After a decade of trial and error, we’ve finally found the best travel laundry bag – Check out our complete Scrubba travel washing machine review.
It’s the bane of any long-term traveller; having to do laundry while travelling. There’s nothing worse than having a backpack full of dirty clothes, and having no time to clean them.
If you’re anything like us, doing laundry on the road is a part of life that you wish you could outsource. While you’re meant to be out exploring a new and exciting part of the world, instead you’re searching for laundromats or hand washing your clothes in a hotel sink.
We’ve spent the better part of 11 years on the road, and out of all that time we couldn’t even guess how many hours have been spent doing laundry.
Hand-washing clothes, searching for laundromats, paying exorbitant fees for hotel laundry services – it’s just a part of travel, right?
But what if there was a better way to do things…
Finding the Best Travel Laundry Bag
For the longest time hand washing our clothes was our main method of keeping our clothes clean on the road. We’d travel with a universal sink plug, washing powder and a pegless clothesline, and would wash our clothes whenever they needed them in our hotel room.
We were actually pretty good at it, and had a few different tricks up our sleeves to make this process as efficient as possible.
Sometimes we’d jump in the shower with our clothes on and wash them in there, wringing them out and hanging them up afterwards.
If we were in hot climates, we’d hand wash our clothes, wring them out as best we could, and then wear them straight away, allowing our body heat and the external temperature to dry them quickly.
Usually though we’d wash our clothes in the sink and hang them up overnight, and because we always use quick-dry gear, they’d often be fully dry by morning.
This doesn’t sound like anything too difficult, and it’s not. But the truth is hand washing your clothes is time consuming, and often doesn’t let you get your gear perfectly clean (especially if you’re trying to do this after you’ve been on a multi-day hike.
We always wanted to find a better alternative that was less time consuming and had better results.
Our Scrubba Travel Washing Bag Review
We’ve heard a lot about travel washing machines, but never had the chance to try one. There was one brand that kept popping up in research, and that was Scrubba.
They sounded like they’d work great though, and as far as determining the best travel laundry bag goes, it seemed to tick all the boxes.
- Have a bag you can keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones – check.
- Have a way of quickly and easily cleaning your clothes inside the bag – check.
- Not leave a huge, watery mess – check.
- Be super light so it isn’t a pain to carry around – check.
Anything that meant we didn’t have to keep hand washing our clothes in a sink when we travel was a step in the right direction, so finally we got one.
The Scrubba Review – What is it?
The first thing you need to know about the Scrubba Travel Washing Machine is that it’s essentially a dry bag, the kind of thing you might use to protect your gear when playing around in a wet environment.
The difference between any old dry bag though and the Scrubba travel laundry bag, is that the Scrubba has a flexible, rubber washboard built into the inside.
There’s a clear plastic strip down one side so that you can see inside the travel laundry bag. This way you can put in the right amount of clothes and water without guessing.
At the top is a typical rubber opening that you fold over itself a few times and snap together using clips. That seals the opening, making it more-or-less watertight.
Finally there’s a valve on the front that you use to squeeze out any excess air once the bag is all sealed up.
The whole bag has a 14 litre capacity, but to use it properly you only put in about 4 litres of water and clothes.
How Does it Work?
Now that you know what it is, now it’s time to know how it works. In a word – simply.
What you do is take your dirty clothes and throw it straight into the Scrubba travel washing machine. Don’t overpack it, or you won’t be able to get your clothes cleaned properly.
Next you pour some cold or warm (not hot!) water into the bag, using the guidelines next to the clear plastic window to let you know how much water to add.
Finally you add some washing detergent. Liquid detergent works best as it doesn’t have to dissolve, but if you have to you can use washing powder, or even shampoo.
Roll over the opening a few times nice and tight to make sure it’s sealed, then clip it together.
Lay it down, open the valve and expel all the excess air. Close the valve, and you’re good to go.
Now that all the prep work is done, it’s onto the actual cleaning part.
This is the easiest part about the whole process, and honestly after years and years of just rubbing our clothes together hand washing, we can’t believe we didn’t already have this in our lives.
With the clothes, water and detergent in the travel washing machine, you literally just started rubbing the clothes against the internal knobs, frothing up the water as you go.
It’s the same as using a traditional washboard, but everything is contained inside the bag.
You scrub your clothes for as long as you need, depending on how dirty they are. Less than a minute is fine for clothes that have barely been used, while you might want to go for 3 or 4 minutes for really dirty gear.
If your clothes are completely filthy, you can even leave them in the bag to soak for a few hours. Just make sure you stand the bag upright so water doesn’t leak out of the top.
Once you’re done you simply undo the main opening and empty all of the dirty water into a sink. Fill the bag up again with fresh water and gently rub and shake the clothes around to rinse them, then empty that water again. Do this as many times as necessary to remove all the soap from your clothes.
That’s it! You have a bunch of clean clothes now.
To dry them we recommend wringing out excess water into the sink, then rolling the clothes into a dry towel. This soaks up a lot of the water as well.
Hang them up on a piece of rope or pegless clothesline, or hang the clothes on the back of a chair, leave for a few hours and they’ll be dry!
Last thing to do is to rinse out the bag to make sure it is clean for the next wash (and to increase longevity of the product). Do that, then flip it inside-out, and hang it from the shower head or a towel rack to dry.
It might sound like a long process, but it really isn’t The whole thing will take you less than 5 minutes, and your clothes will be left smelling nicer and left much cleaner than if you hand washed it yourself.
Tips for the Scrubba Travel Washing Bag
It’s a pretty straightforward, yet ingenious, piece of kit, and it’d be hard to find anything else that compares as the best travel laundry bag.
That being said, there’s a few small tips we have to make sure you get the most out of your Scrubba Wash Bag.
Keep it Clean and Dry
Just like we pointed out above, once you’re finished with cleaning your clothes you should give the Scrubba Bag a quick rinse and hang it inside-out to make sure it dries before storing it.
Don’t Use Very Hot Water
The bag itself is durable, but really hot water will start to deteriorate it. Keep the water temperature cold or warm. The Scrubba site recommends less than 50 degrees celsius.
Be Careful with Sharp Objects
If you’re trying to scrub something that has sharp or metal objects on it, such as zippers, just be careful that you don’t rub too hard on these parts or else you might punch a hole in it.
If You Get a Hole, Fix It
If you do happen to puncture the Scrubba Travel Washing Machine, no worries – simply fix it. You can use a bicycle tube puncture repair kit, some silicone or hard glue, or even good quality duct tape.
If You’re Camping, Get Some Environmentally-Friendly Detergent
You don’t want to put any nasty chemicals into nature, so if you are out camping or in a place where you might have to dispose of the dirty water into the environment, make sure you use natural and safe detergent!
Is it Worth it?
You might be wondering if it’s actually worth buying this. After all, can’t you just keep hand washing your clothes in a sink, or using laundromats around the world?
Take it from us, who have been doing both of the above things for over a decade – hand washing your clothes sucks, and using laundromats when you travel isn’t ideal.
Especially when it comes to laundromats, you can end up losing items, you need to time your day around picking your clothes up when they are ready, or you need to sit around waiting for them.
Another alternative is to get your hotel or hostel to clean your clothes. This is more convenient, because you can literally just hand your clothes over and then get them back at the end of the day or in the morning when they’re dry, nice and folded.
However this costs more money, and if you’re staying in a fancy place, they might try to charge you per item (which is damn ridiculous, but we’ll save that debate for another day).
Considering the amount of time and money the Scrubba Wash Bag saves us, and the fact that it folds down into a package so small that we barely even know it’s in our backpacks, we think it’s 100% worth it.
Also this travel laundry bag only costs AUD$64.95. Do a dozen washes, and you’re already ahead!
Scrubba Wash Bag Review – 9/10
It’s not very often we find a piece of kit we absolutely love so much that it becomes something we can’t travel with, but the Scrubba Wash Bag has made the list.
Considering we often travel for months at a time, and whatever clothes we have in our backpacks we are pretty much stuck with the entire time, we are constantly doing laundry on the road.
This bag makes our life so much easier, and we definitely recommend it.