the anti-bacterial and anti-microbial stuff stays in the fabric to make it perform like the $25 hi-tech variety. My $10 Champions now finish a sweaty day as sweetly as my more-expensive Terramar briefs (with Visaendurance wonder fabric). The hi-tech fabrics are probably still a little better, and they are definitely still preferable for backpackers who may have nothing more than a creek to wash in or who want to stick with green, biodegradeable detergents. But, for the cost-conscious light traveler my method may be just the ticket. This method works equally well for briefs or undershirts. I’ve used it on my ExOfficio Air Strip shirt, too.
I get this stuff through the carryon screeners by filling two 2-ounce hand sanitizer bottlew with the soap and a 2-ounce spray bottle (half-full) with the Febreze. This is enough for ten days or so. I don’t mix it together until it hits the sink.
I haven’t been using this concoction long. Please let me know how it works for you. Your input may result in an even better Stinkfighter 2.0,
DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee that this method will not harm or shorten the working life of some garments, but I have no reason to believe that the method is detrimental to any fabrics or finishes.