A couple of years ago I decided to replace my dish cloths and facecloths with handmade ones. I wanted cloths that would last. Cloths made from natural cotton or cotton and linen.
Easy right? I have knit and crochet for years so I simply made the cloths. I discovered some things I want to share with you.
Cleaning Handmade Cloths
Handmade cloths smell if you don’t clean them properly. They have no sizing or chemicals to keep the smell away. That is your responsibility. Just throwing them in the wash will not stop them from smelling. There are a couple of ways to keep them fresh.
The Old Housewife Trick – From my childhood – Bleach your cloths regularly. Back in the day that meant weekly. It really depends on how often you change your cloths. They should be changed every couple of days but at the least once a week.
If you’re lazy like me I save mine up and soak them all together.
Fill a large bucket or container with hot water. (Container should be about the size of a footbath). Add approximately 1/4 cup bleach. Mix the water and bleach together before adding the cloths so they don’t get bleach marks. Soak for about 15 minutes. Wring out and launder as usual.
Bleaching your cloths will fade them. You can use a bleach for colors but it doesn’t work quite as well.
My Herbalist Hack – Because hey I’m an herbalist. This can be done using a soak cycle on your washing machine if you have one. You can also do it in a container like the bleach.
First soak – combine 3 tbsp baking soda with hot water. Mix well and place the cloths in the mix. Soak for 10 minutes.
Second soak – Clean out container. Refill it with hot water and add 1/4 cup lemon juice. This will kill any bacteria on your cloths and make them smell nice as well. Soak cloths for 15 minutes. Wring out and launder as usual.
I learned this one the hard way. Lace patterns look amazing prior to the first use. After that not so much. If the cloth is knit very tightly you won’t get as much stretch. No one is going to take time to block cloths every time they are used!
Sorry can’t seem to get this to insert upright. This is an example of a tightly knit cloth. It has been washed a number of times and maintains it’s shape.
Knit or Crochet Which is Best
It is all about personal preference. I have a friend that only likes thin cloths. Personally I don’t care. I love knit cloths but I really love crochet cloths.
A round cloth made from cotton and linen. It is thinner so my friend would like it. It maintains it’s shape well so I like it.
A square cloth I made out of leftover 100% crafter cotton. It is much thicker and maintains it’s shape really well.
These Daisy cloths are my all time favourite! They are fun to make, great to use and maintain their shape completely. A simple smoothing out will have them back in the daisy shape. A bit thick for my friend but I love them.
What Are They Made Of
Most cloths that you buy or have given to you are made from 100% crafter cotton. It is thick, comes in many colors and lasts a long time. There are thicker and thinner versions of this cotton. For people wanting to make their own keep this fact in mind.
I like the crafter cotton for dish cloths and makeup remover pads.
For face cloths (aka spa cloths) I prefer a cotton linen blend.
These are simple square facecloths rolled to look like cupcakes. They are made in Cotlin from Knitpicks. (The link for knitpicks is on my home page). It comes in gorgeous colors and is really soft. These cloths get softer over time.
Thick, thin, knit, crochet, the final decision is get what you like. No matter what you get though remember, Handmade takes a little more care than store-bought.