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The Scrubba wash bag

15th May 2013 Print

Planned a summer camping trip? Booked an escorted tour or an extended adventure holiday? Perhaps a cruise is on the cards? Whatever this year’s travel plans entail, don’t depart without the Scrubba wash bag, the pocket-sized washing device that has now cemented its reputation as ‘the world’s smallest washing machine’.

Ideal for the discerning traveller who will happily prioritise off-the-beaten-track culture and experiences over five-star facilities and service, the Scrubba wash bag’s surprisingly simple yet innovative design provides the answer to laundry woes on the go.

Author and explorer Benedict Allen says: “Once in a while comes along an ingenious little device that can make all the difference to the traveller: the Scrubba wash bag is one such device. With this mobile, virtually weightless washing machine, scrubbing clothes while 'on the go' becomes convenient - you can do it anywhere there is water. However, the key to its success, like all the best travel kit, lies in it being multi-purpose.

“It serves as a wet bag for soiled or washed clothes, it serves as a dry bag. It serves as a water carrier - and of course to ferry polluting, soapy water away from any sacred or sensitive site. It even serves as entertainment - my little daughter loved scrubbing my socks in it.”

What is it?

Based on an old-fashioned washing technique - the traditional washboard - the Scrubba wash bag fuses old and new technology by integrating a flexible modern washboard made of hundreds of resilient Scrubba washing nodules inside a high-tech watertight bag.

Durable and lightweight (less than 180g), the Scrubba wash bag allows travellers to wash clothes wherever and whenever they want, and to pack lighter, travel cleaner and save on laundry costs (average €6.50 per load in Europe based on a survey by parent company, Calibre8 Pty Ltd, of over 500 hostels throughout Europe). What’s more, it can be teamed up with the Scrubba Kit which includes a peg-free clothes line and microfibre towel for drying clothes.

It also promotes green travel: it requires just 2 to 3 litres of water for the wash and rinse, and a small amount of cleaning liquid, whilst dirty water can be disposed of in a way that avoids unnecessary pollution by taking the water away from the source and discarding it at a safe distance.

When was it launched?

Following a series of prototypes and travel challenges - where managing director and inventor Ashley Newland evaluated the design, resilience and effectiveness of the gadget when travelling - and a successful launch in Australia in July 2012 where it scooped the prize for Australia’s top innovation in the Anthill Magazine 2012 Smart100 Awards, the Scrubba wash bag hit the UK market in 2013, with a dedicated EU website, UK-based stock for domestic delivery and a lower total price of £41 including VAT and P&P.

Where can it be used?

For an escorted tour
About to embark on the adventure of a lifetime? Booked an itinerary crammed with stays in characterful properties, meals in rustic restaurants and excursions led by an expert guide? Exciting - but what about laundry? Avoid spending precious holiday time in a local laundrette or soaking clothes in sinks, and instead pick up a Scrubba wash bag and clean clothes within minutes whenever and wherever needed.

For an extended holiday or cruise
Prone to packing far too many outfits when travelling? Wave goodbye to that bulky suitcase - limit the load and pack the perfect capsule wardrobe for your car boot or cruise cabin knowing that you can simply wash clothes on the go. The Scrubba folds neatly to hand-size, going almost unnoticed in any travel bag.

For camping trips
For British campers who want to economise on holiday, the Scrubba wash bag makes the ideal addition to basic camping equipment. Do away with washing clothes in a bucket, or wasting money on expensive laundrettes, and instead use the gadget for a quick and efficient clean. With a curve ‘n’ click top to keep it fully watertight, the scrubbing can be done inside the comfort of the tent or caravan. It also does duty as a dry bag - perfect to keep those valuables damp-free.

How does it work?

To wash clothes, pour water and cleaning liquid (laundry liquid, shampoo or body wash will do) into the Scrubba wash bag, roll down the top and clip together the handy seals. Next, open the valve and squeeze to expel air.

Then simply rub the clothes against the in-built urethane washboard for around three minutes and repeat to rinse. A transparent window located in the centre of the bag allows the user to see the effects of their efforts, whilst specific stains can be targeted by scrubbing the item of clothing on the washboard with the watertight bag open, using just a small amount of water inside to minimise splashing.

Why is it needed?

Cheaper than using local laundrettes 
More effective than hand washing 
Quicker and less messy than cleaning clothes by hand 
100% portable; extremely light at less than 180g 
Promotes green travel 
Multifunctional (see a host of alternative uses here)

Managing director and inventor Ashley Newland says: “Independent product testing by a leading international white goods manufacturer to determine washing efficiency shows that clothing cleaned in the Scrubba wash bag for three minutes with the same amount of detergent is twice as effective as washing by hand, and resulted in similar soil removal results to using a washing machine.”

For more information, visit or follow the links from The Scrubba wash bag retails for £41 including P&P. Team it with the Scrubba Kit, which includes a peg-free clothes line and microfibre towel for drying clothes, available for £69.