How To Make Your Own Eco-friendly Dish Sponge | The Tawashi Scrubber

Repurpose old socks to easily make a long-lasting eco-friendly dish sponge: the tawashi scrubber! (No knitting experience required.)

We love making our own cheap, safe, and effective home cleaning products and cleaning equipment to protect our health and the health of our planet. We make a conscious effort to avoid toxic industrial cleaners (i.e. window cleaners, dishwashing soap, laundry detergent) and cleaning equipment that is detrimental to the environment and our health (i.e. synthetic sponges, disposable mopping pads).

One of our favorite DIY cleaning equipment projects is making a tawashi scrubber or sponge, which is a type of sponge that originated in Japan. The tawashi scrubber is an eco-friendly dish sponge made from old socks or tights. Here are 4 reasons we love it:

  1. This eco-friendly dish sponge is a fun and quick crafts activity to do with friends or kids.
  2. We get to repurpose old socks and give them a new life! And we usually have a few old spare socks on hand.
  3. It allows us to stay away from synthetic sponges treated with harsh chemicals and that are made from ingredients derived from petroleum.
  4. This eco-friendly dish sponge can be sterilized in the washing machine and used for many months, longer than an ordinary sponge.

So, are you ready to make your own eco-friendly dish sponge?! Here are the materials you’ll need and the steps to follow.


  • Old thick stockings, tights or socks – Due to Microfiber pollution it would better to make the sponges with 100% cotton socks.
  • A wooden board (at least 16-20cm (6-8”) per side)
  • 20 nails
  • scissors
  • a hammer
  • a pencil
  • a ruler
  • a protractor or try square

How to make your reusable tawashi board:

Use your pencil, ruler and try square to draw out a 14cm (5.6 inches) square on your wooden board.
Use your pencil to mark dots along the square: the first dots need to be 3cm (1.2 inches) from each corner of the square; the other dots need to be spaced out 2cm (0.8 inches) from each other (see image).
With your hammer, firmly plant the nails into the board onto each of the 20 dots.

How to make your own eco-friendly dish sponge:

Cut your socks, tights or stockings into 10 rings up to 8cm (3 inches) thick.
Attach the rings to the nails vertically: start by securing one ring to the nail closest to you on the left and stretching it to attach it to the opposite nail furthest from you on the left. Attach 4 more rings vertically.
Weave the remaining rings horizontally in and out of the vertical rings: start by attaching a ring to the top left nail on the left side of the square and pass it over the first vertical ring, under the second vertical ring, over, under and over and then hook it to the opposite top right nail on the right side of the square.
Attach 4 more rings horizontally, but weaving the opposite way with each new ring: Horizontal rings 2 and 4 would be under, over, under, over, under.
Unhook any ring from its nail, then unhook a second ring right next to it. Pass the second ring into the first ring. Hold on to the second ring and let go of the first ring.
The second ring now becomes the “first ring”.
Continue this step all around your square. Tighten as you go, as needed.
The final ring that you end up with is the hook that you’ll use to hang and dry your tawashi sponge!

Keep your wooden board to make more tawashi scrubbers for your household and your friends!

Permaculture Principles applied:

Produce no waste

Those old socks or stockings that you no longer use can have a second life! Instead of sending them to landfill, why not turn them into a durable dish sponge?

Use Small and Slow Solutions

When you take the time to slow down, creativity flows. Old socks that might have been considered “junk” become cute and colorful eco-friendly dish sponges. Enjoy the time spent with yourself, friends or kids making these fun tawashi scrubbers.

PermaCrafters, USA


A blog to discover new skills for self-reliance as you delve into homesteading. Let your imagination run free as you concoct your own medicine, cosmetics & cleaners, handcraft unique decorations and tools, create nourishing recipes for your body and soul, grow your favorite foods, and redesign your lifestyle with permaculture!

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