Tuesday Travel Tools: Scrubba, Travel “Washing Machine” in a Bag

What is a Scrubba Wash Bag?

Scrubba is basically a small, nobby-insided dry bag that works as a hand-powered washing machine.

You toss your clothes in, add some detergent, fill the Scubba with water up to the marked line, roll the bag down to seal it, let the air out of the air nozzle, and then press, toss, squish (or kick) the bag for 3 minutes. Give your clothes a quick rinse, wring out excess water, and you’re good to go!

Why I recommend Scrubba

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The number one reason why I like the Scrubba is that it allows me to pack less clothes and travel lighter, without sacrificing cleanliness.

The Scrubba is tiny (it weighs in at 145g), and packs down to about the size of your hand. Its lightweight, strong material is thinner than a typical drybag (though it also doubles as a dry bag, so you get two products in one!), saving valuable space.

Sure, I could wash my laundry in the sink, and not have to pack an extra item, but I pretty much suck at sink laundry. Because of the Scrubba’s innovative design, clothes washed in a Scrubba come out SO much more clean than simply washing it in the sink.

The Scrubba also saves you a potential trip to your local landromat or laundry person while traveling, which has never ended up well for me. Aside from taking money and time, I’ve always lost at least one item and ended up with an extra or two (strange orange sock, anyone?). You don’t exactly get to dictate delicate care requirements of your clothes when you drop them off at the laundry house down the road, so I’ve also ended up with a lot of clothes that should be cold washed and hang dried instead being washed with hot water and blasted in a high heat dryer. I’d a thousand times rather just wash my clothes myself with a Srcubba.

Tips for Traveling with a Scrubba

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The Scrubba doesn’t work as well for big, bulky items. I wouldn’t even try it on a chunky wool sweater.

To make the most of a Scrubba wash, you’ll need to pack clothes that dry quickly and wash easily. I find “quick dry” athletic clothes to be best for this.

Don’t forget to bring detergent with you (try to opt for eco-friendly and biodegradable brands, especially when traveling in sensitive ecosystems). I pour off some of my favorite detergent into a little travel-sized container to be easiest, or use a solid detergent.

Pack some stain remover with you, to tackle potential stains as soon as possible (I like to put a bit of my favorite natural stain remover in a little travel-sized spray bottle).

If you’re traveling with a Scrubba, you can skip packing your dry bag; the Scrubba does double duty as works as a dry bag when it’s not cleaning your clothes.

Downsides of a Scrubba

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The Scrubba isn’t “set it and forget it” like your washing machine at home. You’ve got to work the clothes inside the Scrubba for about 3 minutes, which uses a bit of elbow grease.

I like to think of it as getting a little bit of extra forearm workout in.

Other options

Sink stoppper for sink laundry

Go old-school and skip the newfangled Scrubba gadget by doing sink laundry with a sink stopper. Again, I suck at this and my clothes always end up smelling musty and aren’t quite clean.

Shower laundry

Wash your clothes as soon as you wear them while you shower. I do this sometimes, even at home, with my workout clothes. If I’m washing them the same day (and as soon as possible) after I wear them, it tends to work pretty well.

Pin it for Later: Choose a Scrubba and say Goodbye to Sink Laundry!

Top Travel Tool: Scrubba, the best way to do your laundry and wash dirty clothes while traveling

How do you do laundry while you travel?


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Becky
    March 27, 2019 / 4:28 pm

    Have you tried using a regular waterproof bag instead of this $54 scrubba bag? Not trying to bash but just weighing my options as this is quite expensive. I understand the long term investment but send it could be accomplished with a regular bag. Thanks for the idea btw, this would save me time and headache from looking for a laundromat in a foreign country!

    • Steph
      March 28, 2019 / 9:31 am

      Unfortunately, I have tried both and much prefer the Scrubba for good laundering (I would also like to save some money!). The benefits of the Scrubba Bag are that it has the little nozzle that lets air out, ribbed insides, and much thinner material than a regular waterproof bag (so it rolls up smaller/takes up less space).
      The bonus of the Scrubba is that you can also use it as a waterproof bag (saving space in your luggage, especially important if you do carry-on-only like me!)

  2. Lena El
    September 16, 2019 / 9:32 am

    Doing laundry on the road or while being somewhere, except home is always a struggle.I think this bag is a real deal and it is going to make travelers life so much easier.I didn’t try it myself yet,but definitely going to buy one.

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