I grew up in the American suburbs. In other words, I had no idea how to hand wash clothes.
There was no need to. But traveling long term naturally forced me to start hand washing my own clothes, which I realized I was really bad at. And I still am. Recently, it took me over an hour to hand wash 4 t-shirts and a pair of shorts.
Maybe I’m just a clean freak. Or maybe hand washing the normal way in a bathroom sink is really inefficient.
So when the Scrubba portable laundry system arrived at my front door I was, for the first time in my life, excited to hand wash my clothes.
I rushed to wash a couple of smelly running shirts with my newest travel accessory. The instructions for washing were clearly depicted on the exterior of the bag, so I filled it up, put in some detergent and started scrubbing.
I seemed to be doing everything right, but to my dismay, the Scrubba was leaking. As I scrubbed, water leaked from the valve that was meant to let out air. The valve was tightly shut, but water still leaked from it. It turned out that I had a defective Scrubba.
A Defective Scrubba:
No matter how careful I was, water would leak from my defective Scrubba’s valve.
Thankfully, the problem was quickly solved after I contacted Scrubba. I showed them pictures of the defective valve and they promptly sent me a new non-defective Scrubba. Great service!
Here’s what Scrubba’s customer service told me:
The valve should be clear, durable and pliable and leakage such as this should not occur. While we do have strict quality controls in place, we did come across a faulty batch and have just recently quarantined a number of bags with defective valves in one of our US fulfillment centers.
This is what my defective valve looked like:
When doing some research prior to writing this review, I came across some negative Scrubba reviews regarding leakage and the air valve. It seems like they might have received Scrubbas from the same faulty batch as I did.
The new, non-defective Scrubba’s valve was much more flexible than the old one and worked perfectly without any leaks. It seems like the problem with defective valves has been completely solved, but if you do have a leaking valve, you should contact Scrubba’s customer service. From my experience, they were prompt in replying emails and helpful.
How to Use the Scrubba:
- Add water, dirty clothes and laundry detergent to the Scrubba. Fill it up to 20-40% volume, depending on how many clothes you’re washing
- Roll the top down 4-5 times then buckle the two ends together
- Deflate the bag completely so there’s no air inside, this makes scrubbing much easier
- Scrub the clothes, “30 seconds for a quick traveler wash or for 3 minutes for a machine quality wash” I usually aim for the 3 minute mark as I like my clothes smelling really fresh – and find scrubbing strangely stress relieving
- Dry your clothes by wringing them out, then hanging to dry. Or you can buy Scrubba’s Wash and Dry Kit, which includes a microfiber towel for partially drying your clothes, a travel clothes line, two inflatable hangers and a packing cube
Read more information on how to use the Scrubba here. The instructions for using the Scrubba are plastered all over the packaging and the product itself, so you’ll have a hard time forgetting how to use it.
Other tips for using the Scrubba:
- When you’re done using the Scrubba, you’re recommended to flip it inside out to dry it out
- This is common sense: don’t use the Scrubba around sharp areas and things, if it punctures, you’ll have to find some airtight way to fix it
- The more air you remove, the easier it is to scrub
- The less clothes you wash, the easier it is
- Easier than normal hand washing
- Cleaner than hand washing in the sink
The Scrubba is perfect for travelers and for those without washing machines. The Scrubba can be folded, easily packed down and stuffed into a backpack.
- I had a defective unit – but problem was solved
Once I received the non-defective version, almost all of my issues with the Scrubba have been solved.
One minor thing is that I’d love it if the Scrubba was a bit longer. This would allow you to wash even more clothes in the bag and make it easier to scrub.
Maybe the roll top could be switched out for a watertight zipper. This would give more space to work with since you wouldn’t need to roll the top down. Also, it would be a lot simpler than rolling the top.
I’ve read a lot of reviews by people who complained about the price of the Scrubba, retail $55 (about $50 on Amazon.com). $55 is quite expensive, but I’d have to disagree with them because the price is justifiable:
Whenever you’re dealing with waterproof products, you’re going to pay higher prices. The Scrubba is basically a 13 liter dry sack + a washboard:
- A 13 liter dry sack from Sea to Summit costs around $22
- A plastic washboard on amazon.com costs around $10
The total comes to about $32+ for the two products. Then you’ll have to add to cost of somehow putting the washboard into the sack and making the board flexible. Next, you’ll have to make the dry sack more abrasion resistant and add a valve. So, overall, it’s not like you could potentially make a Scrubba wash bag at home. The materials alone cost $32+.
Laundry fees at hotels are way overpriced, so from the money you save by not using laundry services, I’d imagine you could earn back the money you spend on the Scrubba in just a few vacations. For example, at Foz de Iguazu (Iguazu Falls) Brazil, our family had about 10 pounds of dirty clothes and the fees to get them laundered by the hostel was $25. And that’s not including tips.
I’ve had the Scrubba for about a year, and it has started to leak. It’s still a decent product, but I’m disappointed by it’s short lifespan.
The Scrubba is an innovative product which makes hand washing clothes a lot easier. It’s designed with the traveler in mind and is easy to pack with you on your next trip or vacation. With the Scrubba you can take less trips to the laundromat and save on laundry fees. Although I originally received a defective Scrubba, the problem was promptly solved and I highly recommend the Scrubba.
Where to Find the Scrubba:
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The Scrubba was provided for this review. As always, this Scrubba review contains only my honest views and opinions. Some links found in this review are affiliate links, meaning that we get commission if you decide to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. This helps to fund the site. 🙂 Find out more about me and this site.