Survival Product Review: Scrubba Washer

Even if you are actually living in your bug out location and have a foolproof plan that has been in use for years, you never really know what will happen to cause certain aspects to fail. Beyond that, even advanced preppers may forget about doing laundry, or come to the realization that they don’t have lightweight, useful equipment available to get through the early stages.

The Scrubba Washbag offers a lightweight, compact solution that can meet short term laundry needs.

What It Is

Dubbed as the “smallest washing machine in the world”, the Scrubba Washbag is a waterproof bag with a specially designed, flexible scrub board panel within the bag.

Scrubba washer interior

You can wash just about any kind of garment in the bag and expect reasonably clean clothes. Once you are done washing, simply let the bag dry out, fold it up, and store it away until you need to wash clothes again.

What It Does

With the Scrubba Washbag, you do not need to worry about washing clothes in the sink or in a nearby stream. All you need to do is place your laundry in the bag along with some soap and water, then rub vigorously for a few minutes in order to agitate the clothes against the internal washboard.

After soaping and scrubbing, you can also use the Scrubba to rinse your clothes or even wash again if you need to use a pre-wash and then full wash process.

How to Operate

In order to use the Scrubba Washbag:

1. Open the bag and put in laundry. It will fit approximately 2 shirts or 2 pants, some socks, undergarments, and a small towel for a single load. Any fabric suitable for immersion can go in the Scrubba without problems.

2. Add detergent and 1 to 1 1/2 gallons of water. Watch inside the bag to make sure that you do not go above the fill line.

Scrubba washer filled with water and laundry

3. Try to let some of the air out so that you can fold the top of the bag down to the air valve.

Scrubba washer

As you fold the bag over, be sure to do so in narrow bands to create a better water seal.

Folded scrubba washer

4. Push the black clips together.

Closed scrubba washer

5. Let air out through the escape valve.

Scrubba washer

When you have as much air removed as possible, close the valve.

Closed valve scrubba washer

6. Push on the bag and roll it around so that clothes rub against the scrub board. Do this for approximately 3 minutes. You will see the water becoming dirtier as the garments encounter the scrub board.

scrubba washer demo

7. Let the dirty water out and refill with another 1 to 1 1/2 gallons of clean water to rinse. Repeat Steps 3 – 6 until water in the bag remains clean. Alternatively, you can soap the garments again, use pre-washes, or multiple washes as needed. Just make sure that your last cycle is a rinse with just clean water.

8. Remove clothes from the bag and set out to dry.

9. Let Scrubba Washbag air dry, and then fold up for usage later on.

Experiment and Outcome

In order to test the Scrubba, I chose a small towel with dried, set-in stains from blood, ketchup, gravy from beans, fruit juice, and mustard. Next, I added a greasy kitchen towel and grimy socks that had not been pre-washed before using the Scrubba.

I used the $1.00 detergent from Dollar Tree, Sun non-bleach additive from the same store, and a total of 3 gallons of water (1 1/2 to wash, and 1 1/2 to rinse.)

stained laundry and detergent

Mustard and fruit juice washed out completely after one scrubbing. Well over 75% of other stains were also removed. Greasy kitchen towel still came out on the grimy side. An additional wash cycle would have completely cleaned the other stains. The towel was beyond saving before washing, but still noticeably improved by using the Scrubba Wash Bag.

Cost and Long Term Maintenance

You can buy the Scrubba Wash Bag at for $54.95 USD, or 49.99 at other online retailers. Depending on availability, you may find it in camping stores or other locations dedicated to outdoor living.

Typically, the Scrubba Wash Bag will not require any maintenance. Simply make sure it is dried out after each use to prevent mold, mildew, and other problems. It will also help to rinse out the bag and make sure that no residue of dirt and soap from the garments remains in the bag. When storing, also make sure to avoid placing on or near sharp objects that might puncture the bag.

Operational Cost

The cost associated with using the Scrubba will depend on the cost and availability of clean water and soap. If you happen to be in an area where water is plentiful and know how to make your own soap, it may not cost you anything in terms of monetary outlay.

Needless to say, if water is scarce or you do not have soap on hand, it may be necessary to barter or pay for these items. When water is especially scarce, you may want to consider using methods to filter/distill water and then reuse it just for the laundry.

Since the Scrubba Wash Bag can be used with a minimum of 2 gallons of water from start to finish, it is more than possible to carry this much water with you and find ways to reuse as much as possible.

Day to Day Uses

Even if you aren’t planning to go off the grid anytime soon, or don’t camp much, the Scrubba can still fit into everyday life. In fact, business travelers, college students, people that need to wash a few things in a hurry, and many others make surprisingly good use of the Scrubba Wash Bag.

Without a question, if you are interested in water conservation or don’t want the expense of maintaining a regular washing machine, the Scrubba can suit your needs fairly well. This includes letting your children wash their own clothes on a regular basis as part of chores.

Survival Uses

Since the Scrubba Wash Bag requires no electricity and very little in the way of water and soap, it is perfect for any and every survival situation. You can purchase one bag and share it among several people, or make sure that each person in the group has their own Scrubba.

Since this device weighs less than a pound, it is very easy to toss in a backpack and take along wherever you happen to go. Once you arrive at your bugout location, the Scrubba will still work perfectly for as long as needed.

Scrubba washer in original package


There are four main advantages to using the Scrubba Wash Bag:

  • Lightweight, small, and easy to carry.
  • Requires very little in the way of water and soap.
  • If used properly, you will not get splashes on your face, etc, or grimy while using the Scrubba Wash Bag.
  • Gets clothes clean in a minimal amount of time and with very little physical effort.


Even though the Scrubba WashBag works well, it is very small. There is no way to get several sets of clothes done. If you happen to be the group member responsible for doing laundry, you will wind up doing several loads as opposed to just doing one via other methods.

It is also very important to make sure the bag dries out fully after use, since mold and mildew tend to generate very quickly in just about anything you wash clothes in.


Individuals looking for alternatives to the Scrubba Wash bag can always try using a conventional wash board, rocks near a water source, or ringer washers. Each of these solutions will require far more physical effort and resources.

Since wash boards and ringer washers are much heavier to carry than a Scrubba Wash Bag, having at least one bag on hand may truly be useful if you need to discard the others in an emergency situation.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the Scrubba Wash Bag a 9.75. I would have preferred a slightly larger bag, but still found this size useful enough for most needs. Scrubba is suitable for anyone looking for an effective, light weight clothes washing solution for crisis and post-crisis times. If you purchase one of these bags now, you are sure to find it useful on camping trips, or even if you need to wash just a few piece of clothes in a hurry.

About the Manufacturer

Calibre8 Pty LTD is an Australian company founded by Ash Newland, a patent attorney. Upon planning for a mountain climbing expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Newland realized that a flexible wash board combined with a water resistant bag might just revolutionize the way we wash clothes in places far away from conventional washing machines or in other situations.

He quickly found that the prototype for the Scrubba Washbag was incredibly useful in terms of washing clothes and preserving water.

The story of Calibre8 seems to be one of resilience and determination. Newland made use of donations from a crowd funding platform and money from pre-orders to build a factory and manufacture the Scrubba Washbag.

Even though the company was only founded in 2012, it has already donated over $25,000 for water drilling and developing water resources in nations such as Bangladesh and Ethiopia.


This article has been written by Carmella Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Written by

Carmela Tyrrell is committed to off gridding for survival and every day life. She is currently working on combining vertical container gardening with hydroponics. Tyrrell is also exploring ways to integrate magnetic and solar power generation methods. On any given day, her husband and six cats give thanks that she has not yet blown up the house. You can send Carmela a message at editor [at]

Latest comment
  • Love it. I bet will sell tons to our convenience-addicted society. Great find!

    I’ll stick to tossing the tiny plastic washboard I picked up a MUJI inside my dry bag with a squirt of Dr Bonner’s soap and save 50 bucks. But this is a great find and will be very useful for many people. Learned to do it backpacking in the AZ desert … another place very short on water … but that you still need pack liners and dry bags, lol.