One of our pet peeves is two fold --
1. those nylon scrubbie things you buy in the store just don't stand up to any long term tough use, and
2. there ought to be something you can do with all these net bags you get assorted produce in at the grocery
A while back we came up with an idea that actually solved both of those problems, and we're happy to provide here a step by step instruction to transform that pile of bags (you ARE saving those aren't you?!) into something useful in your kitchen.
Here then are the step by step directions.
Step #1: Sort the bags you have on hand roughly into sizes.
The longest ones (about 18 to 24 inches) are the best ones for using on the outside of your scrubbie.
If the bags have a label of some sort on them, cut it off. The batch I had this time had a couple with paper labels over the top (or bottom) end of the bag, so I just cut it off. If you get a bag that has a label over part of the side, just cut the label off and use that netting for part of the inside of the scrubbie.
Select one of those longer bags.
at one end, tie a simple overhand knot and pull it up tight (the nice thing about this mesh stuff is that it does clamp down on itself really well, which is useful for keeping the knot snug)
Once you have tied the knot and pulled it snug, turn the bag inside out so that first knot is on the inside of the bag.
Select one of the other pieces from your pile and loosely bunch it in your hand. (Now is when you can make use of any pieces of mesh that are not actually a tube -- like the ones that you cut labels off of.)
The idea is to seperate the mesh so it is a soft loose sort of ball instead of being all stuck together.
Once you have that soft little bunch, slide it down inside your tube from step #2.
Don't press too tight -- the idea is to leave some "bounce" in the little bunch of netting
Repeat steps #4 and #5 twice more so you'll have 3 pieces of netting inside your bag.
I try to select netting of varing size and stiffness to make each one if I have a variety on hand.
Your bag will look something like this one when you have finished putting 3 pieces inside.
If you're using little pieces or smaller chunks, you may want to put in a few more to get to a nice "poofy" size.
Once you have the desired number of pieces inside, gently bunch the bag together --
The idea is to make a compact bundle but not one that is hard -- that "air space" inside give the netting room to move around and do the desired "scrubbing" when you use it.
Once you have everything gathered together, give the bag a couple of turns to twist the top.
Then turn the open end of the bag back over the bundle giving a double layer of mesh over the outside of the whole thing.
Tie another simple overhand knot at the top of the bag.
Push it down snug to the bundle.
Trim the end of the netting close to the top (don't forget to save that piece to put inside another scrubbie!).
These little lovelies do a great job on non-stick pans without scratching and they're pretty effective on steel pans too.
I run mine through the dishwasher with a regular load of dishes at least once a week (more often if I've cleaned up a particularly nasty pan or something that had either eggs or cheese as those things seem to get inside the mess worse than other things do)
Now, aren't you glad you thought there was something you could do with those mesh bags?