Fun and quick upcycling project: Make kitchen unsponges from fabric scraps and old towels.

The other day I made cute kitchen ‘unsponges’ from fabric scraps and an old towel. I love them because they are environmentally-friendly, save money and reduce (plastic) waste. Plus this is a great way to upcycle old fabric scraps and old towels and turn them into something useful. I will share the full tutorial in this article, so read on to learn how to make them yourself.

Upcycle old fabric scraps, save plastic, money and help the environment

The kitchen unsponges are very quick and easy to make and it’s a fun sewing project for rainy days (or super hot days or any day really!). The big advantage of these unsponges is that you can use them over and over again. Once they are dirty simply throw them in the washing machine and then use them again. So this will save you money because you don’t have to buy new ones every other week. Furthermore, it will help the environment in many ways because you are

  • upcycling old fabrics which would otherwise end up in landfill
  • reusing the same unsponge
  • saving plastic
Quick and easy sewing project

I’m always looking for ways to reduce plastic in our household and for ideas to use up fabric scraps. So I was quite excited when I found this handy tutorial online. This quick and easy sewing project is awesome because it offers the perfect solution for both of my quests. So let’s get into it!

To make the kitchen unsponges, you need

  • fabric scraps, ideally cotton.
  • an old towel or flannel for the middle padding
  • hessian, muslin or thin towel for the scrubbing side
  • sewing machine
  • scissors or rotary cutter

Cotton fabric scraps are best, avoid synthetic materials as they won’t hold water. Also, I made my unsponges without hessian and they’re still fine. These DIY unsponges won’t get burnt bits off pans and pots but they are great for cleaning dishes and really everything else in the household.

Since I throw the unsponges in the washing machine once they’re dirty, I made a few so I can rotate them and don’t run out. Three is probably a good number but I had so much fun making them that I made five. You can always gift them to friends if you made too many.

Sewing instructions:

Gather all the materials and cut the fabric, towel and hessian into same size pieces. There are no rules on size and shape. I made mine rectangle and squared because I find it easier to sew but a round shape works too. Size-wise my unsponges are 10cm x 15cm but you can make them bigger or smaller. Size doesn’t matter, whatever suits you is perfect!

The unsponges require a certain thickness, so I use one layer of fabric and two or three layers of towel/flannel (plus 1 layer of hessian if you use it). Again, there are no rules here. If you prefer a thicker scrubber add another towel layer. Go with whatever thickness you prefer.

Layer the fabric pieces. Place the padding layer on the bottom, then pin the scrubbing and the topping layers on top so the right sides are together.

Sew the layers together and allow for a seam of 1cm all the way around. Leave a gap on one side of the piece and always backstitch at either side of the opening to give it some strengths when turning.

Turn the pad inside so the topper fabric and the scrubbing fabrics are right side out. Push the corners out, I used my pair of scissors but be careful not to damage the pad. Fold the seam allowance at the opening in so that it is fully inside.

Sow around the whole pad and allow for a 5mm seam. This will close up the opening nicely. (I actually didn’t do that and instead sewed the opening shut but I will definitely do that next time as I think it looks nicer.) Then add another layer of stitching at around 1cm. This will give the pad a more polished finish.

Done! These unsponges are so much better for the environment and your wallet than plastic ones. And, once they’re at the end of their life you can cut them into little pieces and compost them given you used 100% cotton.

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