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A tawashi (たわし or 束子, lit., a bundle) is a scrubbing brush for wet cleaning, of a style that is popular in Japan. Traditionally, tawashis were made of a hemp palm.

In Japan, sponges used for rubbing and washing are now treated as forms of tawashi.
A metallic tawashi (金属たわし, kinzoku tawashi) is made of metal; steel, stainless steel, and brass are frequent choices. They may be used in removing scorching and rust.

Several synthetic polymers are frequently seen:

  • A polyurethane sponge is sometimes called sponge tawashi (スポンジたわし, suponji tawashi).
  • Nylon sponges, sometimes called nylon tawashi (ナイロンたわし, nairon tawashi), are suitable for washing tough stains, but should not be used on delicate items.
  • An acrylic tawashi (アクリルたわし, akuriru tawashi) is a tawashi made of acrylic, typically knitted or crocheted.

A luffa sponge, or luffa tawashi (ヘチマたわし, hechima tawashi), is used as a body scrub.

In recent times,[vague] some tawashs are crocheted from cotton yarn, producing the eco-friendly tawashi (エコたわし, eko tawashi), which is scratch-free, and used for dishes and small cleaning jobs. (The prefix eco- (エコ) indicates that it creates less pollution because[vague] it can be used without soap or detergents.[1]

Gallery of tawashi styles[edit]

Tawashi from late Edo period
A popular Japanese design for a tawashi, said to resemble a young turtle
A yellow polyurethane sponge with a green nylon sponge. It is called sponge tawashi in Japan.
A luffa sponge, called hechima tawashi in Japanese

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ogawa, N. (September 9, 2009). "Magically Clean Eco Tawashi". Craft. 9: 114.