The revolutionary washing bag that will save you precious space and money

WORDS & images Monica McInnes


Laundry on the road can get tedious and expensive if you’re using caravan park laundries or town laundromats. And what if you’re bush camping and don’t have access to such amenities?

Enter the Scrubba wash bag – a laundry system in a bag. I road tested this baby for three months while travelling through central Australia, the Kimberley and the Pilbara, where some of Australia’s toughest laundry challenges were met!

Best used outdoors so you don’t spill water inside your camper or van, you’ll first need to separate your clothes into suitably sized washing piles. Printed instructions on the side of the bag suggest a load size is a couple of shirts, four pairs of underwear and two pairs of socks. I found this limiting for our family of four (two adults and two children, aged five and one).

Next, fill with water. At its maximum recommended limit, you’ll need three to four litres of water. Fill from a tap or from a nearby fresh water source. There’s a clear panel on the side and a water level mark to help ensure you don’t overfill. When it’s full, roll down the top and clip it together, just like a wet bag. At capacity, it can be a little heavy, so set up your outdoor ‘laundry’ near your water source.

After adding laundry liquid, the official instructions printed on the bag say to deflate using the air-valve before washing the clothes by rubbing them against the internal washboard (use the ground or sturdy table for this). Pay attention to sharp sticks or table splinters to prevent bag damage.

I added in my own step of shaking the air-filled bag to agitate the clothes before deflating and rubbing. I’m not sure if it cleans the clothes any better, but to me it added value to my washing process.

Be careful not to add too much laundry liquid. When you let down the valve bubbles spill out, plus you’re likely to need more than one rinse to remove all the soap. Using a wool wash (look for an environmentally-friendly option) minimises bubbles, and some people claim there is no need to rinse at all. I still did for peace of mind.

Washing complete, empty the water near a tree, then wring and hang the clothes. Turn the Scrubba wash bag inside out and hang in a shaded area to dry – this airs it out and helps maximise its lifespan.

My only gripe with the Scrubba wash bag is its capacity size. A day’s worth of clothes for our family required at least three loads. That’s a lot of time, water and elbow grease!

Fellow Scrubba wash bag users suggested multitasking by gently rubbing the clothes in the bag with my feet as I sip my morning coffee, or washing in the shower. That is, fill from shower head and rub bag on the floor of the cubicle.

All things considered, the Scrubba wash bag is definitely a valuable item in our camping kit. Come replacement time I’ll choose the ‘tactical’ brown version, used by the military, to help camouflage the inevitable dirt marks camping gear attracts.

Bargain tip: Sign up and receive a 10% discount on your first Scrubba wash bag purchase.