Scrubba Review: Gimmick or Travel Essential?

For as much as I love traveling, there are a few amenities of home that I miss while away. Among them is the ability to do laundry — something that’s especially relevant in today’s climate. It seems that my wife feels the same way considering that, a few years ago, she began the habit of washing some of our items while in the hotel room. Despite her best efforts, this often meant leaving damp clothes around the room. That’s why she was very excited to discover the Scrubba bag: a portable washing kit that makes the entire process a bit easier and much cleaner.

Having just returned from a trip where we once again got to try out the Scrubba for ourselves, I thought I’d share a look at what this product has to offer and what we thought of our experience with it.

What is Scrubba and How Does it Work?

Using the Scrubba

Scrubba is a portable wash bag that allows you to easily launder your clothes while traveling, camping, or at home and just not feeling like doing a full load. Inside the bag is a tiny washboard comprised of silicon bumps and ridges. Coupled with the ability to seal the bag while you wash, this enables you to clean your clothes without making a mess — pretty handy, eh?

To get started washing with your Scrubba bag, you’ll first want to add your items. Then, follow the markers on the bag to add the appropriate amount of water for the number and types of pieces you’re cleaning. Of course, you’ll also want to add your favorite detergent or soap to the mix as well. Once that’s done, you can begin rolling up the bag, close the clips, release excess air via the valve, reseal the valve, and then begin agitating the items. When you’re ready to rinse, you can either rinse the bag and add clean water to that or, if available and if you prefer, utilize a tub/shower.

We’ll talk more about our experience actually using the Scrubba in the next section — but, first, let’s talk about sizing, pricing, and accessories for the Scrubba.

Size, pricing, and accessories

Since Scrubba is meant to be portable, the bag is remarkably small. In fact, according to the site, the bag measures just 54cm x 32cm and it can be rolled down to a mere 16cm x 6cm x 6cm. Obviously, this means you also won’t be able to fit a ton of laundry in it at one time. However,  you can still fit approximately two t-shirts, two pairs of socks, and two pairs of underwear in each load.

On their site, Scrubba sells one of the regular bags for $55 (they’re also available on Amazon). Meanwhile, they also sell what they call their Scrubba Wash and Dry Kit for $99.95. This kit comes in a 19cm x 19cm x 8cm packing cube and includes a regular Scrubba along with several accessories to further assist your on-the-road laundry needs. Specifically, the Scrubba Wash and Dry kit comes with a microfiber towel, a bungee clothesline, two foldable (and inflatable) hangers, and a convenient packing cube. Together, you can wash your items, towel dry them, allow them to air dry the rest of the way, and then hang them to prevent wrinkling.

For us, the Scrubba Wash and Dry Kit seemed to make the most sense. So how has it worked out? Let’s look at our experience.

Our Scrubba Experience (So Far)

Portability

Even though the dimensions of Scrubba’s packing cube are listed on its sales page, for some reason I was imagining it to be much larger. Thankfully, I was wrong as the actual size makes much more sense for travel. Not only could the entire wash and dry pack easily be placed into a carry on but I’d say could also fit into a small backpack without issue. Heck, depending on the size of your purse, you may even manage to stick it in there (although I’m not sure I’d recommend that).

What’s also nice is that the bag and accessories were easy to re-fold and fit back into the packing cube. As anyone who’s ever tried to return a road map to its normal state can attest, this is a major benefit. With all that in mind, I don’t really see a reason why you shouldn’t be able to take this kit along for your travels.

While we still appreciate the way the kit folds up into its little cube, we have also learned that, in some cases, it may actually be better to remove the individual items for more packing options. For example, the bag itself can be laid fairly flat on top of items along with the towel — potentially saving you room if you don’t need to bring along the hangers. In any case, we’ve tried a few different packing methods to make the Scrubba fit best into our suitcases and have yet to run into a situation where it simply wouldn’t make it.

Learning curve

Although the concept of the Scrubba seems easy enough, there are still ways to screw it up. For our first load, I think we may have overfilled the bag just a bit. In the end, this wasn’t a huge deal but did make the process a bit more difficult. Thankfully, our second go-round was a bit smoother and less messy. 

Sure enough, as we’ve now taken the Scrubba on several trips, my wife has the system down to a science! As a result, the minor annoyances she faced initially have subsided, leaving her with nothing but successful washes since. Still, if it’s your first outing, I’d recommend taking things slow and finding what works for you.

Drying towel

Perhaps the best part about buying the Wash and Dry Kit was obtaining the microfiber towel. Quite frankly, this thing is amazing. In addition to doing a very respectable job of preparing our items to be hung, the towel itself was also quick to dry.

We were actually so impressed with the towel that we’ve considered buying an extra one. Sadly, this solo accessory isn’t on Amazon but is on the Scrubba site for $24.95 (on sale from the “normal” $29.95). That’s a bit steep but it may be worth it. If nothing else, this price point really just shows what a good value the kit is.

The clever bungee line

Another useful tool in the kit is the bungee clothesline. Although you can just drape clothes over the line and let them dry that way, the design of this bungee also allows you to clip items to it simply by twisting the cord. It’s a bit hard to describe but, once you try it for yourself, you’ll see what I mean — and likely love it as much as we do.

Final Thoughts on Scrubba

All in all, my wife and I have been quite pleased with our Scrubba experiences. In fact, she regularly raves to me just how much she enjoys and appreciates having it available to her when we travel. As a result, we’ve brought it with us on just about every trip we’ve taken since getting it.

Not only has bringing our Wash and Dry kit along bought us extra peace of mind by being able to wash some of our jetlagged clothes but it has also made our lives easier once returning home since we only had a few items left to wash. On that note, if you were to choose between just the Scrubba bag and the kit, I’d definitely recommend the latter. It may only take up a tiny slice of your luggage space but could make a big difference in your laundering experience.

Compared to other times we’ve washed clothes on the road, I have to say that the finished result was much better with the Scrubba as well. In previous cases, our clothes ended up feeling “crispy” (for lack of a better term) or were still damp. By contrast, thanks to the Scrubba bag and drying towel, we were able to get all of the soap out — which I expect helped avoid the crisp — and not have to wait two days for our items to properly dry.

While we enjoyed the Scrubba, I will say that it’s still not for everyone. If you’ve never even thought about washing clothes on the road and are completely uninterested in the idea of hanging clothes around a hotel room, then this is unlikely to change your mind. However, if you’re looking for a little extra cleanliness as you navigate a return to traveling, this could be a wise investment in my opinion.In any case, following our Scrubba adventures so far, you can bet we’ll be bringing it along for many future travels.


Also published on Medium.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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This is a very clever idea for those who are traveling light. Being able to wash your clothes easily on your trips means less clothes to bring.

Great idea to have this on your travels. You can save on luggage space and pricey laundry services.

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