DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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23 March 2015

Homemade cleaning cloths

During the week as I was ironing I came across a pillow case that was frayed and very thin in a few places. It came in a set of a fitted sheet, top sheet and two pillow cases and to the best of my knowledge it's about ten years old. A lovely pair of blue and white check sheets that I always enjoyed using and thought looked lovely and fresh on the bed. Oh well, all good things must end, the rest of the set survived. I got four good sized rags from that one pillow case and they will probably last for another year, working for a different purpose. I love doing those little things that help me save money and lighten our foot print here. Such a short amount of time to make a difference.


As the fabric was so thin, I decided to make the rags double thickness so after I cut it into four, I stitched the perimeter to keep it together, then pinked the frayed ends off. The pinking will ensure the edges don't fray again and when I'm cleaning, I won't leave threads of cotton behind.



I haven't bought any sort of cleaning or washing up cloth for about 12 years now and have been very happy with how I can extend the life of worn out fabrics simply by cutting them to shape and tidying up the edges. I smile when I think of young Rhonda buying cleaning cloths and throwing out useful old towels to landfill. Such an innocent I was, working for the enemy. I think in those 12  years I probably saved close to $500 just on cleaning cloths. Amazing eh? Here are the current cleaning cloth prices at my local shop: Chux original 10 pack $3.99, Chux super giant 5 pack $3.99, Jif Ballerina cloth @ $1.70 each, Woolworths cleaning cloth domestic wipes extra $3.29, Chux kitchen scrubs non-scratch 4 pack $2.54. On the other side of the coin, a recycled pillow case, towels and sheets: zero, maybe five cents for the electricity. And it has the added advantage of not sending more rubbish to the tip - not the old commercial cloth when it's short life is over and not the packaging that it comes in. I wonder what a ballerina cloth is.


And speaking of dish and cleaning cloths, Faye's post on The Blessed Hearth about loving your kitchen struck a cord with me.  I took Faye's lead and decided to make up a couple of fabric cleaning cloths to see if I liked them. The answer is a resounding YES! I love using them for washing up, wiping down the bench tops and general cleaning. So I made up a few more to test over the coming months.

 Right sides together on the inside when they're sewn.


Cut off the inside corner so it doesn't bulk up when you turn it out and form the corner.

When the sides are sewn together and the cloth is turned out to the right side, edge the border with zig zag stitch.
This is the most basic of sewing so if you've never attempted anything on the sewing machine before, this is your project. Simply cut out a square as big as you want it to be, mine are about 10 inches square. I think you need two layers for absorbency, and they have to be sewn together.
  1. Turn them so the right sides are facing inwards, then stitch around three sides. 
  2. Cut the right angle corner off fairly close to the stitch line so it will sit properly. 
  3. Turn the cloth right side out, turn the hem of the fourth side under and pin it, then zigzag stitch around the border of the cloth. 
  4. Finished, but don't forget to wash the cloths before you use them. Many fabrics are dressed with chemicals and it needs to be washed off.
I made two cloths with flannel one side and recycled terry towelling on the other for heavier cleaning. They don't dry as fast as the knitted cloths, but it's not a problem if I hang them to dry in between uses or on the side of the laundry hamper when they need a wash.

I made seven cloths in about 25 minutes. So if you aren't a knitter, here is a good way of making cleaning and washing up cloths that provide a good cleaning tool and cost next to nothing. Believe in yourself, you can do this.


19 comments:

  1. I had not thought to pink the edges ..good idea

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  2. Hi Rhonda.. You did such a wonderful and easy tutorial,,, I need to make more, too from an old worn out flannel sheet.. Love flannel... Hope you are having a great weekend.. xo

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  3. Your idea of cutting up old sheets to use for cleaning cloths is brilliant and so resourceful! I knit dishcloths to use in my kitchen. When the dishcloths start getting thin, or a bit ratty around the edges, I recycle them to my rag pile. They, in turn, getting a second life! And those flannel washing clothes for washing up...they look so soft...

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  4. You have some very beautiful cleaning cloths! We always rip old sheets into rags for dusting. They aren't sewn and the edges fray a little, but it doesn't really matter for rags. I love my knitted dishcloths and can't believe how many sponges we used to go through.

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  5. A lovely post. I do the same, make my own cloths and never buy. Cut up old t - shirts too, they are superb for polishing boots and shoes. Gives me a lovely feeling, to be making do and making less landfill. Homemade is great too and not second to bought cloths in any way. Pam

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  6. I'm a big fan of quick practical projects. Thank you:)

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  7. Rhonda, I just love Faye's blog and especially love the photos of the snow where she lives. It always looks like a Christmas card scene. I also use up my old sheets, etc. for cleaning. Thanks for taking the time to do the tutorial.

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  8. These are some beautiful cloths you made. I love recycling old t-shirts, pillowcases etc for dishcloths or rugs too but I never stitch the edges. Yours are simply adorable.

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  9. I enjoyed reading your tutorial. I never buy cleaning cloths either. I can't say I've neatly stitched my homemade rags into such nice-looking cloths, but your post is inspiring me to make some nice cloths from leftover flannelette fabric. I re-use old t-shirts too, but mainly for rug making. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  10. Good morning (just) Rhonda. Once again you've inspired me, I have a towel that has served us well for about ten years but it's completely given way about a third of the way down. As you know I am a very backward sewer but I can still make cleaning cloths -- out with the pinking shears!

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  11. This is a FAB idea and really frugal! My wife is just about to purchase her first sewing machine so I definitely send her over to check out your wonderful blog! A really great find :D

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  12. I love this idea and I have everything on hand to make them. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  13. a great post & an excellent & very easy tutorial!
    i have started saving everything material/fabric, yarns, wool etc, just so i can make things frugally, though one of my daughters did buy me a big bag of those micro cloths so i don't need any 'rags' atm all my frayed & non used items are waiting for a project, want to do a throw out of the flannelette i'm collecting. i still knit dish cloths too, love using those for the dishes
    thanx for sharing

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  14. I made up a set of the flannel cloths to use for the bath when Si was born. I love them.

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  15. When my cleaning cloths are no longer able to be used in the home ,I use them in my garden.... they ( if they are made of cotton ) are the perfect weed mat under mulch .... the worms love them.

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  16. Clever. I use old sheets and things as "rags" for cleaning, but I've never sewn them together to increase their absorbency. Good idea.

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  17. I made my own burp cloths this way for when my children were newborns. They loved the bright colors as they grew and I enjoyed making the cloths prior to their birth. I still use some of them around the house for minor cleaning tasks, but passed the majority of them onto a friend when she was expecting her first little one.

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  18. I'm a newcomer here. I just loved your term "the enemy". I laughed out loud at that, but it's true! The Enemy is there to take our money from us and keep us in the dark as to how we could do without or make our own product--for far less money! Love it! And I love being a home maker! I was in the store yesterday looking for dishwasher tablets and noticed a dishwasher cleaner packet for sale... I read the ingredients: baking soda! Ha!

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  19. Two things my husband mentioned that impressed him when we first met: I had a collection of saved rags for cleaning (from old things that had worn out), and I had found several kitchen cabinet metal handles (that matched his handles) in a public trash dumpster and saved them. So funny! (Well, I impressed him with other attributes too).

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