How to make a Tawashi or ecological sponge by yourself ?

Do you also have orphan socks at home who have been waiting for years to find their twin? Do you think it’s relevant to feed them false hopes? What if you offered them a new life instead? So gather your old stockings, tights and socks and transform them into an ecological and washable sponge answering to the sweet name of Tawashi.

Tawa-what? The Tawashi is a zero waste sponge. Understand: do it yourself. No knowledge of crochet, sewing or even knitting is required to consider this transformation. You can even try your hand at making your sponge with your children. It’s also a fun and quick craft activity to do with friends.

What is the origin of the Tawashi or ecological sponge?

Do you also want to make your own cleaning products and equipment by yourself? Nothing could be easier to protect your health and that of the planet. To avoid buying synthetic sponges, do you prefer to start creating a beautiful Tawashi sponge – a name of Japanese origin. In Japanese, it means “washing brush”. It is a name that also means “to scour”. These objects appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century in Japan. At that time, we did not use old fabrics made from recycled materials but palm fiber, called Tawashi.

Why make a Tawashi or ecological sponge yourself?

  • You’re doing something for the environment by no longer using synthetic sponges treated with harsh chemicals and made from petroleum-derived ingredients.
  • You can wash your sponge in the machine and by doing so, use it for several months, therefore longer than an ordinary sponge.
  • And if you want to change it, you no longer need to go to the store, you only need 5 minutes!
  • You can vary colors and sizes. Practical and aesthetic! Ideal if you want to reserve different colors for specific uses: kitchen, bathroom, outdoor, barbecue, etc.
  • You can adapt this creation and divert the technique to make other zero waste objects such as a chair cushion seat, a trivet, etc. To your ideas!
  • You renew your socks and you can treat yourself to new ones.
  • Thick old stockings, pantyhose or socks
  • A wooden board (about twenty centimeters per side)
  • 20 nails
  • scissors
  • A hammer
  • A pencil
  • A ruler
  • A bracket

What materials are needed to make a Tawashi or ecological sponge yourself?

What are the preliminary steps to make your reusable Tawashi?

For the first time you need to create a kind of mini loom. It takes about ten minutes. And once it is created, it can be used by you all the following times. With a pencil, draw a square of 14 centimeters side on your wooden board. Mark dots evenly spaced on the edge of the square you just drew. The first points should be 3 centimeters from each corner of the square; the other points should be spaced 2 cm apart. With your hammer, drive the nails firmly into the board at each of the 20 points.

How to make your own eco-friendly dishwashing sponge?

Cut your socks, tights or stockings into 10 small bands, which can be up to 8 centimeters thick. Attach the headbands to the nails vertically: start by attaching the end of the fabric to the nail closest to you on the left and stretch it to secure it to the opposite nail farthest from you on the left. Attach 4 additional strips vertically. Then weave the remaining mini headbands horizontally. You then meander between the vertical strips of fabric already installed on the loom. Start by attaching a piece of fabric to the top left nail on the left side of the square and cross it over the first vertical strip, under the second vertical strip, over the third, under the fourth and over the fifth then hang it on the top right nail, the nail opposite the one you started with, on the right side of the square.

Repeat the operation 4 times but each time weaving in the opposite direction.

Finally, unhook any loop on the side and thread the neighboring loop through the first. Let it all go. Then pass the third into the second. And so on until you have only one loop, the one you will use to hang your sponge.

How to vary the composition materials of your Tawashi?

We told you above, nothing prevents you from being creative and creating variations for your Tawashi, especially if you have a particular use for it. In Japan, the Tawashi can be a toilet accessory. In this case, opt for very soft fabrics that will suit your face. If you use it to wash yourself, opt for suitable fabrics that do not attack your skin.
Similarly, if you create a slightly more abrasive version, with hemp or sisal for example, be careful not to scratch the products you clean with it. Otherwise, watch out for your dishes!

Photo credit: Nikolai

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