Life on the Road – My Top 5 Scrubba Laundry Tips

We could qualify as Scrubba power users.


Our Scrubba relaxing in Belize between loads

Practicalities of life on the road include doing laundry. I found a great product that really helps.

Called The Scrubba – it was created originally for backpackers. It solves the problem of getting clothes really clean using a minimum of water.

The Scrubba is basically a dry sack, like what kayakers use, that is lined with a plastic ‘nubby’ washboard. It’s the little nubs that scrub the clothes cleaner than hand washing.

We own two thanks to separate trips we took last fall – even in our goal to minimize belongs, sometimes duplication is worth avoiding custody battles… I was off to Europe with my friend Jeanna while Joel would be sailing the BVIs. No excess clothing could tag along!

After 2 years of pretty much constant use, we’ve become pros at keeping on top of our laundry chores with the Scrubba. Traveling light requires it.


My Top 5 Scrubba Travel Laundry Tips:

  • Wash frequently to allow for dry time in preferred spaces. I hang clothes for better airflow and most rentals or hotels have just a few hangers. Believe me, no one likes to have ‘dainties’ drying in their main living space – for many reasons…

Small loads keep clothes off chairs, tables, etc. and air flow speeds dry time

  • Chose travel clothes with some or all synthetic content. These wring out easily and dry quickly. For nicer clothes such as sweaters or dress shirts that are prone to wrinkle, wear base layers that can be rinsed out between washings of the outer layer.
Caye Caulker

This trip is pretty casual but sweaty!

  • Carry concentrate liquid detergent. This keeps the cost down compared to buying single use boxes and it’s readily available when dirt happens. With leakproof, TSA compliant bottles I’ve found this to be less messy than powdered detergent.

These two will last a good part of the trip before we move inland

  • Squeeze out clothes firmly and hang for a few minutes in the shower before hand wringing again. Once this excess water has been removed, rolling clothes in a towel and wringing will absorb more water leaving most clothes damp dry. (I tend to use the bath mat to wring since: it will be the most absorbent; I don’t care if it’s damp when stepping out of the shower; and I have yet to find a hotel maid that doesn’t replace it daily no matter what the “go green” hotel instructions state.)

Bathmats don’t seem to be included

  • Become a clothes climatologist – think “surface area” and “gravity is your friend”. Turn clothes inside out several times while drying to get airflow on both sides of the fabric. Hang thick areas like waistbands higher so moisture will flow into the thinner fabric areas like pant legs.

Wicking water down from the thick band


I’ve found for traveling light in mid-range accommodations (en-suite bathrooms), clothes lines and quick dry towels aren’t worth the luggage space.


Between times when we have really easy access to a washing machine, the Scrubba is pretty much how we do our laundry. When necessary, we can go about a month before we have to plan for a laundry stop of some kind. Most people don’t need to stretch it this far but even a couple of mid-vacation washes can ease your packing load.

If you have a trip coming up that requires light packing, check out The Scrubba! It can be purchased online including outlets such as Adventure Cycling Association’s Cyclosource catalog (we love this organization!)


Have any travel laundry tips?