Just when we think we could keep traveling forever, it happens: we run out of clean clothes. Shopping for a new, clean outfit is our preferred option, but that can get very expensive very quickly. The alternative? We have to do laundry. Not fun, but an easy chore to tackle with the Scrubba Washbag!
Laundry Day On the Road
One of the best ways to save time and money on the road is to travel with minimal luggage. The trade off is a minimalist wardrobe. Yes, it’s great to have just your backpack to worry about, but after a few days, you need something clean to wear. You’re going to have to wash some clothes.
Traditionally, our options have not been altogether great:
- Hotel Laundry Service
- Provided you’re staying in a hotel, you can avail yourself of that handy laundry bag they provide. At the same time, you’ll reduce your travel load by dropping some cash. Even at “budget” hotels, laundering an outfit – a pair of jeans, shirt, and under-garments – can easily top $20, especially (for some reason) if you’re a woman and need to wash a dress.
- Accommodations with Washers
- We have been known to include laundry facilities in our Must Have list of amenities. We have also been frustrated by the number of hotels and BnBs that don’t have a guest laundry option. The odds are definitely better if you’re staying in an AirBNB rental, Time Share unit, or guest home that’s intended for extended stays.
- Find a Laundromat
- Call us weirdos, but we actually like this option because it forces us to explore town, and gives us a chance to meet the locals. What we don’t like is having to cash in our stash of quarters, and trade a few hours of prime travel time to sit waiting for our clothes to finish.
- The Hotel/Hostel Sink
- While this option isn’t bad if you just need to wash out a few light garments, it can get messy. It’s also hard to get clothes really clean. The sink works in a pinch, but it’s our least favorite way to spend time in a hotel.
- Campground Facilities
- When you’re hiking and camping, you are dependent on campground facilities. No, you won’t find a laundromat at a remote Park Service campground and, frankly, you wouldn’t want to anyway. We’re talking about places like KOAs, Good Sams, and the many privately-owned campgrounds around the world that cater to campers, whether in a tent or an RV. Most will have laundry facilities you can use; sometimes it’s even included in your space rental.
Another Laundry Solution: The Scrubba Washbag
Scrubba at a Glance
What: Portable wash bag
Where: Available at TheScrubba.com and on Amazon (our link).
Rating: The Scrubba Washbag has a 4-Star rating on Amazon. The Tactical version (in Coyote Brown instead of neon green) has a 5-Star rating.
Summary: Easy to use, lightweight dry-bag type wash back able to handle small loads on the go with a few liters of water (or less), and a few minutes of time.
Favorite Feature: It’s a multi-tasker. The Scrubba Washbag doubles as a dry-bag, ice-bag, and more!
Enter the Scrubba Washbag, an ingenious laundry solution to keep your clothes clean, and your hands – and bathroom – dry, without costing a fortune, needing a heavy roll of quarters, or taking all day. As you’ll see below, it’s small and lightweight, meaning it’s very packable. So we tucked the Scrubba in our bags on a recent trip to find out if it’s as easy to use as it seems, and how well it cleans.
How the Scrubba Washbag Works
Think about a dry bag, because that’s exactly what the Scrubba Washbag looks like: a bright green dry bag with a window, and what can only be described as “a knobby bit.”
It kind of makes sense. A dry bag keeps water out. The first requirement for a wash bag is to keep water in, and the dry bag design accomplishes that. Secondly, you need something to encourage dirt to move on. You’ll notice the “knobby bit” bears a striking resemblance to an old-fashioned washboard. Rubbing clothes against it helps soap and water penetrate the fabric for a good clean.
Finally, you need something to agitate your laundry. A washing machine has bumps and grooves on the inside to help move your clothes and water around. With the Scrubba Washbag, we provide the agitation by pressing and squeezing the laundry in the bag, much like kneading bread. According to the instructions, a few minutes is all you need.
Four Steps to Clean Clothes
When you think about doing laundry at home, it’s really four steps: Put clothes and soap in washer, add water, swish around a bit, then empty the water. The Scrubba Washbag works exactly the same way. Just in case you somehow forget, though, instructions are printed right on the bag.
One: Add Clothes
You’re not going to get a family load of washing done in the Scrubba. At least, not all in one go. The makers suggest a few articles of clothing at a time. We found that a whole outfit of jeans, socks and undies, and a shirt or two will fit, but it’s hard to manage. We had better results washing jeans separately because of the heavy fabric.
Liquid soap designed for cold water is our go-to detergent for most of our laundry, and that works well in the Scrubba Washbag. Laundry pods and dry soaps also work, but you’ll need to add a little more time and agitation to let them dissolve, especially in cold water. Of course, like most travelers, you’ve probably learned that any soap will work in a pinch.
Two: Add Water
According to the instructions, you should add as much as three liters of water. In reality, you just need enough water to cover the clothes with a little room to spare. The little window lets you keep an eye on the water level as you fill the Scrubba Washbag, and there are handy guidelines to let you know when you’ve got enough water.
Filling is simple, thanks to the wide opening on the Scrubba Washbag. But, before you add water, check to make sure the valve is closed. Otherwise, you’re going to have water everywhere. We have found it’s easiest to fill the Scrubba Washbag in the tub or shower, since it’s often too tall for a sink faucet to fill easily.
Once filled, simply roll the top down a few times to seal the Scrubba, and fasten the clips. There will be some air trapped inside; open the valve just enough to squeeze out any air, and then twist it tightly closed. Lay the Scrubba Washbag flat, with the valve and window facing up, and you’re ready to get to work.
The instructions on the Scrubba Washbag just say to press the bag. You can do that, but remember that the more you squish your clothes around in that soapy water, the cleaner they’ll get. We found it most effective when the Scrubba lies flat with the scrubbing board (that’s the knobby bit) on the bottom, and pressing clothes over it. You may have to shake things up a bit to get all of your clothes around to the scrubber. (Oh hey, THAT’s why they call it Scrubba!)
Depending on how much you have in the bag, rubbing your clothes around in the Scrubba Washbag for a few minutes should do the trick. The instructions say anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes should do. The dirtier your clothes, the longer you’ll want to work at it. In general, we spent about 90 seconds on most “loads,” and the full three minutes on jeans.
Four: Empty and Rinse
After your laundry workout, set your Scrubba Washbag back in the tub, and open the top to let the water out. Refill with fresh water to rinse; you’ll probably have to seal the bag again and sloth your clothes around to get all of the soap out. Like before, unroll the top and let the water drain. We find it helpful to tightly roll the Scrubba Washbag with our clothes still inside, to help squeeze out as much water as possible. Then we’re ready to hang them up to dry while we go out for the day.
To get the Scrubba Washbag itself dry, you can turn it inside out and hang it alongside your clothes. Afterwards, just roll it up, fasten the clips and stash it back in your bags. Easy peasy!
We need to caveat our results: We used the Scrubba Washbag on a city trips where we did some sightseeing, driving, and light hiking. Nothing out of the ordinary; we didn’t go days in the same jeans, or wallow on muddy trails to get our laundry good and dirty.
That said, the Scrubba Washbag did a great job keeping us fresh. We were able to get out typical light dirt (food, sweat, street splashes) quickly, although soy sauce took a little more work, as it does. The down side is that the Scrubba Washbag, great as it is, is not a clothes dryer. With no clothesline in our hotel room, and no shower curtain (dang fancy hotel showers!), we resorted to clothes hangers and a blow dryer.
Bonus Scrubba Uses
Travelers know the most valuable additions to their gear are things that can do more than one thing. We’ve found a few creative bonus uses that make the Scrubba Washbag worth packing, even if laundry isn’t on your To Do list:
- Dry Bag – As mentioned, the Scrubba is essentially a dry bag if you find yourself needing one.
- Laundry Bag – We like to use the Scrubba Washbag in-between laundry loads to keep our dirty clothes separate from the clean.
- Chiller – Fill it with ice for an impromptu ice bucket! (Or ice pack when you’ve over done it.)
- Beach Bag – The dry bag design is awesome at keeping water and sand out, and your goodies clean and dry. Roll down the top and clip it around your beach chair or umbrella to keep it handy.
- Pool Pillow – Besides keeping your smartphone dry while you’re at the pool, you can also empty it out, fill it with air, and roll down the top to seal. Cover with a towel, and presto! You’ve got an air pillow while you’re at the pool.
The Dirt on the Scrubba Washbag
One thing we like about the Scrubba Washbag is that it takes almost no room, and adds almost no weight. When dry and folded up, it’s about the same size as a pair of socks, and weighs just about 5.5 ounces. Because it’s flexible nylon, you can squish and bend it to fit almost anywhere, or just use the clips to hang it off your pack.
Being a good multi-tasker is invaluable. Because we often pack a dry-bag on more adventurous trips, the Scrubba Washbag will just take it’s place in our gear, so we’re not adding to our load. We’ve had fun finding other uses for it, and think it’s a good addition.
The Scrubba Washbag introduced us to a family-owned and operated company called eartheasy, and we really like them. They make and sell a variety of products in several categories, from bamboo plates and straws, to raised-bed garden kits, and a wide range of eco- and kid-friendly products. Even better, they have several eco-initiatives that include carbon-offsetting and tree planting. Whether you’re an emergency prepper, a green home maker, or eco-conscious in any way, you’re going to love eartheasy.
At nearly $50, the Scrubba Washbag is a bit of a spend, but we think it makes up for it in laundry savings and its multi-tasking nature. After reading our review and seeing how we use it, what do you think? Are you ready to tame laundry day with the Scrubba Washbag?
If you already have a Scrubba Washbag, we’d love to hear about your experience, and the fun ways you’ve found to use your Scrubba beyond laundry chores. Just leave us a comment below!
As always, thanks for reading.
Disclaimers: eartheasy provided TravelLatte with a complimentary Scrubba Washbag for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions and experiences are our own. TravelLatte is an Amazon Affiliate. That means that, when you purchase through our links, we get a small commission but you never pay more. Like bloggers everywhere, we deeply appreciate it when you purchase through our links. Your support helps us keep sharing travel news, stories, guides, tips, and reviews like this one!