I love upcycling and reusing things whenever I can, and this project is a perfect way to get some use out of mesh produce bags that would otherwise get thrown out. I’ve seen some homemade crocheted pot scrubbers before, but… I don’t crochet. So I decided to sew my own no-crochet DIY pot scrubber using produce bags! (By the way, if YOU can crochet, you may find these free patterns and this scrubby yarn to be useful!)
My sewn plastic mesh scrubber works very well to clean a variety of surfaces, and you can easily add a sliver of bar soap to the center to make a self-soaping scrub pad. And best of all, it takes less than 5 minutes for me to make one! So here’s how to sew your own scrubbie out of mesh bags:
You will need some stiff plastic mesh produce bags. I’m using 3, but the number will depend on the size of your bags. It’s fine to cut them, if you want to use 2 and a half bags!
You will find bags with varying stiffness and mesh size. If you decide that you want softer or coarser mesh, you can pick out some nylon tulle or netting from the fabric store or check out these options on Amazon. Of course I love using recycled materials when I can, but if you are going to make a bunch of scrubbers for gifts, or if you’re looking for a particular size and stiffness in your material, you might want to go this route. Nylon netting is very inexpensive, and it comes in any color of the rainbow!
You will need a pair of scissors. (I’m in love with this pair!)
And lastly, grab a needle and thread. Really any needle and thread will work, but I’m using a tapestry needle and heavyweight thread. A tapestry needle is perfect because it’s blunt and has a large eye to accommodate thick thread. You don’t need to make any holes in the material, you just need to glide the needle through the holes that are already there, and the rounded tip of a tapestry needle makes it easy to do this without any snagging. (And I always have a tapestry needle close at hand, because I use it in this easy method to fix necklines that are too low!)
The thread will be taking some abrasion as you use the scrubber, so the thicker the better. Aim for thread made of polyester or nylon if you have it, but even a thin piece of yarn or cording would work.
To start, cut the ends off of the produce bags. Some ends might be sewn shut, and some might have a metal clip holding the bag closed. It doesn’t matter what your bags look like, just cut off both ends.
Lay the bags out flat, stacking them on top of each other. Fold the left and right edges of the stack in towards the center.
Fold the top and bottom edges in towards the middle, so that you have all of the ends tucked away. You should have one folded edge and three open edges.
Take a long, doubled length of thread and begin sewing around the open sides. I’m using contrasting thread for this tutorial, so you can see it better. But normally I use thread that’s the same color as the bag, so that it will blend in.
I sew them with a whipstitch, which is quick and easy. Take a stitch through the edge every 3/8″ (about 1 cm) or so. You really just want to keep the bags from shifting or coming unfolded, and your stitches don’t have to be perfect. It’s a pot scrubber after all, not something for the runways of Milan!
Once you’ve sewn two of the sides, you will have a little pocket. Now would be the time to add a sliver of bar soap to the middle of the scrubber if you want to. I chose to leave the soap out, because I will be using my scrub pad on cast iron, and soap isn’t good for cast iron pans. I also wash my scrubbers in the dishwasher from time to time, and I don’t want to add some random soap to the dishwasher. But of course whether you add soap to your scrubber or not is up to you, and it depends on what surfaces you will be cleaning with it. If you have an annoying almost-gone bar of soap, this might be the perfect place for it!
Now sew the last side, and remember how we’re using a doubled length of thread? Cut the thread near the needle, so that you have two separate strands. Now, make sure the needle is threaded with only one of the strands, and take a small stitch through the corner of the scrub pad. Tie the two ends of the thread together to secure them and keep your stitches from coming undone. Secure the other end of the threads (where you started sewing) the same way.
All done! The scrubber is quite durable (though of course it will wear out over time), and as I mentioned, I throw mine in the dishwasher every now and then to freshen them up. They haven’t melted or done anything crazy; they just come out nice and clean. But it’s possible that the specific mesh you used won’t hold up to the dishwasher as well, so you can try that trick at your own discretion.
Enjoy your DIY pot scrubber, and you just might find yourself saving all of your mesh produce bags from now on!