The "cocograt" (or "coconut gratounette") is the dishwashing sponge of the future. It is compostable because it is made from 100% natural material (coconut fiber rope). It lasts a very very long time (over a year), does not rot and remains odorless thanks to the antibacterial action of coconut, and it always stays clean, because it washable in the washing machine. It is a perfect replacement for green scouring sponges, which are petroleum derivatives that pollute extremely well during manufacture. As such, the cocograt scratches, but does not scratch utensils. It is particularly well suited to washing stainless steel utensils. It constitutes an even more ecological alternative than the "tawashis", Japanese sponges which are certainly economical, but not very ecological in the end (the plastic polluting the ocean being mainly composed of polyester fibers escaping from the clothes with each wash, it is rather unwelcome to recycle your polyester tights into a sponge which will reject all the more when you rub with it…). It dries very quickly, because it retains little water and it works as well dry (scratches hard) as wet (scratches well). Finally, it is pretty (for a sponge)!
Step 1. Draw your dream sponge template
- Using a ruler and a pencil, draw on the board (or your wall or any other support) a rectangle the size of your future sponges (approximately 9 X 6 cm). If you can't make right angles, a cuboid should do just fine.
- Mark points with a pen every 1 cm on two opposing sides in your rectangle (the long sides of the rectangle or the small ones, it doesn't matter). These points will be used to materialize where the points will be planted.
Step 2. Make the backing you will weave on
- Plant the tips at the points, using the hammer. You should have as many points on one side of the rectangle as on the other, otherwise you have missed your rectangle, but also your parallelepiped!
- If you are using nails (which therefore have heads), you may have to drive the nails completely so that they go through the board, and then work the sponge on the side where there are the points (board upside down).
Step 3. Cut the rope to the size you need
Measure about 2.50 m of rope using the tape measure and cut with scissors. The sponge should use about 2.5m, but you better be careful and have some headroom just in case
Step 4. Start your sponge
- Tie the rope with an overhand knot on one of the points at one end of your rectangle. The goal is simply to keep the string on the point to prevent it from wandering when you do the following.
- Remember to reserve about 10 to 15 cm of rope before the place where your knot is located, because this small piece of rope will serve you at the end of the work.
Step 5. Make the first frame
- Pass the string behind each nail so that the string zigzags between each opposing nail. You must go behind all the spikes, in order.
- The thread should be tight, but not too much either, since the braiding you will do next will tighten this first weft.
Step 6. Tie an overhand knot
When you get to the end of the last point, tie an overhand knot with the string around that point, to prevent your string from getting anywhere afterwards as well
Step 7. Braid the first perpendicular line
- To carry out the braiding, you will have to pass the rope perpendicular to the first weft (therefore perpendicular to the threads already stretched previously), passing the rope once over and once under each thread.
- You must start the perpendicular braiding on the side where you made the knot (and as soon as you have made the knot on the tip).
- To make it easier to weave if you are having difficulty with agility with your fingers, you can do this step by passing the string through the middle of the sponge rather than near the tips, as the threads are less taut in the middle. (in theory).
Step 8. Tighten the weave
Once the rope has passed to the end of all the threads (above, below, etc.), pull the whole rope so that it passes completely and with your fingers like claws, tighten well (pull) this first line well against the points, to compact the weaving. You will need to pull the string and tighten it with your fingers at each new line
Step 9. Weave the following perpendicular lines
- If your twine ends up coming out of its 1st row below, for the next one, simply pass it over the last twine it touches and start again by going above, below, etc. (And conversely if your rope ends up coming out of the sponge from above, then pass it under the last thread, etc.) With each new line, you must therefore find yourself doing the reverse of the line previous (where the thread went above, it now goes from below, etc.).
- Make as many rows as you can, pulling the row tight against the previous one each time. The more you press against the previous one, the more rigid your sponge will be and the better it will be in time (your fingers should not go through, otherwise, tamp a lot more).
Step 10. Remove the sponge from the holder
- When the first weft becomes too tight to pass the threads or when you are almost at the end of the weft, you can safely remove the sponge from the tips by simply sliding it upwards (hence the idea of not have nail heads that would interfere with this sliding).
Step 11. Continue braiding and finish your last row
- Continue your braiding as before, as the threads are no longer stretched by the nails, it should be even easier.
- To finish your work, you need the cord of your last row to come out of the side where the 10 cm end of string remained from the beginning. If not, try making an extra line (if necessary, use tweezers to pass the rope between each thread if you can no longer make it with your fingers)
Step 12. Tie a double knot
Once your two ends of the rope come together, tie a double knot
Step 13. Make an additional loop (optional)
You can then cut the two ropes directly, leaving a few centimeters of margin or make an additional loop to hang the sponge, to dry it for example. For that, after having made the double knot and leaving a little free string (to make the hole of the loop), take your two strings together and make them make a simple knot, but together (as if you were making a simple knot. on a string, except that the difference is that you take your two strings as if there were only one). Tighten that last knot tightly and cut, it's a knot that will get even stronger if you try to stretch the loop hole
Step 14. Test your sponge
- There you go, your sponge is ready! Admire it from all angles, be proud to have taken a little of your time to test ecological alternatives and above all… test it!
- You can wash your sponge from time to time in the washing machine without special precautions, from 30 degrees. Over time, your sponge should shed some of these fibers in the sink, but should still remain strong (having a grid over the mouth of the sink allows you to pick them up easily and otherwise, if it's your sink kitchen, will save you a lot of trouble with unblocking in general). Then, when at last the death in the soul, you will have worn it to the point that it will be time to think about throwing it in the trash… do not do it, compost there!
- It is possible to make the cocograt by knitting it with knitting needles (medium size). For this, you will need to split the 3.5mm wire which is too big and use 6m of wire per sponge. The knitting is quite difficult, you must be careful to knit very loosely (otherwise you will not be able to slip your needle through the loops). It also requires more patience and skill (the split wire being more fragile), but this method is longer and less easy, which is why we will not present you here. You can, however, try if you wish.
- Using other materials for the wire may allow you to have a softer sponge (which rubs less hard), if you find that it is too scratchy for your utensils.