Re-Use That Thing: Scrubbing Doubles!

My name is Leigh, and I have an addiction to “bad” t.v. I’m not talking about television that is poorly acted/written or produced. I’m talking about reality shows that document how crazy and amazing humans can be. My favorite examples being: Intervention, Hoarders, Toddlers & Tiaras, and My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. Why do I like these shows? This sounds bad, but I think seeing the extreme makes me feel better about myself. Watching a man crawl over mounds of his own garbage makes me feel less bad about not having taken out the recycling for a week. I admit it… it’s terrible. Josh refuses to even be in the same room when I watch one of these shows. But, to me, its fascinating.

Recently, I fell down the “Extreme Cheapskates” rabbit-hole (first season streaming on Netflix). If you aren’t familiar with the show, a film crew follows around someone (documentary-style) who is a self-professed cheapskate. Now, I’ve known some Frugal McDougalls, and many a penny-pincher… but what I find the most interesting about this show is the blurred line between saving money and how much we waste in our consumer culture. The show title is not wrong– many of the subjects of the series do, in fact, go to the “extreme”.  But, for every cringe-worthy moment of watching someone explain their re-useable toilet paper system, there is also a brilliant, money-saving idea. For every person you see who showers with their clothes on, there is also some brilliance to their madness.

My favorite tip/practice came from a subject named “Jeff” and regards re-using onion/garlic net-type bags. At FTTDWYW, you know we’re all about re-using things. Jeff proffers up that the net bags, when stuffed together, can be used as a home-made cleaning scrubber.  I am all about the maximum efficiency in all products and thought I would test Jeff’s theory against my tried and true favorite dish sponge. It didn’t take me long to accumulate enough bags to make my own scrubber. One trip to Trader Joe’s basically did the trick. After removing the produce and all skins they may have left, cut off/remove all paper packaging (and put that into the recycle bin). I then simply stuffed all of the bags into one of the smaller, more hand-held size bags.




The upcycled scrubber actually worked REALLY well. It doesn’t have as much finesse as my preferred dish sponge, but for tougher jobs it is pretty incredible. I’ve recently been working on seasoning our cast iron skillet (a post is coming) and had some serious cleaning with Kosher Salt to do. Not only did the homemade scrubber BUST through the mess, but, when rinsed, the scrubber came clean again… you know… due to the plastic. The plastic also allows it to be gentler but just as effective as a steel wool pad. So, in the end, two sponges entered the dishwashing arena and two sponges left…? The makeshift scrubber now serves a specific purpose in my unlikely arsenal of dishwashing tools. 


Another tip Jeff mentioned about these net bags is that the larger ones are great to take to the beach… which made sense to me! Could you fit that into your beach routine, Coralie?

I’m not saying we all need to cut off our own water supply, join a gym, and only shower there… but I think we can agree, as a culture, that we have a serious trash problem. Although I’m obsessive about recycling, I also love long showers. Now that we’re in Southern California, I’m trying to be better about the water… but I know I could do more still. But, every little bit helps, you know?!

Are you obsessed with bad t.v. like me? Do you have an unconventional use for an everyday item? As always, let us know!!



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  1. So, I watched all 7 episodes of Extreme Cheapskates over the weekend, and I’ve gotta say, it almost rivals Hoarders for exposing the dangerous gaps in mental health care in this country.

    Of course I went and read the Television Without Pity forums about this show, and discovered that the guy who recommended the pot-scrubber trick you mention here has published a bunch of books on living frugally. Go search “Jeff Yeager frugal” on Amazon, and there ya go.

    • I knew you would love(?) it. I just wish there were more episodes– though there is a second season that aired this past fall. I did notice that episode 6 turned into the ‘Jeff Yeager Frugality Tips’ show… All I can say is that I bet that guy is stinky.

  2. Leigh, what did Jeff take to the beach in his big mesh bag or what did he do with it once there? My sad reality is that I rately buy anything in any size mesh bag…

  3. I’m thinking like beach toys, maybe? I don’t know if they are doing it in Alabama, but in California, you have to bring your own bags to the grocery store or they’ll charge you for the bags. So, I’ve been looking again at bags in my house.

  4. Hi Leigh. It’s taken six weeks but my little nub has grown into a fully-grown scrubbie. Thanks for the hot tip. Love your site!

    • Aw! Sweet Bridget! I love that you are reading the blog! The upcycled scrubbie has quickly become my favorite kitchen tool. What can’t it do?! And, best part, if it gets too grungy, I can toss it and not feel turrible, ya know?

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