Stop Throwing Away Your Mesh Orange Bags and Do This Instead

Finally, you can put those leftover mesh fruit bags to use by learning how to make a scrubbie!

Food packaging is not exactly sustainable. After unloading your groceries, you’ve probably accumulated lots of plastic bags and stuck them inside another plastic bag. Until stores offer more sustainable packaging, the best thing we can do is cut down on single-use plastics as much as possible.

While it may not be possible to eliminate single-use plastics from your home, you can repurpose them and extend their life a little longer. For example, put those mesh bags to good use and make a scrubbie out of them!

How to Make a Scrubbie at Home

You’ll need four empty mesh bags to make your own scrubbie. Make your scrubbie after you’ve unloaded all your groceries, or save mesh bags over time until you have enough. It’s totally OK if one of the mesh bags is stringy or broken—just use that bag for the center. Make sure to save your finest mesh piece for the outer layer.

  • Step 1: Roll the messiest bag into a tight ball. This will be the center of your scrubbie.
  • Step 2: Insert the balled mesh bag into another mesh bag. Roll it up to make it secure.
  • Step 3: Repeat with another mesh bag.
  • Step 4: Roll the mesh ball into your finest mesh bag. If this bag has a metal piece, turn it inside out first to prevent scratching.
  • Step 5: Secure and use your scrubbie until it accumulates too much gunk.

What can I use this for?

Use your “new” scrubbie anywhere you’d use a store-bought one. It’s especially helpful for scrubbing food residue off dishes that can’t go in your dishwasher. Fun fact—your dishwasher is actually better for the environment than washing dishes by hand.

When it gets dirty, simply soap it up and rinse it out—for a more sustainable approach, use a homemade cleaner or white vinegar.

While this trick helps you get a little more life out of your mesh fruit bags, there are far better ways to reduce your plastic use. If you can, shop with reusable items like cotton produce bags.

Sarra Sedghi
Sarra is a Birmingham-based writer and editor specializing in food, travel and history. Throughout her 10 years in digital media, her work has appeared on sites like Taste of Home, Allrecipes, Eater Atlanta, MyRecipes and Tasting Table. In 2021, her story “How Bootleg Fast Food Conquered Iran” was adapted in the anthology “Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide.” When she’s not writing about food, Sarra is honing her craft of narrative writing, watching (and sometimes reviewing) anime, testing out local restaurants and spending time with her dog and partner.