Make one in just a few minutes!

By Emily VanSchmus and Sonja Carmon
January 22, 2021
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Store-bought sponges are wasteful, and can often be an eyesore in your kitchen. If you're been looking for an excuse to toss your bright yellow scrubbing tools, consider their environmental impact: The microplastics used to manufacture typical kitchen sponges actually come out each time you use the sponge—meaning they go straight down your drain and into the ocean, where they sit forever. 

Luckily, there's an alternative that works just as well. We'll show you how to make your own no-waste kitchen sponges. It's an easy sewing project you can finish in an afternoon, and the best part is that the sponges use printed cotton fabric, so you can choose any color or pattern you like. 

Credit: Carson Downing

How to Make a Zero-Waste Sponge

Supplies Needed

  • Cotton fabric 
  • Terrycloth 
  • Mesh 
  • Scissors 
  • Mildew-resistant poly batting 
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread)
  • Foam

Step-by-Step Directions

Follow these simple how-to instructions to make your own no-waste kitchen scrubbers. You should be able to make one in under an hour.

Step 1: Cut and Prep Fabrics

Before you can start sewing, prepare the materials: Everything used in this project is plastic-free, so you can rest easy knowing you're not washing any microplastics down the drain. And since the pieces needed are relatively small, this is a great time to use up some fabric scraps from past projects. You'll need a 5x7-inch piece of printed cotton ($13 per yard, Rifle Paper Co.) terrycloth, and mesh. If you can't find terrycloth fabric, try using an inexpensive hand towel. You'll also need to cut a 3x5-inch piece of 1/2-inch thick mildew-resistant poly batting ($30 for 5 yards, Sailrite).

Step 2: Assemble Pieces

To assemble the sponge, layer the mesh piece between the cotton and terrycloth pieces, right sides together. Use sewing pins ($3, Joann) to secure the layers together, then stitch around the perimeter with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Leave a 3-inch opening at one end of the sponge. Clip the corners, then turn the fabric right-side out.

Step 3: Fill Sponge

To give the sponge a similar texture to the store-bought version, insert the mildew-resistant poly batting through the 3-inch opening you left in the fabric. This will also give your sponge some absorbency. Once you've added the batting, fold the opening inward and topstitch it closed. To finish the sponge, topstitch around the perimeter with a 1/2-inch seam allowance—when you're done, the sponge is ready to use! Be sure to rinse off the sponge and squeeze all the water out after each use to keep the sponge looking and smelling fresh. To clean your reusable kitchen sponge, wash it in your washing machine with detergent and dry completely.

Comments (4)

Anonymous
February 18, 2021
Is mesh the same material as tulle?
Anonymous
February 18, 2021
Is mesh the same material as tulle?
Anonymous
February 18, 2021
Is mesh the same material as tulle?
Anonymous
January 25, 2021
While this is a great project, the author really needs to consider editing the wording. This project is not plastic free, as polyester in both the mesh and the batting are made from plastic. Again, excellent idea just not plastic free.