How to Make Crochet Scrubbies

Homemade twine kitchen scrubber and crochet hook
A homemade twine tawashi. Tawashis are a type of scrubbing brush common in Japan.

Robert Brown / Getty Images

Durable, stylish, and easy to make yourself, crochet scrubbies are an excellent alternative to traditional kitchen sponges. From scouring dishes to wiping down countertops, a scrubby can do everything a sponge can do.

Why make the switch? Plastic sponges are limited-use items that generate a lot of waste. Researchers have found that sponges are breeding grounds for bacteria and should be replaced as frequently as once per week for good hygiene. And since sponges are chemically treated and cannot be recycled or composted, they end up in landfills, where they take tens of thousands of years to decompose.

Enter the crochet scrubby. DIY scrubbies are more durable and long-lasting than sponges. Plus, scrubbies made from natural fibers can be composted once they reach the end of their usable life. Once you make one, chances are you'll start finding ways to use scrubbies all over your home.

Finding Scrubby Patterns

It’s important to select a pattern that will work best for the scrubby’s intended purpose. There are hundreds of creative motifs out there, so ask yourself a few initial questions before you decide. How big should it be? Does its shape or thickness matter?  Does it need any additional embellishments like a palm holder or hanging loop?

The internet has a slew of options available when it comes to crochet scrubby designs. Pinterest is always an excellent place to gather ideas in the brainstorming phase. With a simple search, you can easily find scrubbies made from just about anything, even a potato sack. Most patterns, like this two-sided version or these facial scrubbies, are free to download.

For advanced crafters looking for a challenge, many websites offer intricate patterns for custom shapes. Instead of the usual square or rectangle, why not try your hand at a strawberry or a striped fish?

Tools and Materials

Now that the hard work of choosing your favorite pattern is done, the next step is to gather and organize the tools and materials you’ll need. These items are easily found online or at most major craft supply stores. Better yet, scour your local thrift stores and secondhand shops for donated craft supplies.

Yarn

Refer to the instructions from the pattern to see how many skeins the project requires. One skein typically makes 4 to 6 small crochet scrubbies. Choosing yarn is a fun step – let your creativity shine through. With color, texture, and a few embellishments, you can turn the craft into your own original work of art.

Crochet Hook(s) or Knitting Needles

Next, you’ll need a crochet hook (or two) depending on the project. They come in an assortment of colors, shapes, and materials, complete with ergonomic features like hand grips. Standard sizes, or gauges, correspond to the diameter of the hook and range from 2mm to 25mm. Again, refer to the instructions in your patterns as to what gauge is needed. A good starting point for beginner crafters is a crochet hook somewhere in the middle like a 5mm. 

If you’re knitting the scrubbies, simply find the corresponding size for the appropriate needles with the same process. Like crochet hooks, needles are made in an array of styles from bamboo and plastic to metal and wood.

Other Supplies

You’ll also need scissors and a tape measure or ruler. For the newbie crafter, helpful supplies like row counters and stitch markers can make the learning process even easier.

Fabrics to Consider

Different materials work better on different surfaces, so consider how you’ll be using your scrubby before selecting a fabric. 

Warning

Synthetic materials like acrylic, nylon, and polyester will shed harmful plastic microfibers when rinsed or laundered. Avoid using synthetic yarn for your scrubby, unless the scrubby will only be used for “dry” projects.

Cotton

When it comes to personal hygiene, cotton yarn is the best option for the face and body. It’s gentle on skin and won’t be irritating, especially for people prone to allergies. In addition, choosing a natural fiber like cotton means you can compost the scrubbies when they’re no longer usable.

Hemp

Hemp yarn is growing in popularity and becoming more widely available for crafters. It’s naturally antibacterial and just as durable as synthetic options. Hemp is also sold as cord, twine, and rope, which can be more abrasive, so be sure to choose the right ply for your project.

Plarn

One of the newest textile trends is plarn (yarn made from recycled plastic bags). This material is quick to make yourself, easy to use, and a great opportunity to choose “reuse” before “recycle.”  Scrubbies made of plarn should only be used for dry projects.