How to Clean, Refresh & Renew Your Toiletry Kit


Written by Therese Iknoian on

Every step of traveling is a thrill for Therese Iknoian. From dreaming and planning, to seeking local gems unseen by most travelers, to finding time to get to know locals, all in search of a great story for the HI Travel Tales blog she runs with her husband.



If you’re not traveling or unable to travel at the moment, it’s the perfect time to refill, reorganize and clean your travel toiletry kit. Follow these easy steps to clean your toiletry bag in preparation for future travel.


When you’re not traveling, or if you’re between trips, you can take advantage of the time to prep and plan for future travel, from researching bucket list destinations and shopping to, yes, cleaning. Now is the perfect time to clean your toiletry bag, as well as to give it a once-over to refresh, refill, reorganize, and renew.

I keep a pre-packed toiletry kit that’s ready to go at all times, and you should too. Who wants to run around to prep a kit when a travel opportunity comes up? Nope, not me. And not you! Downtime between trips is really the ideal time to take a hard look at that kit. Perhaps it has become bloated from tossing in a few extra hotel samples, something leaked once and it’s still a little grimy or sticky in a corner, or you used up your emergency bandages and haven’t replaced them. Now’s the time to take care of it all so you’re ready to travel again!


Empty and Clean Your Toiletry Kit

Be Mr. or Ms. Clean as your initial step.

  1. First thing you’ll want to do is empty everything out that’s in your toiletry kit. You might actually be surprised what you find—or don’t find. Just get it all out and onto the table.
  2. Now that the bag is empty, take it outside and shake out all the compartments and pockets, turning it inside out if it’s the kind of bag that can do that. Pick out any bits of paper, dried lotion, or soap that may be stuck in a corner or on the bag.
  3. Next, hand wash the bag using cool water and a gentle soap. Some bags may be able to go into a washing machine (check the label), but a quick dip and soak by hand works pretty well, too.
  4. Once de-crudded and washed, hang it out to dry.


Refresh and Refill Your Toiletry Bag’s Contents

Now, take a look at the stack of goodies you emptied out so you can start refreshing and refilling your toiletry bag.

  1. Sort out any bottles or containers and wipe them off well, focusing on any build-up under a screw top that may keep it from sealing properly.
  2. If something is half-empty, like a shampoo bottle, refill it. If you have some hard plastic containers, consider replacing them now with anti-leak, soft silicone bottles so you can see the contents, plus the pliable bottles will better adapt to a kit’s size and shape.
  3. Sort through any medications or first-aid supplies that may need refreshing, refilling, or updating. Consider packing your first-aid kit separately, using a packing sack.
  4. Look closely at any implements, like nail clippers or tweezers, to ensure they are still working properly.
  5. Make sure you actually have everything you need but be smart about packing a kit and leave home full-sized containers or too many just-in-case products.


Repack Your Clean Bag!

Once your old toiletry kit is dry (or your new one has arrived!), it’s time to repack it so you will be ready to go when you can travel again.

  1. Prior to refilling it, organize items by category or type: All your hair or shower supplies in one stack, dry supplies like medications or bandages in another, perhaps any other personal care products like lotions or makeup in another.
  2. Analyze how much you have of each and organize the items by use in your kit so they are easy to grab at the same time once packed. Consider using a small packing sack (or snack-sized plastic zipper baggies) to keep small items from floating around, like implements or bandages, or to keep together products you use at the same time, like face lotions, makeup or shaving supplies. Or consider a new kit for great organization, either one that has plenty of pockets and hangs or one with side pockets for travelers with slightly fewer toiletries.
  3. Now you’re ready to pack up your clean, fresh and refilled toiletry kit! Place everything in the bag, compartment by compartment, then zip it closed and stash it where you keep your luggage.


With your refreshed, refilled, clean toiletry kit ready to go, simply use the same steps after trips to keep your kit clean.


Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

How to Pack the Perfect Toiletry Bag

12 Packing Tips for 10 Days in a Carry On

Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist