Travel G-spots

TRAVEL GADGET: The Scrubba Wash Bag

My travels come in 3 forms:

1. the extreme “what-was-i-thinking?-I-am-going-to-die” roughing out type,
2. the moderate traveler-cum-tourist mix (usually with a family member tagging along),
3. the comfortable/ luxurious tourist (with my mother) or “airport-hotel-work-hotel-airport” type

For all 3, I have refined the art of more is less when it comes to packing.

Although I may have authored and compiled this comprehensive “the ULTIMATE packing list” truth is I have more than adequate space left in my 45L backpack post filling it up with a month’s worth of needs being on the road.

See, I wear mostly black every day anyways, and for 1. and 2. it’s always outdoor-adventure gear dri-fast, super cool/ warm synthetic materials which is so unfashionable, but darn practical, you can’t argue any logic against taking or wearing them.

For number 3., I’ll throw in a crumple free dress – chiffon works wonders – if there’s creases, just rinse them (do not wring) and let the weight of the water take care of it while it dries out; and depending, maybe a wool-mix tunic/ sweater/ dress and a couple of decent looking cashmere mix type tops or plain t-shirts, and always a fancy overcoat.

I’ve not gotten into the habit of accumulating stuff for the laundromat or have never used a hotel laundry service, save for one visit to Northeastern India where visiting the rhinos, my TV journalist friend had taken some of my stuff to the dhobi ghatt. Simply said, I don’t fancy lugging around unwashed stuff.

Knowing this, a friend had sent me the link to the Scrubba Wash Bag – and my thought was: wow! I want this.

The Scrubba Wash Bag ( makes hand washing easier, with its built-in plastic washboard bumps. All you need to do is put in some clothes with water and shampoo, agitate the bag and, in a few minutes, you have clean clothes without getting your hands wet. It can apparently fit a few pairs of underwear and socks and some t-shirts in one wash, and folds to the size of a soft-drink can for easy transport.


SOME FAQs from the Scrubba™ wash bag website

How does the Scrubba™ wash bag work?

The Scrubba™ wash bag works on the same principle as an old-fashion washboard.  Clothing is cleaned by rubbing them against the washboard.  As opposed to an old-fashion washboard, the Scrubba™ wash bag is lightweight, compact and self-contained (you no longer need a bucket or basin).  Furthermore, the Scrubba™ wash bag can mimimise exposure of the user to cleaning materials.  Please see our Using Your Scrubba page for suggested steps for the Scrubba™ wash bag successfully.

How much clothing can be washed at once?

Generally, the Scrubba™ wash bag is effective at cleaning a couple of T-shirts, a couple of pairs of jocks and a couple of pairs of socks at once (e.g. 2 days worth of summer clothes).  While the Scrubba™ wash bag can hold more clothing, the washing efficiency may be reduced if too much clothing is added.

What is the capacity of the Scrubba™ wash bag?

The total volume of the Scrubba wash bag is around 13L (~3 gal).  However, as the washing method requires you to seal the bag and rub the clothes against the washboard from the outside, the optimal working volume is around 3-4L (~1gal).  We now have markings on the front of the Scrubba bag to help you add the right amount of water and clothes.

How long does the Scrubba™ wash bag take to clean a load of clothing?

For most clothing, simply rubbing them against the washboard from outside the bag for 20-40 seconds is sufficient to remove oils, dirt and odour from the clothing.  For a machine quality wash, rub the clothes for 3 minutes and use a quality laundry liquid.  For stubborn stains, the clothing may be rubbed for longer and/or the clothing may be allowed to soak in the Scrubba™ wash bag for 2-3 hours.  If soaking clothing in the Scrubba™ wash bag, ensure the Scrubba™ wash bag is stored upright (e.g. seal facing upwards) to prevent water wicking through the seal.

Can I use hot water in the Scrubba™ wash bag?

Due to the waterproof lining in the bag, we recommend that water no hotter than 50°C (122°F) be used.  Warm water (e.g. 30°C – 50°C or 85°F – 122°F ) can assist the washing process. Simply put, if it is too hot to hold your hands in, the water is too hot for the Scrubba™ wash bag.

What cleaning product should be used with the Scrubba™ wash bag?

At the moment we don’t really have any firm recommendations for which cleaning product to use other than that the cleaning product should be a liquid (powders or detergent leaves take too long to properly dissolve). One of the reasons we haven’t put up specific cleaning products (or included a cleaning product in the kit) is that every traveler has different priorities for cleaning products. For example, for some travelers weight is the most important thing in which case a single product that can perform multiple tasks can be beneficial.  In this regard, the traveler may use a small dollop of 3-in-1 bodywash-shampoo-shave liquid in the Scrubba wash bag.

That being said, if you don’t mind carrying extra products, carrying a very small (~25-30ml) bottle of washing liquid (e.g. Omo or the like) is a good idea when traveling. Washing liquids are generally the most efficient for cleaning your clothes in the Scrubba wash bag as they are purpose designed for removing oils and dirt from clothes. You really only need to use the smallest amount (probably a few ml per bag load) as washing liquids are generally highly concentrated. A good trial and error test for quantities of different cleaning products in the Scrubba wash bag is to do a few loads. If after 30 seconds of rubbing you still have suds, then you can probably reduce the amount of cleaning product for the next batch. Optimising the amount is not only better for the environment, but not overloading the cleaning product will minimise the amount of rinsing required.

Finally, if you are environmentally conscious, there are a number of bio-washing liquids on the market (often released by outdoor brands and available at camping stores) that are better for the environment (e.g. phosphate free). These probably fall somewhere between using bodywash/shampoo and a washing liquid in efficiency but are much better for use in the back country.

How do I care for my Scrubba™ wash bag?

Please see the Care and Maintenance section of our Using Your Scrubba page.

How long will the Scrubba™ wash bag last?

This largely depends on how often you use the Scrubba™ wash bag, how rough you are with the Scrubba™ wash bag, and how well you following the instructions in our Care and Maintenance section of our Using Your Scrubba page.  Treated well, the Scrubba™ wash bag should last for hundreds of uses.

Is there a warranty on the Scrubba™ wash bag?

Yes.  To the original owner, Calibre8 Pty Ltd provides a guarantee against defects in materials and craftsmanship. If your product fails due to a defect, we will replace, repair or refund it at our discretion.  While manufacturing defects are rare, the occasional bad egg can sometimes make it past our dedicated quality control inspection team.  If there is a defect in the materials or craftsmanship, you will realise fairly quickly and all you need to do is email us at and we will work with you to make it right.

If you are purchasing a Scrubba wash bag before a trip, we suggest that you test the Scrubba wash bag before you leave as there are some pretty remote parts to the world that can make replacing the bag difficult.  While the Scrubba wash bag is built to be durable, normal wear and tear will occur over time but you can minimise this by following the Care and Maintenance section of our Using Your Scrubba page.

Can the Scrubba™ wash bag be used on all clothing?

The Scrubba™ wash bag can be used on most forms of clothing.  While clothing made of thick materials such as denim jeans may be washed in the Scrubba™ wash bag, it may be necessary to open the bag and rotate the jeans to ensure sufficient contact between the whole jeans and the washboard.  Care needs to be taken for clothing with zips or buckles, which could potentially damage the internal coating of the Scrubba™ wash bag.

Will the Scrubba™ wash bag damage my clothing?

Our testing has shown that the Scrubba wash bag is gentler on clothing that washing machines.  However, all washing techniques cause some wear on clothes.  Users should always follow the washing instructions on their clothing.  For delicate items, we recommend gently rubbing the clothes against the internal washboard.

Can my Scrubba™ wash bag be repaired?

The simple answer is yes.  Over time and use, the inner waterproof lining of the Scrubba™ wash bag may wear thin (resulting in slight leakage) or may be punctured if clothing with zips or buckles is washed vigorously.  Repair to either of these is simpler than repairing a punctured bicycle tyre.  Simply apply a flexible glue (e.g. PVC pool repair glue – available from most hardware stores) over the puncture or site of leakage on the inside surface of the Scrubba™ wash bag and allow it to dry.  Alternately, a bicycle tyre puncture repair kit (from your local bicycle store) or inflatable mattress/tent repair kit (most camping stores sell this) may be used.

How do I dry my clothing?

After rinsing the clothing, the most effective way to dry the clothing (other than using a dryer) is to wring them out and lay them on a towel.  Roll the towel up and twist the towel as hard as you can.  This will transfer much of the residual water from the clothing to the towel.  If you are concerned about stretching your clothing, roll the clothing in the towel and pat or stand on the towel as opposed to twisting the towel.  Complete the drying process by hanging the clothing and towel to dry.  For a complete travel laundry kit, please check out our Scrubba Travelers Kit.

What do I do with the dirty water if I am camping or trekking?

If you use the Scrubba wash bag in the countryside, we recommend using an environmentally friendly laundry liquid to minimise potential damage to the local ecosystem.  Most camping stores sell a range of eco laundry liquids.  If washing near a water source (e.g. a river, stream, lake, etc.), we recommend that dirty water be tipped out at least 30 metres (100 feet) from the water source to prevent pollution.

Where can I buy the Scrubba™ wash bag?

The Scrubba Wash Bag Shop HERE



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This entry was posted on January 3, 2014 by in et cetera, GADGETS and tagged , , , , , .
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