Wash Bags in Fashion

Got a holiday on the horizon? Check out our collection of ladies and men's wash bags, cosmetic cases and pouch bags to help keep you organised, whilst also brightening up your travel bag, handbag or bathroom. The perfect size for all your travel essentials, our stylish wash bags for women can help you keep everything you need in one convenient place when you’re on the move.

What is a Wash Bag?

A wash bag is a small, usually zipped or drawstring pouch there’s even a hanging Wash Bag option which is designed for you to keep all your toiletries in one place. A washbag enables you to store your bathroom toiletries or even make up separately and securely in an organised way, all your toiletries will be in your wash bag rather than just thrown in your suitcase. Other than organisation your wash bag also protects any toiletries as most would look for a waterproof wash bag which means should anything leak or break the spill will not go over everything else in your suitcase or bag. Hanging wash bags are often waterproof and allow the user to separate toiletries in your bathroom and some even keep their hanging wash bag inside their shower for convenience as such it would be imperative the wash bag is waterproof.

Wash bag organisation is easy, there are so many sizes that you could put a few small wash bags inside a larger wash bag, so you keep everything in categories. For example, in one small wash bag you would have all your eye products and then in another small wash bag you would keep all your lip products and then these small wash bags would fit inside your large wash bag.

Usual contents of an everyday wash bag include daily necessities such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, deodorant, moisturisers, shaving supplies, cotton wool, a hairbrush and tweezers. Basically, anything toiletry that you would use everyday.

When travelling or going away slightly longer you might choose a large Wash Bag and include plasters or any other basic medical supplies such as paracetamol and you may even place dry shampoo or more cosmetic supplies you wouldn’t need day to day.

A mens wash bag would feature slightly different items then a womens wash bag because they use different products. However the mens wash bag and the womens wash bag would be similar in terms of design.

A wash bag has many other names it goes by, including; a toiletry bag, dopp kit, toiletry kit, bathroom kit, cosmetic bag, make up bag, vanity case, overnight bag, toiletries bag, travel kit, body hygiene kit, etc. Although there are many names for it, all wash bag, toiletry bags essentially all mean the same thing and serve the same purpose, the difference in general is not the wash bag design but the contents which the user chooses to put in their toiletry bag. However, often cosmetic or make up bags will contain specific sections to fit brushes or even have a separate make up brush case for protection.

Where did Wash Bags originate?

Wash Bags are designed for transportation and to be used as organisation travel bags, yet, in the early days, people travelled very rarely and some not at all. It was only people who were extremely wealthy that travelled, and when they did, they took large amounts of luggage. At this time, there wasn’t much of a need or demand for the toiletry travel bags. However, in the late 20th century, as technology improve, more people started to travel, as more destinations were more accessible to get to, and one-night-stopovers also became more prevalent, which prompted the need for a transportable wash bag that could make the transportation of toiletries or make up easy.

The original term for the Wash Bag was a Dopp-Kit. The Dopp-Kit was designed by German immigrant and leather craftsman, Charles Doppelt. Doppelt was originally a luggage designer but in the 1900s realised the need for a smaller more specific pouch which would separate any toiletries from the more spacious luggage interiors. He patented this pouch the Dopp-Kit.

“Holds all necessary toilet articles and accessories. Opens wide, stays open for easy use. Closes snug and flat, taking up little space in your luggage”- (Dopp-Kit)

Charles Doppelt’s traditional toiletry case was an extremely innovated design, and was made to be easily accessible, but also compact. An essential element of design was that the washbag was waterproof so that the rest of the contents would be protected if anything leaked. The Dopp-Kit was originally marketed exclusively to men as mainly they would be the ones to travel and therefore there was more need for a mens wash bag. The wash bag became a popular gift for boys when they would enter adulthood and many toiletry bags were given as gifts to soldiers during World War 2.

Global Wash Bag Trends

In contrast to other bag and purse designs, the Wash Bag is a relatively new creation. As mentioned, the first wash bag was created by Chares Doppelt in the 19th century and he patented the term Dopp-Kit. The innovative element of his design was that he produced a waterproof wash bag to protect everything else in the users suitcase.

Originally mens Wash Bags were popular because they were the ones that travelled and therefore needed a separate pouch for their toiletries.

Gifting boys Wash Bags became popular because they were seen as a very manly present

If wasn’t until late in the 19th century than companies started creating women’s wash bags, rather these wash bags for women were marketed more as a cosmetic or make up bag. However, nowadays wash bags are gender neutral and people use them for much more than just travelling.

Different Types of Wash Bags

Mesh Wash Bag


A mesh wash bag is one which is made from a mesh material. The idea of it is so that you can see the contents of the bag without having to open it up. The main disadvantage of this bag is that it is not waterproof, meaning that if something leaks inside the bag, then it is likely that it will also leak out into the rest of the bag.

Laundry Wash Bag


This style of wash bag is used to for washing clothing rather than transporting toiletries. It is usually made from a mesh material and designed to protect delicate items from being damaged within the washing machine.

Hanging Wash Bag


A hanging wash bag is one that is designed to be hung on the back of a bathroom door. It has a hook at the top where it can be hung and then pouches all of the way down which store toiletries vertically. These wash bags can usually be rolled up to save space when transporting them around. They are very popular with backpackers, as they offer ease of access when suspended.

Roll Up Wash Bag


This type of wash bag is used to save storage space. It is usually made from a flexible and waterproof material, so that it can be rolled up and save space when putting in your luggage. The disadvantage of this is that it can only really accommodate smaller items, otherwise it will be difficult to roll the bag up.

Cosmetic Bag or Makeup Bag


There isn’t much difference at all between a cosmetic/makeup bag. It is usually a pouch with one open space where you can store all of your makeup. Some cosmetic bags will have multiple compartments inside to allow you to separate you makeup so that it can be easily found and accessed. Another great compartment of a cosmetic bag is that it sometimes has elastic sewn onto the side of the bag which means that you can slip your brushes into it so that they are held in one place and don’t get mixed up with the rest of your makeup.

Scrubba or Travel Wash Bag


This is NOT your typical wash bag. The ‘Scrubba Wash Bag’, is designed specifically for backpackers, as it allows you to wash your clothing whilst you are travelling or camping. It contains a washboard and is pocket-sized and allows you to save money, time and water.

How to choose the right Wash Bag for you

There are many important factors to take into consideration when deciding on what wash bag is best for you. The main elements to take into consideration is size, do you want a large wash bag or a small wash bag. Do you want a hanging wash bag for ease so you can see everything that’s inside whilst your showering? There are also wash bags that feature many internal compartments to help with organisation or if you just need to carry larger toiletries than maybe a large wash bag with a single open interior space would be better suited.

There is a style of wash bag which when laid flat is very long and has multiple pouches to put your items into, referred to as a hanging wash bag. The idea of it is that it rolls up when you need to compact it for travel, and when you aren’t travelling. However, when you reach your destination or just if you choose to have a hanging wash bag at home you can hang it up on the back of the door or even on a hook in the shower and easily access the items you have placed in the separate compartments. A hanging wash bag is particularly good for those that travel a lot due it’s space saving design and also allows for maximum organisation which for those backpack travellers who are jumping place to place will know that a hanging wash back means you don’t have to unpack your entire backpack each stop because every toiletry necessity is in one place.

Another bonus of the hanging toiletry bag is the multiple individual compartments which make then an excellent choice when you need to separate your items. Most wash bags, in particular large wash bags will only have one open compartment which you place all your individual toiletries into. Whereas cosmetic bags tend to come with multiple compartments that make separating your make up easy.

Choosing your wash bag material is very important. Leather wash bags are a good choice because it looks very stylish and leather is a durable material meaning it’ll last longer. However, the leather wash bag are more likely to be water-resistant than waterproof so it’s a good idea to look for a leather wash bag with a waterproof interior lining for maximum protection. Canvas wash bags or a nylon wash bag are also good options because like leather they are strong, functional but waterproof materials. Nylon wash bags and also plastic wash bags have an added bonus to them because should anything leak or spill or even just general dirt, they are easy to clean.

Think about where you are bringing your wash bag, are you having to pack it inside your hand luggage on a plane? If that is the case a clear wash bag is favourable because them the immigration agents are able to see everything you are carrying and that all your toiletries are under 100mls. If you decide to not choose a clear wash bag, you will then have to take all your toiletries out of the clear wash bag and place them inside a re-sealable plastic bag.

The size of your wash bag is possibly the most important feature to take into consideration when choosing a wash bag. If you know that you are going to need to fit a lot inside, then choose a large wash bag so that it is not overflowing and bursting at the zip. The average size of a wash bag is 25 x 22 x 9cm, which works well in most cases, as it fits the essentials, and fits nicely in your luggage.

What to pack in your Wash Bag

It can be hard to know what to pack in your wash bag, as it all depends on the length of time you are going to be away for and what you will need whilst you are travelling. We have put a list together of every toiletry that you may possibly need when travelling.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Face Cleanser
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturiser (If going somewhere hot, packing an SPF Moisturiser is a good idea)
  • Exfoliator
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Shaving Supplies (Razor, Shaving Cream)
  • Cotton Wool
  • Deodrant
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers
  • Hairbrush
  • Sanitary Items
  • Contact Lenses
  • Prescriptions


  • As well as carrying a wash bag with you, it is also beneficial to have a first-aid kit with you for emergencies. Many people like to pack their first aid kit into a wash bag, for the reason that it is compact and waterproof. We have put together a separate packing list for you if you choose to pack a first aid kit into a wash bag.
    • Plasters or Bandages
    • Eyedrops
    • Prescriptions
    • Pain Relief (Paracetamol or Ibuprofen)
    • Allergy Medicines
    • Multivitamins
    • Travel Sickness Pills
    • Sunburn Relief
    • Insect Repellent
    • Sanitizer and Sanitizer Wipes

What to pack in your Cosmetic Bag

When you are packing for your holiday, or night away, it is so easy to forget to pack apart of your makeup routine you desperately need whilst you are away. So instead of running around trying to find the nearest cosmetic store, follow the list we have created which will ensure your make up bag will stay fully packed and prepared going forward.

A good way to pack your cosmetic bag is in sections of what you will need, that way you can grab any eye make up easily.

For the Face:

  • Primer
  • Foundation
  • Bronzer
  • Concealer
  • Blusher
  • Highlighter


  • For the Eyes:
    • A specific eyeshadow primer
    • Eyedrops
    • Eyeshadow Palettes or individual Eyeshadows
    • Eyeliner (Liquid Eyeliner or Pencil Eyeliner)
    • Mascara
    • False Lashes
    • Eyebrow Gel or Eyebrow Pencil


    For your lips:
    • Lip Liner
    • Lipgloss or Lipstick


    Extras:
    • Setting Spray
    • Eyeshadow Brushers
    • Face Brushes
    • Eyelash Curler

Radley Wash Bags for Women

Leopard Oilskin - Small Zip-Top Pouch
The Leopard Oilskin small pouch is the perfect make up brush case. The size is compact but long and will comfortably feature your necessity make up brushes.

Leopard Oilskin - Large Zip Around Pouch
This ladies wash bag is entirely made from water-resistant material ensuring maximum protection. The large wash wash features a fun animal print on the exterior and a bright red interior lining. The womens wash bag has multiple internal pockets which ensure maximum organisation.

Radley Wash Bag for Men

Redchurch Street - Medium Zip-Top Wash Bag
The Redchurch Street mens wash bag features a canvas exterior with a water-resistant monochrome lining. This mens wash bag features plenty of interior space that will comfortably hold and protect all your daily essentials.

Cannon Street- Medium Zip-Top Wash Bag and Small Zip-Top Wash Bag
The cannon street mens wash bag design comes as either a medium or a small wash bag style. This mens wash bag has a water-resistant lining and a natural leather exterior. The leather wash bag is structured and features a wealth of internal storage space.