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Dish cloths that last?

 
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Al Freeman wrote:What to do with a stinky dish rag or sponge:  NUKE it in the microwave for about 10 seconds on high and then toss it in the wash.  Microwaves kill all the "wee-beasties" that make it smell bad.

I live on a small farm with NO dishwasher and septic (although I use a composting toilet).  I put a few drops of detergent into a sink filled with a couple inches of HOT water, soak my dirty dishes there until it cools down to where it doesn't hurt my hands to dip them in and then, I use a plastic scrub brush on a handle to give them each a good 'once-over'.  Next, they go into another sink a couple inches full of HOT water.  I grab them out of the HOT rinse water with baby-bottle tongs ($1 at the Dollar Store) and let them air dry in a wire basket thingy on the counter top next to my kitchen sink.

I rarely use a dishrag for dishes, but I do use one for wiping counters, cleaning up spills and so on. When they start smelling "ripe" I pop them into Mr. Microwave, then into my cloths washer and that's that.

Hope this helps someone.


Nope! It takes three full minutes in a microwave to kill germs on a sponge. It still won't be completely sanitary. You need an autoclave for that.
 
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The best dish cloth ever is cotton diapers, my youngest son is 30 years old now and I am still have a few  
 
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For a really nice dishcloth that you will use until it just wears out, I have to tell you to learn to knit or crochet or weave so that you can make your own. Use cotton, linen or hemp yarn. I knit and crochet and have made both types and they are lasting quite well. I have thrown my first crocheted one away because I just wore the thing out. Someone else mentioned rinsing your dishcloth out well and then putting it in the microwave for 3 minutes; this should work pretty well in-between washings and just let it air-dry overnight. Hope this helps. Richard in Charlotte, North Carolina.
 
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Speaking of alternatives to paper towels, my Mom makes stained glass windows, and I remember her saying that newspapers are fantastic for cleaning glass. They actually work better than paper towels.

Here's an article I found about it, if you want to learn more: http://www.grandparents.com/food-and-leisure/did-you-know/uses-for-newspaper
 
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E-cloth's kitchen cloth has served me well. They are very durable, washable and can be used without soap. They have a little scrubbing pocket as well for the harder stuff. The same company also manufactures scrub sponges and plain dishcloths.  I, too, enjoy using scrub sponges but upon taking stock of how many I go through I am making a conscious effort to not buy any more when this pack runs out.
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I make the knitted garter stitch dishclothes. I know - Ho Hum.  BUT did you think to use recycled string?  I have used string off of bundles of towels from the laundry (for when I hsd my biz). But now I use the string off of chainstich "pull here" bags of rabbit feed (also oats, sweet feed etc).  They are not very thick or long so I just stagger the plies. No knots.  About an hour in front of the TV & I have recycled & have a brand new cloth that doesnt mildew.   Thanks to you who recommend the compost heap when it is done.  Never thought of it.
 
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I use hemp fiber, wadded up into a ball.   It can be felted with a felting needle (see pic) or sewn across it to keep it in a certain shape which I do when I have time so it looks neater.  It can be composted and is inexpensive.  

Hemp fiber is said to be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial and it must be because the fiber can sit wet for days and never smell bad.  My husband commented on how well it worked cleaning the stainless cooktop today.  

I have used hemp fiber for a face and body sponge also, it exfoliates just the right amount - not too coarse and not too soft.  

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Hemp fiber sponge
 
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That would work well with flax and nettle fibre too.  Great idea.  
 
Lynne Cim
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Thanks R, I will try those too and see which felts down the best.  
 
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Dishcloths do have longer lifespan than regular sponges since they are not easy to fall apart. However, both dishcloths and sponges get stinky and dirty easily so you need to change both of them frequently. If you always wash and sterilize the dishcloths after use, you can prolong the lifespan of your dishcloth. Besides, there is a new type of scrubber which is durable and antibacterial. It's silicone scrubber. This type of scrubber has compact structure, easy to clean and dry. Not good enough for heavy duty washing but do work great for light duty washing!
 
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r ranson wrote:I love chain mail scrubbers.  Real chainmail works even better than what most people sell, but it's hard to come by.  The stuff with the round wire rings works pretty good too.  Much better than a scrub bud and lasts longer too.

I caution against using it on steel pots as it will scratch the pot.

Most people don't realise that stainless steel pots can be more non-stick than teflon pots (rivalled, perhaps, only by cast iron).  When a stainless steel pot comes from the manufacturer, it's been polished smooth.  You can keep that smooth polish by treating your pot with care.  My technique is to never use metal inside the pot, never add salt to cold water (it pits the bottom), and never clean with something harder than wood.  Do this and you'll never need to scrub your pots because they will stay non-stick.  Even burnt on stuff comes off easily.  If you do get a scratch (like a guest using a metal spoon to stir your best pot - girr!) then some baking soda, a damp rag and a lot of elbow grease (preferably that of the offending person who made the scratch) will repolish the pan.

Now chain mail on cast iron - love it!
Never tried it on ceramic.  




Hi - some questions please:

a) How long do your chainmail scrubbers last?
b) Where did you get them from?
c) Though stainless steel, did they ever rust?
d) Have you considered the Ebay ones? (one can get a 7" for about $8 shipped in stainless)
e) Are you comparing the longevity to stainless steel pot scrubbers you can commonly get in the stores in Canada? (I find they fall apart)
f) What about scratching on glassware or ceramics - does it happen?
g) I have heard that one doesnt need soap with chainmail scrubbers. Your experience?

Thanks. I am the opposite of a germaphobe, believing that exposure to germs is good for our constitution and bodies ability to learn to fight off bad stuff. All in context and reasonably so of course.
 
r ranson
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They've been using the chainmail scrubbers for about 30 years it shows no sign of wear.  But theirs are made of real chainmail - with flat links - which is different than the modern round ring mail.

They made them in the SCA.

The ones they use the most aren't stainless steel - but no sign of rust as they are using these daily and the food and soap is oily.  I haven't seen any of the stainless steel ones rust, but I suspect it would be possible if it is left in a puddle between uses.

What about scratching on glassware or ceramics - does it happen?  



I probably wouldn't use this on those.  Glass and ceramics are pretty easy to clean with soaking and a cloth.

I have heard that one doesnt need soap with chainmail scrubbers. Your experience?  



depends on how greasy the food is and if we are on a water rationing - soap means less water and faster cleaning.  

I haven't found one I like on a comercial site yet.  
 
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I also find that the home knit cotton dish clothes last way longer than recent store bought ones and they of course can be thrown in the wash and then set out in the sun for some UV rays.

A few months ago I bought some wool sponges, these are sort of locally made and helps support good land management and grazing.  They needle fet mats of wool and cut out the sponges then the sponge shrinks up, felts, in use.  I have thrown one in a hot water washing machine too.  Wool naturally is less likely to grow germs, and it can be set out in the sun to let UV work its germ killing magic as well as thrown in the wash.  The one I have been using has been lasting very well, it is not like a sponge maybe more like a thicker dish cloth but scrubs better so food particles do not get stuck in it.  They use no plastic in the packaging or mailing, they make their own glue to hold on teh package label.  

https://www.etsy.com/listing/525350767/wool-sponges?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=wool+sponge&ref=sr_gallery-1-22&organic_search_click=1

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/samthesponge/

I keep a copper scrubber, standard from the store for rare use for burnt on mess, usually I just dont burn, and soaking does wonders and once every few weeks a spot that needs a bit of Bon Ami and that with the wool sponge will take care of most hard spots.  

 
Lito George
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r ranson wrote:They've been using the chainmail scrubbers for about 30 years it shows no sign of wear.  But theirs are made of real chainmail - with flat links - which is different than the modern round ring mail.

They made them in the SCA.



Thank you. Whats the SCA?
 
r ranson
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The SCA is a group of people interested in recreating elements of medieval life.
 
Lito George
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Thank you for that.
 
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