DIY Zero Waste Kitchen Sponge

DIY Zero Waste Kitchen Sponge

I was using my dish sponge, you know those blueish ones you can buy at the store, to clean up after dinner and realized there has to be a better way as it always gets smelly after so many uses. My husband said why don’t you make a sponge that can be cleaned and reused. Well if you know me, I like a good challenge, plus I love when I can sew a project that is also helping the environment. I didn’t want this DIY zero-waste kitchen sponge to be plain jane so I went with patterned fabric and I like how they turned out. As with all the sewing projects I do, you can customize with colors or patterns of fabric to your liking and style.

DIY Zero Waste Reusable Kitchen Sponge

Supplies for Kitchen Sponge

Sewing Supplies for Reusable Sponges

DIY Zero-Waste Kitchen Sponge

Wash, dry, and press fabrics if desired. For the fabrics, I have found that the end result has fewer flaws when I pre-prep my fabrics with wash, dry and press. It is not necessary to wash/dry tulle, and do not iron it. Now your fabric is prepped let’s get started on the DIY zero-waste kitchen sponge.

Cutting Fabric with Rotary

Using a rotary mat and cutter, cut both fabrics and the tulle into 5” squares. Cut as many squares as you would like to have finished sponges out of all fabrics. If you prefer your sponges to be a rectangle shape, feel free to cut them in that shape instead! Depending on how many sponges you plan to make, it can be faster to cut 5” strips of fabric and use your rotary cutter to “slice off” 5” squares. You can also layer your fabric for faster cutting! I did squares because I had the pre-cut squares on hand.

Sandwich Fabric and Pin

We will be making fabric “sandwiches” next. On the bottom, place a flannel square. Then layer two squares of tulle. Turn one layer 90 degrees so the tulle is not aligned – better scrubbing power! Then finish your “sandwich” with a patterned square, face down. Pin once or twice in the middle of the square to hold.

Ribbon to Hang Sponge

 If you wish for your sponge to have a loop to hang it with, cut a 4-5” strip of ribbon.

Ribbon Laid in Fabric

Fold it as shown in the photo, and sandwich it between the tulle and the patterned piece (look closely at photos!). Pin once to hold the ribbon in place.

Quarter Seam Stitch sewing

Using ¼” seam allowance, stitch around an individual square.

Inch and Half opening

Be sure to leave a 1.5” opening in the middle of one side. See photo for reference on where to leave the opening. Be sure to backstitch on both sides of the opening when initially sewing the “sandwich” together. You may also want to backstitch over the ribbon to reinforce strength for hanging the sponge.

Snip the corners to cut down on bulk inside the sponges.

Opening to Flip Fabric

Through the 1” opening, turn the fabric right side out. Be sure to turn so that the patterned fabric is on one side, while the tulle AND the flannel are on the other. This will allow the scrubbing side to be more durable. Gently use a turning tool to push out the corners and sides of the squares.

Sponge Square Right Side out

Fold the opening in (it should already be tucked in slightly) and hand press all the way around the sponge.

Stuffing Fabric with Polyfill

Using the small opening, stuff the sponge with stuffing. You’ll want to pack it quite a bit, but not too much – it will be hard to sew through if you put too much!

Stuffed Sponge

Close the opening using a hand-sewn invisible stitch. This can also be called a blind stitch or ladder stitch. See directions below (there are photos for each step):

a.     Using the same color thread as before, thread a needle and tie a knot at the end.

Stitch Step 2

b.     Insert your needle from underneath and inside one folded side of the opening. 

Stitch Step 3

c.      Go across to the other side of the opening and insert your needle along the top edge of the fold. You’ll want to pick up a small amount of fabric along the fold and poke the needle back out.

Stitch Step 4

d.     Repeat the last step coming across to the side you began with. Continue going back and forth between fabrics with the small stitches along the top edge of each folded side. It will begin to resemble a ladder.

Invisible stitch Step F

f.       Pull your stitches tight (but not too tight, or it will bunch!) to close your opening.

Sponge Invisible Stitch G

g.     Insert your needle under your last stitch and come back out of the fabric, then pull your thread tight through the thread loop you created. This will tie a knot in the thread. Repeat once more to secure the knot.

Invisible Stitch Step H for Kitchen Sponge

h.     Insert your needle into the seam right next to the knot you made. Push your needle through the “pillow” of the sponge and come out in the middle somewhere. Pull tight and trim the end of your thread – it will enclose the end of the thread inside the sponge, so you have no loose ends to snip off.  

Finished Reusable Kitchen Sponges

Topstitch around the whole sponge about an inch in from the edge. This will create a square in the center of your sponge, which will hold the stuffing evenly in place throughout the sponge. Feel free to try an “x” shape as well if you’d like!

Your sponge is finished and ready to use!

Finished DIY Zero Waste Reusable Kitchen Sponge

To keep your DIY zero-waste kitchen sponge ready to go and smelling fresh make sure to wash and dry frequently. Always squeeze out excess water when you are done using your sponge. Wash your kitchen sponge frequently in the washing machine. I recommend making multiple, so you always have one when another is being washed!

If you loved this DIY zero-waste kitchen sponge tutorial make sure to save it to your favorite Pinterest sewing or zero-waste board.

How to Sew Zero Waste Kitchen Sponges
Yield: Reusable Kitchen Sponge

DIY Zero Waste Kitchen Sponge

DIY Zero Waste Kitchen Sponge

Easy step by step tutorial on how to make zero-waste reusable kitchen sponges.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $10.00

Instructions

  1. Wash, dry, and press fabrics if desired. It is not necessary to wash/dry tulle, and do not iron it.
  2. Using a rotary mat and cutter, cut both fabrics and the tulle into 5” squares. Cut as many squares as you would like to have finished sponges out of all fabrics. If you prefer your sponges to be a rectangle shape, feel free to cut them in that shape instead! I did squares because I had the pre-cut squares on hand.
  3. We will be making fabric “sandwiches” next. On the bottom, place a flannel square. Then layer two squares of tulle. Turn one layer 90 degrees so the tulle is not aligned – better scrubbing power! Then finish your “sandwich” with a patterned square, face down. Pin once or twice in the middle of the square to hold.
  4. If you wish for your sponge to have a loop to hang it with, cut a 4-5” strip of ribbon. Fold it as shown in the photo, and sandwich it between the tulle and the patterned piece (look closely at photos!). Pin once to hold the ribbon in place.
  5. Using ¼” seam allowance, stitch around an individual square. Be sure to leave a 1.5” opening in the middle of one side. See photo for reference on where to leave the opening.
  6. Snip the corners to cut down on bulk inside the sponges.
  7. Through the 1” opening, turn the fabric right side out. Be sure to turn so that the patterned fabric is on one side, while the tulle AND the flannel are on the other. This will allow the scrubbing side to be more durable. Gently use a turning tool to push out the corners and sides of the squares.
  8. Fold the opening in (it should already be tucked in slightly) and hand press all the way around the sponge.
  9. Using the small opening, stuff the sponge with stuffing. You’ll want to pack it quite a bit, but not too much – it will be hard to sew through if you put too much!
  10. Close the opening using a hand-sewn invisible stitch. This can also be called a blind stitch or ladder stitch. See directions below (there are photos for each step):
  11. Using the same color thread as before, thread a needle and tie a knot at the end.
  12. Insert your needle from underneath and inside one folded side of the opening. 
  13. Go across to the other side of the opening and insert your needle along the top edge of the fold. You’ll want to pick up a small amount of fabric along the fold and poke the needle back out.
  14. Repeat the last step coming across to the side you began with.
  15. Continue going back and forth between fabrics with the small stitches along the top edge of each folded side. It will begin to resemble a ladder.
  16. Pull your stitches tight (but not too tight, or it will bunch!) to close your opening.
  17. Insert your needle under your last stitch and come back out of the fabric, then pull your thread tight through the thread loop you created. This will tie a knot in the thread. Repeat once more to secure the knot.
  18. Insert your needle into the seam right next to the knot you made. Push your needle through the “pillow” of the sponge and come out in the middle somewhere. Pull tight and trim the end of your thread – it will enclose the end of the thread inside the sponge, so you have no loose ends to snip off.  
  19. Top stitch around the whole sponge about an inch in from the edge. This will create a square in the center of your sponge, which will hold the stuffing evenly in place throughout the sponge. Feel free to try an “x” shape as well if you’d like!
  20. Your sponge is finished and ready to use!

Notes

Be sure to backstitch on both sides of the opening when initially sewing the “sandwich” together. You may also want to backstitch over the ribbon to reinforce strength for hanging the sponge.

Depending on how many sponges you plan to make, it can be faster to cut 5” strips of fabric and use your rotary cutter to “slice off” 5” squares. You can also layer your fabric for faster cutting! 

MORE EASY DIY ZERO WASTE PROJECTS

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22 thoughts on “DIY Zero Waste Kitchen Sponge”

  • This is awesome instructions and so easy to make. can you hand sew the sponge if you don’t have a sewing machine? thanks and enjoyed watching that.

  • I don’t quite understand the “no waste” part of the name. To me that implies using scraps of things that you would otherwise be throwing out. Sponges can be washed in the dishwasher and sterilized in the microwave for longer use. I’ve used dish rags instead of sponges for years, either bought or made, sewn, knitted or crocheted.

    • You can use scraps. The zero waste is making something that it reusable were most sponges are intended to be used for a period then thrown away where these can be wash and reused. Using rags or dish towels work too this has a little extra scrubbing power due to the heavy tulle.

  • Where did you get your tulle? I have been searching online, and I only find tulle that says do not wash or was delicately. That would seem to defeat the purpose of adding tulle. Thank you.

  • Jean – zero waste, from the crafter’s side, can also mean using up ‘tons’ of leftover fabric scraps and stuffing materials that might otherwise sit in a drawer as wasteful clutter. These are so adorable, compared to the usual boring yellow sponge, and so quick and easy to make, they’d make delightful donations to women’s shelters, young marrieds, just-starting singles, church kitchens, etc. just to brighten things up a bit. A great way to put potentially unused fabric bits to great use – instead of perhaps becoming landfill refuse years down the road. Accolades to HappiestCamper!!

  • I love this idea and plan to make some to reduce my use of paper towels. May I link this website to a “nonconsumer” facebook page I follow?

  • This speaks to me so much! I have made some reusable fabric sponges before, but they never really worked as well as I’d hoped. I just LOVE the idea of the two layers of tulle, as well as stuffing it. I was wondering if the stuffing helps it create lather? Pinning and definitely going to try this! 🙂 Lisa

  • I hope to give these a try! Do you think they can be tossed on the upper rack of dishwasher, as I do with my regular sponge now?

  • Instead of purchasing tulle, if you don’t have it, why not use some of the plastic tulle-type bags that hold oranges or onions, etc. This would be something that you would normally throw away, but would be free and now would be kept out of the landfill. Just a thought.
    This tutorial is wonderful and I will be making some of these to give away for little Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers.

    • I think using that from oranges could work as long as it had small enough webbing to not add too much bulk. If you try it let me know how it works out as it sounds like a great idea.

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