You Probably Have Everything You Need to DIY a Scrub Daddy, According to TikTok

published Dec 2, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

I find DIY videos on TikTok and other social media platforms to be as entertaining as they are useful. But every so often, there’s one that actually makes me put down my phone and try it out

The latest video that vaulted me into the #TikTokMadeMeDoIt echelon of viewers was @rosemaryfairy’s video on creating a DIY Scrub Daddy using the plastic netting that comes with some of your produce.

The minute-long video walked me through her balling up the plastic net bags from lemons, limes, and baby potatoes, into a makeshift Scrub Daddy, a product that was the absolute darling of the “Shark Tank” panel some years ago. For anyone new to the product, Scrub Daddy is a heavy-duty, smiley-faced plastic sponge that scrubs out even the most baked-on grime.

There’s not much to the process: just roll the plastic net bags into each other, pulling and tightening the netting until you have what looks like one of those small squishy stress balls (hey, now there’s another fun use for discarded plastic netting!)

I had just brought home two plastic net bags of clementines, so I emptied both into a fruit bowl. I rolled one bag up into a ball, then put it in the other bag. I rolled and wrapped the second bag around the first ball, tucking in the edges. I would suggest using smaller produce bags like @rosemaryfairy did in her video, but this is what I had on hand and so I made it work.

Credit: Barbara Bellesi Zito

When I was done, I had in the palm of my hand a mesh version of one of the clementines the netting once contained. It wasn’t smiling up at me like a Scrub Daddy would be, of course, but it sort of felt like one in my hand.

Credit: Barbara Bellesi Zito

What better way to test it out than taking on Thanksgiving dinner cleanup? I took the palm-sized orange scrubber to my kitchen sink and ran it under warm water, rubbing a drop of dish soap on the netting first to clean it off. It became cushy and pliable in my hands, and the soap rinsed out cleanly. I added more soap and tried it out on a sticky spot on my counter, where it made quick work of cleaning it up. 

Credit: Barbara Bellesi Zito

Then I took on an aluminum pan with baked-on (OK, burnt-on in some spots) sweet potatoes. After letting the pan soak in hot soapy water for a bit, I scrubbed the bottom and sides. It took some elbow grease, but I was amazed to see that even the black char disappeared. It worked! My makeshift “Scrub Daddy” did start to come undone the slightest bit, but it was mainly intact. I gave it a good rinse one more time and left it by my kitchen window to dry so it would be ready for another time. 

Credit: Barbara Bellesi Zito

Now, if you know anything about these DIY videos, you’ll know to read the comments to see other tips and tricks shared by both the poster and commenters. Here are some other clever ways to reuse plastic netting:

  • Line the bottom of a plant to keep soil from running out of the drainage holes when you water. (Thanks, @tessab13)
  • Carry shells at the beach. (Cool, @ourlifein672!)
  • Strain out the water when making pasta on a camping trip. (Smart hack, @lisaanne1992!)

In a perfect world, your DIY Scrub Daddy could dissolve or break down completely. Sadly, it does not. There was much talk in the comments about how it’s better to avoid produce without any type of plastic netting but alas, retailers are still using it. @rosemaryfairy’s valiant attempt at keeping plastic from the landfill is really just a stall tactic, but she deserves lots of thumbs-up emojis for her upcycling kitchen hack.

I’m not quite ready to retire my actual Scrub Daddy, but I did really like this hack from @rosemaryfairy. And while I’m sure my clementine bag sponge won’t last the two months that my Scrub Daddy promises to do, I’m confident it will get me through another holiday dinner cleanup this year.