Introduction: The Forever Sponge Project
Tired of using a dirty, stinky sponge to clean your dishes? Why not make a Forever Sponge?
By redesigning a normally disposable item, your kitchen dish sponge, into a beautiful and valued possession, we believe we can stop the unsustainable "use and toss" cycle that is destroying our planet while upgrading your sponge to one that is more hygienic.
The goal of this project is to shift our mindsets about this one household item FROM DISPOSABLE + DIRTY + UGLY + CHEAP TO DURABLE + CARED FOR + ADMIRED + VALUED
The design for this project is a simple sponge made from upcycled wool + hemp fiber filling The 3.75" x 3" case is sewn from upcycled, high wool content fabric and .5 ounces of US-grown hemp fiber filling (simple sewing is required and can be done by hand or with a sewing machine).
These two materials are naturally antimicrobial, super absorbent and can last for a VERY long time if properly cared for. Forever sponges have been tested and work great.
Now, nothing lasts forever, but these sponges are workhorses and with proper care, they can last 6 months to a few years depending on how much they are used.
Once you make the switch you will never need (or want) to buy another petroleum-based or disposable "eco" sponge ever again.
Any used high wool content fabric. 5" X 10" Some 100% wools will felt down and shrink too much so a bit of a blend is ok but you may get some pilling after a few months of use from the synthetic fibers.
High-quality wools like cashmere work great as they don't tend to felt as much. Try making a few sponges from different pieces, you will see the difference.
The wool fabric could be from an old scarf or sweater. Make sure it is woven fabric and not a knit that would unravel if cut. Just think, one old sweater can provide you with enough sponges for a decade!
The sponge filling is .05 ounces of economical hemp fiber.
This craft size box of hemp fiber ships for free within the US and will go along way. Hemp fiber can be composted and is 100% biodegradable, unlike most petroleum-based sponge materials.
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Step 1: Cut a Rectangle From Your Scrap Wool
Cut a rectangle from your scrap wool that measures 7 1/2" X 4 1/4"
Step 2: Fold Your Fabric in Thirds
If your fabric has a right and wrong side, start with the fabric right side up.
Fold one side down 2 1/2 inches
Fold the other side up 2 inches
Hold in place. Since it is such a small sewing project there really is no need to pin.
Step 3: Sew the Edges Closed
Stitch the two short sides closed. Your seams should be 1/4" from the edge.
Turn the sponge right side out and poke your fingers into the corners and make sure your sponge is a nice square-ish shape.
Step 4: Fill Your Sponge With Hemp Fiber
Take your time and fill your sponge bit by bit so it is more even and you don't create any hard clumps of hemp fiber.
Rinse your hemp sponge under warm water. Hemp is a natural plant fiber and will act like a tea bag and will tint the water a bit to start but this will soon wash out.
Step 5: Care for Your Forever Sponge
Care for your sponge and teach the other household members how to as well.
To care for your Forever Sponge you must do a few things:
After each use, clean off any visible food particles and wring any excess water out of the sponge.
Store your sponge in a location where water can easily drain. A few river rocks in a dish makes a great sponge drying spot and looks nice too.
Use your nose to make sure your sponge stays clean. If you ever sense a musty smell soak your sponge overnight in a cup of water with a few tablespoons of vinegar.
Inspect your hemp fiber after a few months. If it looks brittle or if it is no longer absorbent simply compost it and replace it with a new .5 ounces of hemp fiber.
You can wash your wool sponge case in the washing machine, but I never do as it gets hand washed every time you use it!
One pest that may like to nibble on your Forever Sponge are moths. To keep them away I spray my sponges with a solution of lavender essential oil and water before shutting the kitchen down for the night. This will also help to keep your sponge smelling great.
Enjoy your next trip to the supermarket when you can pass right by the sponge rack and all those cratered bacteria holding sponges wrapped in even more plastic. Sponges are designed with craters to trap and hold bacteria so you will toss it every week or two and need to buy a new one. But now you are smarter, now that you have your forever sponge tool kit, you can feel good that you are no longer part of that use and toss culture!
Step 6: Never Buy Another Petroleum or Cellulose Sponge Again!
Think of how much money you can save too.
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