Small Changes: Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Reusable Dish Scrubber

Continuing on with more eco-friendly projects, and a year of #smallchangesinstead, today I’m sharing an eco-friendly dish scrubber you can make while you’re streaming a movie. 

Scrubbing dishes under the sink with a natural DIY scrubber

I don’t know if I ever thought I’d own a kitchen scrubber that is cute enough to take a picture of? But guess what, I do! And today I’m sharing how you can make your own.

Did I mention it’s also made from just one supply AND that supply/material is natural, sustainable, biodegradable / compostable, and super affordable?!

So what’s this kitchen scrubber made of exactly? It’s made of jute (string). And it looks pretty cute just sitting on your kitchen counter (if I do say so myself). WAY better than a standard kitchen sponge.

Why use jute?

Jute, like sisal, is a great eco-friendly fiber. I like jute because it’s strong and a little coarse. Making it the perfect material for a dish scrubber.

Plus, it grows without fertilizers and pesticides, is completely biodegradable, uses far less water than cotton to produce, AND is one of the most affordable natural fibers available.

Why make instead of buying?

You could really go either way on this one. As I was doing research for this post, I found some affordable options on Etsy that are similar. Ultimately, it’s more budget-friendly to make them yourself.

One spool like mine (which is 400 yards) can make dozens of kitchen scrubbers like this one. And each one can last up to 3 months (maybe even longer). I’ve had mine for about three months now and it’s held up really well, despite using it everyday! 

Dish Scrubber Video Tutorial

And it’s a project you can do while sitting down and streaming, etc. Speaking of which, you can view the video for how to make this kitchen scrubber below, or check out my IGTV video on Instagram: how to make a dish scrubber.

Supplies:

*I used a burlap string that I found on Amazon (this exact one), which is made of 100% jute. It’s a little on the thin side, which is why this tutorial says to double up the string. If you opt for a thicker string though (sisal or a thicker jute) you may not need to double up.

And if you decide to use sisal instead of jute, that’s totally fine. Sisal is also an eco-friendly, sustainable fiber.

How to Make a Jute Dish Scrubber

Step 1: Start by doubling your jute string and creating a slip knot. There is no need to double up if you’re using a different material.

Step 2: Chain stitch 15 stitches.

Step 3: Yarn over and single crochet 15 times.

Step 4: Repeat the last step 14 times. Tie a knot on the last stitch.

Note about adding more string length as you go

Whenever you need to add more string, which will probably happen a couple of times during the making of this DIY dish scrubber, it’s really an easy process. Just cut more, double it up as you’ve done before, then double knot the pieces together, and cut off excess (as shown in video).

Can you use sisal instead of jute for this project?

Yes! Like I mentioned in the supplies list, you can absolutely use sisal instead. Sisal is also a great sustainable material to use. Jute is often a little bit easier to find (you can usually find it at arts and crafts stores) than sisal (and a little cheaper), which is why I recommend jute. But I linked to both on Amazon, if you want to buy online instead.

Here’s the link again to the sisal I would recommend if you want to buy from Amazon.

I’ve heard these kinds of dish scrubber referred to as an ‘unsponge’ and I like that term. But whether you call these little guys an unsponge, a dish scrubber, or that thing that you scrub stuff with, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that making your own will get you one step closer to eliminating kitchen sponges made of synthetic mystery materials.

Is this DIY dish scrubber compostable?

As I mentioned before, these just kitchen scrubbers can be used for months and months at a time. My guesstimate is somewhere around 3 months per scrubber, maybe longer. I think it’s pretty common to only use a sponge or dish scrubber for 30 days before tossing because of bacteria though. I’m no expert in this department, but that’s what I’ve read.

So whether you decide to keep each one for a long time or a short time, go for the compost pile instead of the trash. Yes! Because jute is biodegradable it’s also compostable! So instead of tossing this scrubber in the trash when you’re ready to replace it with a new one, compost it if you can.

Scrubbing dishes under the sink with a natural DIY scrubber under running water

Scrubbing dishes under the sink with a natural DIY scrubber

What other eco-friendly products can you make using this technique?

You can also use this technique to create a much larger piece as well, that can instead be used as a potholder, etc. Just be sure to use a thicker jute or sisal (something like this is a good option) if you plan to go the DIY potholder route.

You could even make a body scrubber, if that’s something you want to try.

Eco-friendly cleaning products like this one are a great place to start on those small changes you may be making this year towards reducing your use of plastics and synthetic materials.

Eco Friendly Dish Scrubber

Make your own jute dish scrubbers. These kitchen scrubbers are a super affordable (natural) alternative to using a standard sponge.

Ingredients

  • jute string exact string used is linked in blog post
  • K crochet hook if you're not using thin jute, like mine, you may need a bigger hook

Instructions

  • Start by doubling your jute string and creating a slip knot. There is no need to double up if you’re using a different material.
  • Chain stitch 15 stitches.
  • Yarn over and single crochet 15 times.
  • Repeat the last step 14 times. Tie a knot on the last stitch.

Notes

Note about adding more string length as you go:
Whenever you need to add more string, which will probably happen a couple of times during the making of this dish scrubber, it's really an easy process. Just cut more, double it up as you've done before, then double knot the pieces together, and cut off excess (as shown in video).
Tried this recipe?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

Looking for more eco friendly projects like this one? Check out my tutorial for making your own unpaper towels and 3 ways to make natural cleaning products.

P.S. Want to try this simple project and/or join the small changes challenge? Head over to this post on small changes and use the hashtag #smallchangesinstead on Instagram to join.

4 comments | Click here to reply

Definitely going to be making some of these up..
I do hope though that is not how you wash up – so much water wasted.

Stephanie Lanzetti

Glad to hear that Stephanie. And nope…that’s not how I typically wash things. 🙂
-Brittni

Brittni

Amazing work!! Looking for more from you.

Nippon

That’s a great project! I wanted to make some, but then I read how. Since I don’t knit and crochet, I won’t be able to make them.

Susie
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