Scrubs

My search for the elusive package-free natural loofah sponge has come to an end. For a while I was hung up on the idea of finding a no trash source for this amazing little dried fruit. I had hoped to use it as a dish scrubber and a shower sponge. But, from bath and beauty stores to natural food stores and even online, every loofah product I’ve come across has been wrapped in some kind of plastic. I was using Twist sponges for a while but most of their products are no longer available without a plastic wrapper. I emailed the company and was told that the initial attempt to package their sponges in a simple paper sleeve had failed because the sponges shrank as they dried on store shelves, causing them to fall out of the sleeves. What a shame to have to put a biodegradable, environmentally friendly product inside packaging that ends up in a landfill. So, the time has come to rethink the kitchen sink.

What about hemp? A friend of mine suggested knitting my own washcloths from hemp yarn. I thought this was a nice idea. I figured I could knit some small dish scrubbers while I was at it. I visited my local yarn shop and discovered that they do not carry it. I found some suppliers online but the yarn is more expensive than I had imagined and it’s all imported. Oh, that’s right–isn’t there some kind of movement to legalize industrial hemp in the United States? I started to do some research. I’ve learned a little about why so many are looking at hemp as an alternative sustainable resource, and why it’s a touchy subject in our country.

Because of its long fiber and strength characteristics, hemp is a versatile material that can be used to make paper, rope, fabric, and building materials (particle board). It is a 120-day crop that grows well with little more than rainwater in a variety of climates, and its root system actually improves soil quality. New growth tree farms harvest wood on 20-35 year cycles, depending on the tree species. Hemp pulp is naturally whiter than wood pulp and requires less chemical processing to turn it into paper. Unfortunately, because it is a non-intoxicating variety of cannabis sativa (the same species of plant that marijuana comes from), it has been illegal to grow it in the USA without a special Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) permit since 1970. So far, it is still extremely difficult to acquire this permit. ‘Hempsters’ from coast to coast are working to change that. Progress is slow.

After much deliberation, I finally decided to order some hemp yarn from an online supplier. I bought 900 yards of fair trade, organically grown, unbleached yarn that is imported from Romania. The knit square pictured above is meant for dishwashing. The fiber is naturally mildew resistant and can be thrown in the washing machine. I’m hoping that when paired a stainless steel mesh sponge, the hemp scrubbers will make dishwashing a synthetic fiber-free cinch. Slightly larger knit squares will replace the cotton washcloths I have been using in the shower. Though it’s only a small square, I find that the cotton cloth is cumbersome when saturated with water and it’s not the most effective exfoliant. Time will test the durability of my cannabis cloths.

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6 Responses to Scrubs

  1. Antonia December 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    Hi there! I was wondering what the difference between Hemp Yarn vs. the Hemp twine that you would get a local craft store is? I noticed you said the yarn was more money than you thought it would be. When I did a quick Google search for hemp yarn, the twine I see and used to make necklaces comes up. Do you think the twine could be used for a dish scrubber?

    • kitty finnigan February 22, 2016 at 8:48 am #

      that is an excellent idea. And, the twine would be coarse so it would scrub well. I think. Eneyways, good idea.

  2. Shel March 27, 2015 at 7:24 am #

    Hi! I just read this article now even though it was posted back in 2011.
    I’ve been making dishcloths from tulle and cotton but I might consider tulle and hemp after reading this post. There’s more scrubbing power with the tulle yarn—made out of cutting 1-1/2″ tulle–that is combined with the regular yarn when making dish cloth.

  3. Michele Morris September 7, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

    Could you please tell me where you ordered the hemp yarn from. I cannot find any, and I want to make the hemp clothes.
    Thank you so much,
    Michele Morris

  4. Naomi August 9, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    I use moss stitch when knitting my cloths for body washing. It makes for a thicker more texture was cloth that just St garter stitch.

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