Turn plastic mesh produce bags into scouring pads for your dishes. Extend the life of your sponges by using these scourers for the tough stuff. This project requires a mesh bag and nylon thread or fishing line with a needle to sew up the edge.
Step 1: Get Some Mesh Bags
These bags are sometimes used to package supermarket vegetables. They are essentially mesh tubes, closed with string on the label end and some kind of tape on the bottom. Instead of ripping a hole in the mesh to get the produce out (as was done in this picture), open up the ends of the tube instead. The tape sticks to itself but not the bag, really, so I managed to tease it off the end with a little effort. The string on the label end pulls right out if you do it right. Or just cut it, if you prefer, but try not to damage the bag.
Step 2: Fold Up the Bag
Flatten out the mesh. Putting both hands inside the tube and pulling it open seems to help. Fold the mesh into something about the size of a scouring pad. I folded mine into thirds and then into quarters with the loose ends on the outside. Depending on the size of your bag, you may want to fold it differently, or fold two bags together for a thicker scouring pad.
In the folded photo, the edges on the right are the ones that will be sewn together. After you sew them, you'll turn the whole thing inside out to hide the seam, so the loose ends (on the left) are on the outside for now so that they will be on the inside when you finish.
(The photos are in reverse order so that this step's end result is the main image.)
Step 3: Sew the End Together
Sew up the sides opposite the folded side of the pad. Cut a length of fishing line about three or four times the width of the pad and thread it on the needle if you have one. The holes in the mesh are so enormous that you probably don't even need a needle, but there are a lot of layers to go through so if you've got one it will probably make the process easier. Start by making a knot on one end, sew along the side (not to close to the edge; for durability) and end with a knot on the other end. I tried to keep everything almost snug while sewing, but a looser stitch will probably work as well.
Step 4: Turn Inside Out and It's Done
After sewing, you should have two closed sides (one folded and one sewn, opposite each other) and two open sides. Turn the whole thing inside out by pulling two corners of an open side through the inside of the pad. This hides the sewing, making for a tidier appearance and (theoretically) protecting the sewn edge from damage during use. Poke loose ends to the inside (they should be mostly inside now already) and tug the corners around to square everything up.
Congratulations, you have a new scouring pad.