It’s DIY month around here — we do this every April, and this is our third annual DIY month! We love to encourage you to do things yourself, in your home. All month long we’ll be sharing projects, recipes, remedies, crafts, and more with you.
My husband is a self-proclaimed paper towel junky. Every time we are at Costco it seems as though we’re picking up another case. And for a long time, it’s weighed heavy on my heart watching all that bleached paper heading toward the landfill.
So when I told him we were switching to homemade cleaning cloths, he was nearly distraught. Until he realized how much money we save by not going through a case of paper towels each month. Especially since the cloths I made were from old baby blankets and retired shirts. So they were virtually free (minus the cost of thread and time). And they are small enough that they are just added to laundry I’m already doing, so we’re not using extra water for washing.
I’m not saying we’re totally off paper towels just yet. For example, I haven’t been able to wrap my head around using a cloth to dry a chicken before I roast it. And I still keep a roll of paper towels in the car in case of emergency. But for spills, bathroom cleaning, windows and mirrors, dusting, and general wipe-up we’re all about the homemade cleaning cloths.
The important thing to consider when making a cleaning cloth is this: a two-sided cloth is ideal. One side that’s absorbent and one that’s lint-free.
And a DIY cleaning cloth is totally customizable. You choose the size, the color, and the texture so it fits YOUR needs.
You can spend the money on fabric at the store if you want super-cute, totally matching, perfectly perfect cloths. Or you can up-cycle old work shirts, t-shirts, baby blankets and towels (which is what we did). It’s entirely up to you!
We use two sizes of cloths: 14×16″ for general use. And 7×8″ kid-size. (The choice to make kid-sized cleaning cloths was to encourage our littles to help out with the cleaning. Guess what? It worked!)
Homemade Cleaning Cloths
Step 1: Choose your materials.
As I said, the ideal cloth has an absorbent side and a lint-free side because no one wants streaky windows. For this set, I used retired work shirts and old baby blankets. It’s a perfect combo, and I was happy that I had “matching” fabrics. Using the same color palette makes a cute coordinated set of cloths.
Step 2: Cut the fabric to your desired size.
The first cleaning cloths I made were from an old baby blanket that I cut in half and then half again, which turned out to be a 16×18″ rectangle.
I then cut fabric from the shirts to match the quartered blankets. Since then, I’ve just been consistent with the size of the sheets because I want them to fold evenly in the basket we use for storage.
Step 3: Pin the fabrics together (outside facing in).
Step 4: Sew the edges with a 1/2 to 1-inch margin, leaving a small hole on one end so you can invert the fabric and get it right side out.
Step 5: Once you’ve turned the cloth right side out, sew again. This time, you can either use a satin stitch to close up the open end. Or, for a more finished look, sew a quarter inch hem around the entire cloth. This gives the cloth a cleaner, more finished look, and while it’s not how my first few cloths worked out, it’s how I’ve come to sew them.
And there you have it … a perfectly useful 14×16″ rectangle of absorbent eco-friendly goodness.
Step 6: Get cleaning!
NOTE: I store the cleaning cloths in a cute basket on a child-height shelf in our kitchen. They are visible (one reason it’s nice if they’re cute) and easily accessible to everyone in the house, which makes them more likely to be used!