Scrubba Wash Bag Review - Portable Clothes Washer

Is the Scrubba Wash Bag the best portable clothes washer?

We test the Scrubba travel laundry bag in our campervan to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. 

What is the Scrubba Wash Bag? 

What is the Scrubba Wash bag?

The Scrubba Wash Bag is a portable clothes washer which is perfect for travellers, camping trips, campervan and motorhome use, backpacking and trekking. Basically for any time you are away from home for a while and won’t have access to a washing machine. 

It’s a very simple but clever design which incorporates a washboard inside a dry bag. 

Washboard for portable clothes washing

What are the Benefits of a Scrubba Wash Bag?

It’s lightweight design and construction means it’s perfect as a travel laundry bag and can save you a lot of money on using expensive laundrettes. You can also get through a load of washing really quickly with it compared to normal hand washing. 

For those of you who go eu-natural and simply hand wash your clothes in a sink or even streams - the advantage of using the Scrubba is that it gives your clothes a really thorough wash and the washboard does all the hard work for you. It also minimises the amount of time the laundry detergent comes into contact with your skin. 

Scrubba Wash Bag Review 

In order to perform a Scrubba wash bag review we tried the original wash bag on a load of washing in our campervan. The specific product we trialled is here:

Scrubba Wash Bag - Personal Washing Machine 

Scrubba also sell many other functional travel products which have all been designed to make travelling easier. Check out all their products on the Scrubba website here

1st Impressions 

Scrubba Wash bag review

The Scrubba Wash bag arrived in lovely, stylishly designed brown cardboard packaging. It has step by step instructions on it and all the benefits of using the bag. The nice thing about the packaging is it's not overdone - it gets you the information you need and does not use plastic. 

Scrubba Wash bag packaging

How to use a Scrubba Wash Bag

The Scrubba is very simple to use and below is a step by step guide: 

Step 1 - Fill the Scrubba with your clothes, warm water and laundry detergent 

How to use the Scrubba Wash bag

- How many Items of clothing? - It’s key not to overload the Scrubba so it washes your clothes really well. The optimum amount of clothes for a good wash but getting as much done as possible seems to be 2 pairs of underwear, 2 pairs of socks and 2 T-shirt sized articles of clothing. Obviously you can mix and match but try to keep to that size of load. 

If you need to wash bigger items such as trousers and jumpers then just put less in. 

- How much water? There is a guide on the front of the wash bag that has a see through panel which can be used to gauge the amount of water to put in - clever eh! 

Scrubba Wash bag review

- How hot should the water be? Scrubba recommends water no warmer than 50 degrees. Essentially if it’s too hot to put your hands in then it’s too hot to wash your clothes in. This not only prolongs the longevity of the Scrubba but the temperature shouldn’t damage your clothes. 

- What type of detergent? It’s best to use actual laundry detergent to get the best wash however you can use standard shampoo and soap if you are travelling light. We have found both liquid and powder washing detergent to do the best job and makes it easier to get the water soapy (and always use eco friendly detergent). 

Scrubba Wash bag review

Step 2 - Roll down the top of the Scrubba and clip together  

Scrubba portable clothes washer

Just as you do with a standard dry bag - roll the opening of the Scrubba down as tight as possible to prevent any leaks. Then clip together. 

Step 3 - Deflate the Scrubba using the valve 

Scrubba Wash bag valve

Simply twist the valve on the front of the Scrubba and push down to release the air. Once the air is out close the valve to make sure the bag is watertight again before scrubbing! 

Step 4 - Rub the clothes on the washboard for 2-3 minutes 

How to use a Scrubba portable wash bag

Push down onto the clothes putting pressure onto the washboard through the clothes. You will soon start to see the water changing colour through the see through panel and it really doesn’t take long to get your clothes washed. 

Step 5 - Empty the dirty water out

Put the Scrubba back upright and unclip and unroll the top. Pour the dirty water out making sure it either goes down the drain or away from water sources if in the wild (and always use eco friendly detergent). 

Step 6 - Rinse your clothes with clean water  

Pour in a small amount of clean water and shake the bag a little bit to give everything a good rinse. You can then dispose of the water as above. 

Step 7 - Wring out and dry your clothes 

Give all your clothes a good wring out and then dry with a towel. Scrubba actually make a wash and dry kit which includes a really good drying towel and a stretchy washing line - perfect for using in campervans or whilst camping attaching it between trees (or between your tent and a tree). The Scrubba Wash and dry kit is available here

Scrubba Wash and dry kit

So….what did we think? 

How easy was the Scrubba to use?

Honestly - it is dead easy. There are clear instructions with the Scrubba and having things like the water guideline on the clear panel make the Scrubba very easy to use. The only thing we would say is make sure you don’t forget to do the valve back up after deflating otherwise you will end up with water everywhere! 

Scrubba Value for Money 

The Scubba wash bag we tested has an RRP of £42. When you consider a trip to a laundrette costs around £7-£10 each time you start saving money after around 4 uses which is very impressive and makes it a great gadget for those living or travelling on a tight budget. 

Size of the Scrubba 

Scrubba Wash bag review size

This is an important consideration for those who have limited space which is generally anyone backpacking, camping or in a campervan - we generally all have to consider kit size. The standard Scrubba wash bag measures 54cm x 32cm when laid out but will reduce down to 16cm x 6cm x 6cm when rolled down and clipped. It uses very little space, especially when compared to some of the portable washing machines you can buy. 

Scrubba have also designed a mini wash bag which is aimed at backpackers who need to travel super light. It weighs in at 70g and measures 10cm all round. This impressive mini portable wash bag is great for washing underwear and socks whilst backpacking. 

Weight of the Scrubba

The standard Scrubba wash bag that we tested weighs an impressive 142g. If weight is really a major concern for you then the Scrubba mini wash bag is the one for you at an amazing 70g. Both bags are a heck of a lot lighter than bulky portable washing machines that are available. 

Load Capacity of the Scrubba 

A bit like a standard washing machine - if you overload the Scrubba you are unlikely to get your clothes washed as thoroughly as they could be. 

The recommended Scrubba wash load is:

  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of underwear 
  • 2 T- shirts 

When you consider each load takes around 5 minutes (including filling and emptying) you can get your washing done quite quickly - certainly much more quickly than waiting for a washing machine. 

The Scrubba bag has a total volume of 13 litres however in order to use the bag effectively the working volume is closer to 3-4 litres when you consider you need to be able to rub the clothes against the washboard. 

The Durability of the Scrubba 

As long as you don’t use water over the recommended temperature ( 50 degrees) and avoid using sharp objects (all the obvious stuff considering it is a material dry bag)  the Scrubba wash bag should last many years. There is a guarantee with the bag which applies against defects in the material.

Scrubba Wash Bag Review - Conclusion 

Scrubba Wash bag review

We think this is a great little gadget for people who want to keep their clothes smelling fresh on the move and are concerned about storage, weight and need to travel on a budget. This would probably apply to most people who are backpacking, travelling in a campervan and those on longer camping trips. 

The only downside for us when you compare using the Scrubba to a washing machine is it leaves your clothes a little more wet. However, when you consider the price difference and also the fact you can buy a Scrubba wash and dry kit  which makes drying even easier it’s a small downside really. 

The Scrubba does a much better job of washing your clothes than a bucket or stream wash and you can get through a load pretty quickly. 

If you are looking to save costs on laundrettes, want to stay fresh whilst backpacking in the wild or want an easier and more thorough way of handwashing then the Scrubba wash bag is a great solution. 

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to  contact us  and feel free to leave a comment below - we would love to hear from you. 

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  • Ms K

    I love it. I bought the old version at the end of 2017 at a discount when the new twist valve design came out. I was sceptical but love it. This year 2021 I now updated to the twist valve since the valve on the old version is starting to stick and I know will eventually break.

    I’ve used it in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand so far.

  • Jacqui - Brown Bird & Company

    Thanks Kathy it is a handy piece of kit!

  • Kathy

    I used the Srubba on our boat and it worked well. Especially great when space is at a premium.

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