The Scrubba Tactical Washbag is a nice little design intending to keep your bags a little lighter by offering you the option of cleaning clothes easily and effectively.  While I posted my initial impressions here, I’ve now had the opportunity to air my dirty laundry a bit.

To recap, the Scrubba is a polyether bag with a built-in washboard of sorts made from little rubber nodules.  Using the Scrubba is easy: simply add clothes, water and a little detergent. Using the air-lock valve to deflate the bag, manhandle the bag for a minute or so.  Open it up, wring the clothes out, rinse the clothes off and you should have yourself what is advertised as a “machine quality wash”.

I decided to put it to the test

After a few days hunting in the rocky hills of eastern Oregon in 100°+ heat, I was left with a small pile of pretty funky clothing.  I picked out the clothes with the most stank: two pairs of Ranger Panties and a DCU top that hasn’t been washed since midway through my last Afghanistan deployment (in 2004).  There’s a layer of salt crust on there that I think might require Holy Fire to remove.

Yes, the Scrubba is a simple-to-use product.  I tossed in my clothes, dumped in 3/4’s of a gallon of water and a little dash of laundry soap.  My advice is to add a little water to the soap prior to loading in the clothes to let it get a bit sudsy, but I’ll get into that a little later.  Rolled the top of the bag down and clipped it shut.  Opening the air valve, I squeezed all the air out.  Tossing the bag on the ground, I then used my body weight to mush, grind and rubba the Scrubba for about a minute and a half.  Not getting a whole lot of movement out of the clothes due to the full-on vacuum, I let just a little air in and washed the clothes for another half-minute.

Opening the bag, I dumped out the water and started wringing out the clothes.  A quick rinse, then another wring-out.  I found a convenient branch in the sun nearby and aired out my laundry.  A couple of hours in the sun and I was ready to pack up and move out, cleaner no doubt than when I arrived.

But how clean?  I keep coming back to the advertising point of “machine quality wash” because it is both a bold claim and the easiest reference point for us all.  I gave the washed laundry the only two tests that matter: the smell test and the eyeball test. First up, the DCU top.  Smell test?  Fresh!  Eyeball test?  Still some sweat and salt stains around the collar.  I think even a machine would have a little trouble getting those out though…  Second up were the Ranger panties or “silkies”.  These are also known as the “undergarments of freedom” and an “oasis for your crotch“.  The eyeball test is a little tough on black material, so it was on to the smell test.  They were considerably cleaner than when they went into the Scrubba, smelling like they had been worn a bit but showing none of the eye-popping, stomach-churning reek they went in with.  Drastically cleaner?  Yes.  Machine quality?  Close but no cigar.

Here’s where I want to go back and cover the adding soap/water before clothes.  The directions say to add them all in step one, but if you add clothes first, the top clothes get the soap while still concentrate and the bottom clothes get it once watered down and dirtied.  I could have and should have figured this out ahead of time, but experience breeds success quicker than anything.

At the end of the day, the Scrubba Tactical washbag does indeed get the job done.  Taking up very little space, this product can clean your clothes pretty well as long as you have an ample supply of fresh water.  Coming in at $55, if you find yourself traveling often the Scrubba washbag is a good option to look at to reduce your packing list and increase your hygiene.  Check it out!