The eco bath puff collection

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know about my search for a green bath puff and the various trials I have conducted with patterns and yarns. It’s not been easy and I have finally had to accept that it is impossible, using natural materials, to recreate the qualities of nylon exhibited by the standard bath puffs you can buy in supermarkets and chemists (drug stores) for a few  pounds (dollars). For example, none of the fibres I have tested produce the amount of lather that you get from a nylon puff* and all of them are much more absorbent, being more like a spherical flannel (wash cloth) in some cases.

However, if you wish to tread more lightly on the planet, sometimes you have to adapt… and I now have a range of bath puffs that have different characteristics and suit different people. All of the puffs I have made use recycled, upcycled, waste or organically produced fibres and are I make them by hand, so certainly have less impact on the earth than the commercial nylon versions. They are all crocheted by me… a skill I have learned specifically because of this project, but which I’m now using to make all sorts of other things. So, what sort of puffs have I made? The following is a list of fibres used, their source and characteristics.

Acrylic: all the acrylic yarn that I use is either reclaimed from previous projects (e.g. unravelled jumpers) or is left over from completed or abandoned projects (usually not mine!). Acrylic bath puffs are the least absorbent of any that I make, although they still hold a lot more water than a nylon puff and so take longer to dry. They have a slight abrasiveness that increases with use. They produce some lather, but this depends on the soap/shower gel you use and how hard or soft your water is. This is the sort of puff I take with me when I am travelling.

Organic cotton: So far, this has had to be purchased new, and is relatively expensive. However, it does make up into a lovely soft and gentle puff – ideal for delicate skin. You don’t get much lather and it is very absorbent so takes quite a long time to dry: you need to think of this version as a type of wash cloth. I have used two different yarns for these puffs so far: Debbie Bliss Ecoaran (in shocking pink) and Twilley’s Sincere Organic Cotton (in a pinky-beige).

Recycled cotton and acrylic: This yarn (Sirdar’s Simply Recycled Cotton- Rich), made of 51% recycled cotton and 49% acrylic, combines qualities of the two yarns described above: the softness of cotton and the reduced absorbency of acrylic. I like the principle of using a recycled fibre (from t-shirt manufacturing), but sadly the acrylic doesn’t seem to be recycled. I’ve made these in a terracotta colour and  in green (how appropriate!).

Upcycled wool: Whilst not to everyone’s taste, this is the fibre I prefer my bath puff to be made of.  The sort of wool has an effect on how abrasive these puffs are, but all wool tends to be a little bit ‘scratchy’. I use wool collected from unravelled jumpers or left-overs, so it’s rare that I know the brand or type of wool. They tend to shed some fine fibres to begin with, but this soon stops. After a couple of months of use, the wool starts to felt, but this makes them even nicer to use. I’ve made these in green and purple so far… my bath puff here at home is a purple one made from wool from an old cardigan.

So, these are my basic fibres, but I have experimented with adding a thread of hemp fibre to one of the organic cotton puffs to make it a little more abrasive, as exfoliation seems to be a requirement for some folks. And here they are:

A bowl of bath puffs!

A bowl of bath puffs!

So, if you’d like one, contact me (thesnailofhappiness@talktalk.net) – for UK customers, they are £10 each including delivery, if you’re further afield, I’ll have to check the postage.

-oOo-

* Although using GreenPeople shower gel helps a lot!

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve just been looking through your previous posts about the bath puffs (nb…your tags for them vary a bit, I’m not sure I’ve found/read them all so sorry if I say something you already covered!).

    I was wondering in bed last night about this (don’t worry, I am not blaming you for my insomnia, in fact thinking over it might have helped). The main thing I thought was about the yarn weight; those nylon puffs are effectively long strings of netting, aren’t they (It’s a long time since I had one – and they aren’t failsafe either as the centre takes a long time to dry out fully, I found)? So could you improve the results by

    (a) using a finer yarn, laceweight or so, or fine crochet thread? You would have to buy new, again, but you can certainly get some ethics in your wool yarn and the laceweight would go a long way.
    and/or
    (b) rather than just knitting or crochet, either netting it (another skill, hurrah – I’ve only done it once though on a very small scale) or knitting or crocheting a net stitch, or knitting (probably – not sure how crochet would work for this) on huge needles (eg 10mm or 15mm or even 20mm needles, or marker pens or dowelling to try out the concept without buying anything)?

    Either way then you might get a puff where more of the volume is holes, to make all those bubbles…although it might turn out very floppy, or scratchy, and you might have already tried this all anyway.

    I’m a flannel kind of a girl myself but my interest is piqued now, I’m tempted to give it a go myself just to see!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the suggestions – at one point I tried very fine yarns and twine, but it was difficult to get structure and make a decent sized puff. I have been toying with the idea of knitting a net and constructing this into something like the commercial ones, but I haven’t quite got round to that yet and I’m not sure how to make it stiff enough.
      If you do experiment, do let me know the results… it’s become a bit of an obsession (and a good excuse not to dust!).

      Reply
  1. A green bath puff | The Snail of Happiness
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