How to make an ecological Tawashi or sponge yourself?


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

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

What is the origin of Tawashi or ecological sponge?

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

Why make an ecological Tawashi or sponge yourself?

  • You are helping the environment by no longer using synthetic sponges treated with harsh chemicals and made from petroleum-derived ingredients.
  • You can machine wash your sponge and use it several months longer than a regular sponge.
  • And if you want to change it, you no longer need to visit the store, you just need 5 minutes!
  • You can vary the colors and sizes. Practical and aesthetic! Ideal if you want to reserve different colors for specific uses: kitchen, bathroom, exterior, barbecue, etc.
  • You can adapt this creation and twist 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 afford new ones.
  • Old thick stockings, tights or socks
  • A wooden board (about twenty centimeters per side)
  • 20 nails
  • Scissors
  • A hammer
  • A pencil
  • A ruler
  • A bracket

What material is 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 make a kind of mini loom. It takes about ten minutes. And once it’s created, it can serve you again any time after that. With a pencil, draw a square 14 centimeters across on your wooden board. Mark evenly spaced dots on the border of the square you just drew. The first points should be 3 centimeters from each corner of the square; the other points must be spaced 2 cm from each other. With your hammer, firmly drive the nails into the board at each of the 20 points.

How to make your own ecological dish 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 end of the fabric to the nail closest to you on the left and stretch it to secure it to the opposite nail furthest from you on the left. Fix 4 additional bands vertically. Then weave the remaining mini-bands horizontally. You then meander between the vertical strips of fabric already installed on the loom. Start by attaching a piece of fabric to the nail at the top left on the left side of the square and pull it over the first vertical strip, under the second vertical strip, over the third, under the fourth, and over the fifth. then hook it to the nail in the top right, the nail opposite to the one you started with, on the right side of the square.

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

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

How to vary the compositional materials of your Tawashi?

As we told you above, nothing prevents you from being creative and creating variants 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 adaptive fabrics that do not harm your skin.
Likewise, if you create a slightly more abrasive version, with hemp or sisal for example, be careful not to scratch the products you clean with. Otherwise, beware of your dishes!

Photo credit: Nikolian

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