Inspiration / Knitting / Sustainable Sewing

Knitted washcloths

Anyone who knows me personally knows that i’m a little bit of a nut about recycling and reusing things. I hate waste. I hate throwing useful things away. I would much rather drive ages out of my way to dispose of something in the best possible way, or find some way to reuse it, or someone who will reuse it, than throw it in the trash. I hate trash. HATE>

To me, scrubbing sponges are just trash. Gross trash. I hate sponges, they gross me out, they’re synthetic and they only get used a few times before being thrown in the trash. I also hate fabric scrap waste. I end up with so so many fabric scraps, serger scraps, cut offs – and i also hate throwing them in the bin (sidebar: i’d really really like to get a massive compost bin at some point so i can include all my natural fibre scraps in it, ah the dream!).

So a few years ago i made the decision to take my fabric scraps and try to find a useful way to reuse them. This was one of my projects! I took my serger scraps, joined them to make balls of “yarn” and knitted very basic square washcloths. Over a period of about three years i’ve made many more, and now we have a nice little stock pile of reusable wash cloths for the kitchen. They are imperfect. I like that. Some of them are made of a mix of different fabrics, which actually works quite well for scrubbing. When they get dirty they go in the wash with the tea towels, and the cycle continues. So far i’ve only had one die, and that was because we used it to scrub our airconditioning unit and it literally fell apart. I think thats fair enough hehehe.

I’m really happy with this project. It makes me proud to have found a way to use up these “useless” pieces of fabric, and i’m thrilled that we haven’t bought a sponge in three years.

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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9 years ago

This is such a clever idea! I knit dishcloths out of cotton yarn, and to make scrubbies I create yarn from cutting strips of old net/mesh curtains (clean!) and knit them together with the cotton.

As far as fabric scraps go, I find if I cut them into squares they make very handy tissue/paper towel substitutes. Though we mostly use hankies and reusable cleaning cloths (also made from old ripped up sheets!) sometimes you need a one use cleaner. They were going to go in the bin anyway so I may as well use them first.

Ok I’ve gone on a bit of rant here but I have just the same feelings about rubbish and reuse as you do! X

9 years ago

here, here Megan. I throw natural fibres into the compost, they take a while to break down but do eventually.. I’ve also layered fabric on the ground and covered the scraps w mulch as a weed inhibitor it when I leave a garden bed fallow. I reuse all my Chux, they eventually die but certainly a packet lasts more than a year. Chux also make compostable cloths if one were not as diligent as thee!

9 years ago
Reply to  Meg

I just built my three bin compost bin last summer. It’s great for just chucking everything in there and looks nicer than the old wire ones. Highly recommended

9 years ago

I love this idea! So great! I’ve been knitting little cotton washcloths simply because I love using hand knitted washcloths, but I never thought of using my fabric scraps to make them.

Kathleen Escalera
Kathleen Escalera
9 years ago

You sound like me …. I hate trash too! what an excelent idea, I have quite a few scraps I could try out on this and I need some new dishcloths maybe even some washcloths too. Thank you so much for posting this.

9 years ago

Yep, that is cool. And actually, quite pretty too – I love the texture of it. This actually looks like something I could and would actually knit!


[…] into the habit of taking scraps and making them into fabric scrap “yarn”. I used it for my scrubby kitchen cloths and mostly for making storage baskets (which if you follow me on instragram you’ve probably […]