new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Dish cloths that last?  RSS feed

 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1650
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
320
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am looking for a long-lived dish cloth. My significant other is a fan of sponges with a scrubby on the back. I don't like them. They don't last, and as the sponge and scrubby fall apart, little bits fall off. Pretty sure that's not good for the septic, not to mention our messed up plumbing. I am happy to use a regular old dish cloth, but the man has a thing about them - too germy or something, I don't know. 

So! Does anyone have experience with any of these kinds of cloths? Or have suggestions for others you have used? I don't need people to suggest things they find online - I already googled it, but who knows what really works? What I would like are replies from people who actually use them, and your experiences on how long they last and how well they work.

Here are a couple of examples of the kind of thing I'm looking for. Just wondering if anyone uses something like this.

Thanks!
Tracy

Dish cloth

Rainbow Scrubbies

 
Jd Gonzalez
Posts: 225
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
13
forest garden greening the desert hunting trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We use microfiber washcloths for dishwashing. Use, wash, rinse and let dry, reuse. For drying dishes we use cotton towels (Great finds at thrift stores) .
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5865
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
351
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When we bought 'dish cloths' new, I would always go for ones without dye and just  toss in the compost  when I decided they were beyond usefulness.....I'm not sure that they are something I would want to last forever? 

We have always had 'kitchen rags' for various things cut from thrift store cotton clothing and  found the cut off short sleeves work great as a 'dish cloth' and it is also compostable at  the end of it's life...I just toss in the kitchen compost bucket and grab another....(I've relented on my no dye thing  though..not happy with it, but for the moment......)  They are washed often in the machine along with other kitchen things...no bleach, etc just a wash then sun.

My very favorite kitchen dish washer/scrubber is luffa sponge though......they are so wonderful in the bath and also at  the kitchen sink.  I just have trouble growing them and have always  meant to post a request to buy them at permies.  They do last quite awhile and are perfect for the compost in the end.

I have a drawer full of nice natural linen and cotton towels for drying dishes (rarely do we) and sometimes to impress company...for the most part we are happy with our colorful rag collection for most everything.

edit to wonder about word usage......I've always called what I think we're talking about a 'dish rag' and it's counterpart in the shower a 'wash rag'  
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6030
Location: Left Coast Canada
750
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are three things I look for in a dishcloth.  Where it came from, how long will it last, and how the material will be disposed of.

To that end, I've been using handwoven dishcloths.

They last for ages, have a lovely texture for cleaning dishes, and have a low ecological impact.  My favourites are made from cotton or linen, one can even get organic cotton yarn for this (most, if not all, linen for this kind of thing is grown organic style).  These last ages longer than commercial dish rags. 


some dishcloths I made last week.


Like Judith mentions, when worn out, you can put them in the compost, but I like to use the tattered rags as a base for a Japanese dusting cloth called a Zokin.



These things are the absolute best for dusting and for spot cleaning hardwood floors. 

What I love most about Zokin is that they are quick to make and can be made from almost any scraps of cloth (but the ones with the tattered dishrags in the center are the best).  If they wear out, then just add more cloth.  But I haven't had any wear out yet. 
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6030
Location: Left Coast Canada
750
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Judith Browning wrote:

edit to wonder about word usage......I've always called what I think we're talking about a 'dish rag' and it's counterpart in the shower a 'wash rag'  


I think it's a regional thing.  In our family, a rag is something that has outlived its original use - like something you would give to the rag and bone man who would take the rags and transform them into shoddy or paper.  So a dishrag would be an old dishcloth with holes that is now used for cleaning house.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5865
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
351
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To that end, I've been using handwoven dishcloths.

They last for ages, have a lovely texture for cleaning dishes, and have a low ecological impact.  My favourites are made from cotton or linen, one can even get organic cotton yarn for this (most, if not all, linen for this kind of thing is grown organic style).  These last ages longer than commercial dish rags. 


Yes! to this...R. Ranson.....When I was weaving full time I made some  organic hemp and cotton  'wash cloths' and crocheted some large square 'dish cloths' out of some of the heavier hemp.......they were wonderful.  The ones for dishes are long gone but the wash cloth and bar soap bag have survived fairly well...much paler than when first made six or eight years ago.  Even if someone isn't set up to weave, one could either crochet of knit excellent dish cloths from quality hemp or linen.
IMG_1391.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_1391.JPG]
hemp/cotton wash cloth and hemp soap bag
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1650
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
320
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for all the excellent replies!

I don't weave - yet    - but I can crochet, so this winter might be a good time to make some cloths.

I love the idea of being able to compost when the cloth is beyond use! That's a very good point. And I'm quite happy to use cloths made from cut up cotton/linen towels or shirts, but I think the man has issues with this because . . . well, I can't quite figure out what the issue is. It seems as if he feels that this is a 'poverty' thing. Doesn't want to look poor (but nobody's looking). It's very odd, and I don't quite understand it yet. We live in a place where almost everybody reduces, reuses and recycles. It almost feels like a left-over status thing from when he lived in the city, or . . . I don't know. He seems to be overly self-conscious about what other people think. It's silly, but it's there, so I need to learn how to work with it.

The other problem here is that the man seems to kinda have 'germ' issues - he goes through a lot of paper towels (although he's getting better due to my nagging ) because he doesn't like to use the same towel over and over to dry his hands. So I was thinking of ways to work with him on this, and still have something that wasn't a throw away/landfill issue. But I think I'm just going to have to do it my way, and let him work through it. I'm hoping he'll get past it, and stop worrying about it.

And I love the Zokin! Definitely going to put some of those together. Another nice winter pastime.

Thanks again for the tips!

Cheers
Tracy

PS Yes, dishrag and washrag are the terms I was raised with, but I find that many Canadians use dish cloth and wash cloth. Definitely a regional thing.
 
Nicole Alderman
gardener
Posts: 1442
Location: Pacific Northwest
171
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Maybe assure him that the wash clothes will only be used at most for a day before you pull out a new one. You could also spray them with vinegar after each use to sanitize them.

When he uses paper towels, maybe add those to the compost so it doesn't create as much waste? (You could even get the organic ones if you have the funds).
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 133
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The sturdiest dishcloths I've encountered are crocheted by a neighbour lady, probably out of "dishie cotton" as the yarn store calls it.  Bear in mind, I don't use these in the water, only for wiping down the kitchen counter.  But the tight crochet would probably maintain stiffness and scrubbing texture in water, and not become "limp as a dishrag".  (I admit that I find green plastic scrubbies, minus the sponge, to be most effective in dishwater; a loofah would probably answer to that.  I do no envision being able to grow those.)
 
Nicole Alderman
gardener
Posts: 1442
Location: Pacific Northwest
171
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Did you know luffa's come from a gourd? Until I read someone talk about luffa gourds here on permies, I assumed luffas came from sea sponges. So one can actually grow luffas, though I don't know how they'd do in your climate. The seeds can be bought from Baker Creek (and other seed companies, too, I'm sure.)



Here's one website's guide on growing luffas: http://www.luffa.info/luffagrowing.htm. They supposedly don't do well colder than zone 7, so probably won't work for you unless maybe started indoors.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5865
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
351
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They supposedly don't do well colder than zone 7, so probably won't work for you unless maybe started indoors.


They grow well here for some folks.  My son grew a bumper crop just a bit farther south than us and a friend here locally grows a short sponge version that does very well..they were part of her market crop.  I always forget to start them early indoors so mine usually don't mature...great viney plant and another one that deer and bunnies don't seem to like so can grow on the garden fence.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6030
Location: Left Coast Canada
750
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Luffas are great.  The only challenge I find is bits of them come off as it wears so it's not very popular for dishwashing in the house. 
I haven't been able to get a harvest off luffa yet.  I even tried the greenhouse in case it just wasn't hot enough here.  The fruit set, but they set far too late in the year.  I suspect luffas of being daylength sensitive.

Cotton, on the other hand, I've managed to get two harvests so far.  Also a daylength sensitive crop, but I'm hoping to change that by making a landrace.

linen grows great here and is fairly easy to process. 

Nettles are supposedly the best for dishcloths as they are even more naturally antibacterial than linen.  But Linen dries faster, so I still side with linen on this one.
 
chip sanft
pollinator
Posts: 417
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
32
bike books dog urban
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Judith Browning wrote:
They supposedly don't do well colder than zone 7, so probably won't work for you unless maybe started indoors.


They grow well here for some folks.  My son grew a bumper crop just a bit farther south than us and a friend here locally grows a short sponge version that does very well..they were part of her market crop.  I always forget to start them early indoors so mine usually don't mature...great viney plant and another one that deer and bunnies don't seem to like so can grow on the garden fence.


We're on the 6/7 border in Knoxville tn and luffa does well for us. We save the seeds so the plants are probably developing into a landrace, which could be why we get them to fully mature without starting them inside. We definitely get better results now than when we first grew them.

We always direct seed. They wait until it's hot to sprout, and I've seen people recommend scoring the seeds to improve germination. But like most seed-saving, once you're growing your own it's easier to just plant more seeds and let the vigorous and easy sprouting ones take over. And they will take over! This past summer I had one growing at least 20' along a fence, with plentiful fruits (some eaten and others let get big and spongy).

Even if they don't fully mature, you can still get sponges out of them, by the way. The resulting sponges are prettier if you let them dry on the vine, of course, but if it gets cold before then you can let them dry out slowly. The sponges will probably be brownish and mottled but still very usable. We have some drying right this very minute but I can't take a picture because my wife took the camera on a trip.

Want some seeds from our variety? Just pm me and I'll be happy to share. We have lots.
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1650
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
320
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The luffa is a good idea, but as R mentioned, they also shed little bits of themselves. But I am going to try to grow them, just for the novelty. Could probably sell them here. And they'll probably be good for cleaning veggies for market - carrots, potatoes, and other root crops. I'd do that outside, so the bits of luffa won't matter.

I am going to keep my eyes open at the free store for some good cloth tomorrow to use to make dish rags, and cleaning rags in general. I think that if I just start using them, he'll get used to it. I'm also going to see what kind of yarn I can find to crochet some cloths. If I make lots of cloths, then it will be easy to use one each day or two, and show him that it's not going to kill us.   

As for the paper towels, I try to get him to leave them out of the garbage so I can reuse them, and then compost them if I can.

I like the idea of spraying the cloths with vinegar - I make lemon vinegar for cleaning (and cooking!), so that would be good. And smell nice, too.

Learning to make yarn and weave is definitely on 'the list'. I've been watching videos, and learning what I can. I have no room for setting up anything right now, but when I have a studio, that will also be incorporated into the design. In the meantime, I am going to do some test growing of flax. We have lots of nettle, so THAT isn't a problem. Next year I was thinking of having a play with it and see if I can make twine. If I can make it fine enough, maybe I can use it to crochet? That would be cool.

Anyway, thanks for the tips!
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5865
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
351
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
they also shed little bits of themselves.

I wonder if that  has to do with how mature the luffas are or maybe the variety, how they are dried?  Mine don't shed... the ones I used for dishes would just  get too soft to use after a month or so.  The ones in the bath don't shed either and they are getting very old now. They are allowed to dry between uses which I think probably helps with any decay that might be happening. 

 
Linda Secker
Posts: 87
Location: Lancaster, UK
1
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i've just made some dish cloths out of face cloths..... I've folded them so they have some thickness and sewed round the edges so that they have stiff 'corners' for scrubbing. My man isn't bothered about germs, but likes the sponge with the green scrubby on the back. My plan is to use these cloths just for one or two days, then into the washer. I'll need to make more so it doesn't become a chore. we tend to use the dish towels for wiping up spills so they need washing more often. I'm hoping this abosrbant washing thing will get used for that instead. We don't use paper towels at all. My man gave me a strange look, but so far so good
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 731
Location: USDA Zone 8a
48
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't like sponges, paper towels, or dish clothes.  I don't have a dish washer, by choice.  I have always washed dishes by hand.  I like to rinse the dishes, then soak them a few minutes, then be able to feel the leftover food on the dishes and use a brush to remove anything still on the plates.  Then I don't use dish towels to dry, the dishes just dry in the dish rack.  DH uses a certain kind of dish towel as napkins.  I use gifted dish clothes as napkins.
 
Larisa Walk
Posts: 157
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our house has a rainwater cistern and we use a carbon block water filter.  When the filter gets changed out, the old one gets recycled: the carbon core when dried gets burned in the woodstove, the large rubber washers at each end come in handy for various projects, and the diamond-mesh plastic cover makes a great scrubbie for doing dishes or other cleaning jobs. It will scour away stuck on food without scratching. By the way, the only waste from the filter are the plastic ends (which get knocked off with a hammer) and the "paper" under the plastic mesh.

As for making your own dish cloths, if you knit or crochet they are the ideal project to work on if you're stuck in a meeting or waiting room as they are portable and forgiving of any mistakes in the making. After all, when in use it doesn't really matter how beautifully made they are.  When I teach beginners how to crochet, I usually recommend a dish cloth for that reason. Less intimidating than even a scarf where it is quite noticeable if the edges aren't straight, etc.  Materials can be anything from cotton string to scraps from other projects. My next ones will be from my short loom scraps (called thrums). I may just square knot them end to end and leave the tails exposed for extra texture.
 
S Tonin
Posts: 41
Location: zone 6a, ish
4
food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I grew up using crocheted cotton dishrags.  I've tried other stuff, like sponges and regular waffle-weave dishrags, but I always come back to the cotton.  My mom just makes them with rows of double crochet, but I prefer the texture of double-single alternating (like this pattern without the fancy scalloped edge).  I just started doing Tunisian crochet and I really like the texture of those, too.  I'm hoping they hold up better than the regular crocheted ones, which tend to loosen up and get holes after a couple years.  When I make the regular kind (not Tunisian), I use one hook size smaller than what's usually recommended (G instead of H for the Lily Sugar n' Cream brand); I think this makes them tighter and they last longer.

If you're not opposed to acrylic yarn, you can make crocheted scrubbies of all shapes and sizes.  Google "tawashi" for a ton of patterns.  I've never made one myself, but I was given one as a gift and it works pretty well on anything I can't use steel wool on.  I've had mine for three years now and it looks brand new.  It gets washed (usually) every time I do kitchen towels and dishrags.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6030
Location: Left Coast Canada
750
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One thing that germs love is a moist environment.  If your dishcloth can dry all the way, at least once a day, then it's darn near impossible for germs to grow in there.  That's one of the reasons why I don't like sponges. 

Luffas dry fairly quickly, so does cotton if it's hung somewhere with good airflow.  Hemp is usually too thick to dry quickly, but like linen and nettle, it has antibacterial qualities.  Linen and nettles are some of the fastest drying plant fibres (and the strongest, least likely to lint, and longest lasting). 

That said, I'm a fan of cotton dishcloths at the moment.  But I think I'll be making some more linen ones soon.  It really depends on my mood.

 
Nicole Alderman
gardener
Posts: 1442
Location: Pacific Northwest
171
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson wrote:One thing that germs love is a moist environment.  If your dishcloth can dry all the way, at least once a day, then it's darn near impossible for germs to grow in there.  That's one of the reasons why I don't like sponges. 


When I worked in preschool, we actually weren't allowed to use sponges for this reason: they harbor germs because they take so long to dry. We had to scrub everything with paper towels...which didn't work well at all. A bare hand scrubbed better than those paper towels!

Honestly, for scrubbing things, I usually just use my hands because I don't like the germy nastiness of sponges and brushes (they always get frayed and full of food gunk, and I don't want to fork out money on more of them). And, when I use my hands I can feel where food is stuck to dishes. I do use a dishwasher, though, so I'm not washing a LOT of dishes like this everyday.
 
Jeremy Sewell
Posts: 8
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chainmail scrubbers last for years. I use on ceramic plates from time to time as well as cast iron, and steel. They feel great except when you let them get saturated with grease but then I let them soak in soap for a while and then just rub them between my hands, it's kinda fun sometimes, and usually doesn't get bad unless You don't put your grease into a container before cleaning your cast iron.

It was OK on ceramic non stick if you are gentle.

You still need a normal dish rag from time to time though

https://www.amazon.com/Ringer-Original-Stainless-Cleaner-Patented/dp/B00FKBR1ZG

There are others on amazon just the first link I found.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6030
Location: Left Coast Canada
750
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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. 
 
Jeremy Sewell
Posts: 8
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R, not aluminum? I'm super rough with my stainless with metal scrubbers, never had too much of an issue with scratches, or is it a thing with high carbon steel?

Ok I guess I'm just a little skeptical, you do make me want to try it with a perfect unused pan

I've gotta go take a trip to a museum and get some real chainmail

When I used a big stainless steel frying pan for most things I would season it in a similar process to seasoning cast iron, it was great but I definitely seasoned it more often.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6030
Location: Left Coast Canada
750
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've never used an aluminium pot.  Too many health and environmental issues for me.  No idea how to care for a pot like that.


There are people who make real chainmail today - that's the stuff I love best.  The rings are made from this flat material that just lifts up the dirt. 

I'm super rough with my stainless with metal scrubbers


That's the thing.  If you're kind to your pot, there's no need to scrub or be rough with it.  A well-tended stainless steel pot, the dirt will slide right off.  Sometimes it needs the aid of a cloth.  If it's been badly scorched, then it may need a bamboo scraper.

I've tried washing other people's pots and am amazed that one needs to apply pressure to the cloth to get basic everyday food off it.  That's because of the scratching and pitting.  They cook less often than me.  Their pots are about 10 years newer than mine and a more expencive make - yet, it takes EFFORT to remove dirt - BAH!  Effort for dish cleaning?  No!  I would rather keep my dishwashing as easy as possible and remove metal utensils from easy reach of guests. 

But to each their own.  Some people like scrubbing, good on them.  I don't, so I treat my pots gently. 
 
Dana Jones
Posts: 126
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use white mechanic shop rags. They are tough, come in packs of 25 and last forever! I've had mine for over 20 years and they still scrub good. With so many in a pack, you can get a new clean one every day and satisfy your husband's bacteria fears. If I abuse one and stain it all up, then it goes into the use-for-anything stack.

https://www.amazon.com/Towels-Commercial-Machine-Washable-Washcloths/dp/B00AMUXF46
 
Jeremy Sewell
Posts: 8
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson, you have given me a reason to buy a stainless steel pot that I will proceed to never let anyone use but me, or ok maybe not me either I can't be trusted to not use a knife to flip a sandwich
 
Liz Braithwaite
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use a mesh dishcloth. I've had the same two for over a year...when they get dirty (which isn't that often), they go through the dishwasher or clothes washer. And it works far better than any cloth, sponge, scrubby, etc, that I've used.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
Posts: 44
Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tracy Wandling wrote:I am looking for a long-lived dish cloth. My significant other is a fan of sponges with a scrubby on the back. I don't like them. They don't last, and as the sponge and scrubby fall apart, little bits fall off. Pretty sure that's not good for the septic, not to mention our messed up plumbing. I am happy to use a regular old dish cloth, but the man has a thing about them - too germy or something, I don't know. 

The dishcloth will stink in time, but not if every other day, I leave it in a solution of mild Dish washing liquid. Then the next day, as you use it again, squeeze it very dry. Leaving it in a soapy solution takes care of it.
Otherwise, the plastic "poufs" you use to wash yourself with in the shower: They won't scratch your countertop or precious things and they won't smell because they rinse clean immediately and dry fast. They really suds up well too.

 
Sher Miller Lehman
Posts: 15
Location: Hawaii
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a microbiologist I also have a thing about germs and the worse thing you can use is a sponge. They are almost impossible to sanitize. Running them through the dishwasher will only infect all the dishes.

I started using yellow automotive microfiber cloths when my DH, an engineer was doing a project at a dairy. They used them to keep the milkers hands clean cuz they're both spongy and scrubby. He used them to keep grease dirt and chemicals off his hands. I found they are perfect for the kitchen and last forever. I find them in auto supply stores.

Add just a drop or two of soap to the rag for direct contact with the dirt and use next to no soap. It foams up like a sponge yet they are great at scrubbing. Only once in a while so I need something stronger for scrubbing. And they dry out completely between uses to keep germs down, even in a tropical rainforest.

My method is to use first to dry dishes, one time, then use for one day as a washcloth. The second day I keep it around to wipe up spills instead of disposable (yuk) paper towels. Once they get too stained (the don't wear out), like from cast iron skillets, they go into the cleaning rag pile. I also use them with a Swiffer type mop, dry for dusting and wet for mopping.

You can even grab them to use as a hotpad. My husband even used them when he was welding.

I wish they were bio-degradable but they last so damn long they get a pass in my book. And I think they would give your hubby the scrubby sponge-like experience he seems to need.  My 2 cents.
 
Jami Gaither
Posts: 43
Location: North-Central Minnesota
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love my mesh dishcloth from Norwex - a friend of mine is a distributor and I got it at her open house after she said it was "the best thing".  I was not convinced looking at it.  It seemed so insubstantial.  But I got one for my weekend cabin where I now live full-time and I absolutely love it now.  With no running water, I have to be pretty efficient and this cloth scrubs well and seems to clean effectively.  I rinse it with hot water after each use (well, unless I forget and leave it in the dishwater and use it again later, which I admit happens occasionally).   Since it doesn't stay wet (I typically hang it up to dry after each wash session), it doesn't get stinky.  I will eventually run it through the washing machine but it has been terrific for me thus far just using it over and over without much effort.  I wash dishes every 2-3 days once they accumulate and have been using this since mid-November (and weekends for a few months prior to that).
The great thing is that it cleans even gross messes (think floury gunk after baking or the lasagna dish) and then cleans up easily. All the holes seem to let go of the goo.  I'm guessing other mesh dishcloths are also fine but I've never tried them.  I only want to recommend what I've tried.  Best to you on your search!
 
Joy Oasis
Posts: 227
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I also prefer sponges, and I also got fed up with those yellow/green ones falling apart very quickly. So I got the sponges, that are encased into microfiber fabric -one side scratchy, one side smooth. I can wash them in the washer, and they do not fall apart, at least they didn't after a full year so far.
 
Al Freeman
Posts: 44
Location: North Texas plaines
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.

 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1650
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
320
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well! Who knew a simple topic like this would garner such a wonderful discussion? Love it!

I am definitely leaning toward the natural fiber cloths. I like the idea of composting them, or maybe using them as mulch - have a little crazy quilt garden . I am gathering cloth, towels, and old clothes, and will be ripping and sewing shortly! Going to make dish rags, and some of R Ranson's Zokin cleaning cloths.

One thing that - oddly enough    - just occurred to me. I am the only one who does dishes in this house. So, I am going to do them my way, with a cloth, like I've always done. 

So! I am making a nice little cloth-hanging stand for beside the sink, and will put a spray bottle of lemon vinegar next to it. After I rinse the cloth and wring it out, I can spray it with the vinegar and it will smell nice. Then I'll pop it into the wash every other day or so, whip out a new one, and Bob's yer uncle!

For scrubbing - well, I'm not averse to soaking. But it's generally not necessary. I haven't gotten cast iron pans yet, but when I do I'll look into the chain mail. For now, I'll use a wooden spatula if it's needed.

And I don't have a microwave. Or rather, the man has one kicking around here somewhere, but I wouldn't use it. They kinda creep me out. 

Thanks for joining the conversation everyone - lots of great ideas.

Cheers
Tracy
 
Robert Morrissey
Posts: 5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use two things to handle pots, pans, dishes, silverware, etc.  Luffa sponges + the old fashion stainless steel scrub things (pads).  I grow my own luffa sponges which I cut up into 6 inch pieces and use to handle most dishes, silverware ceramic bowls, etc.  The sponges are 100% biodegradable and last a long time.  When air dried, they are relatively germ free (I'll sometimes soak them in bleach water.  They are very strong and do a great job scrubbing the dishes clean.  The Stainless steel sponges I use on some silverware and pots and pans.  
 
Jane Weeks
Posts: 41
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've always used knit or crocheted cotton dish cloths. They last quite a long time and go into the compost when they're too full of holes. Pattern: grandma's favourite dishcloth is on-line; it's knit, but there are loads of free patterns for both knitting and crochet. Actual rags from ripped up old cotton clothes (t-shirts especially) are used for really disgusting things & either washed or go into the compost, too.

I also make alternatives to paper towels with old towels & flanelette pajamas from thrift stores. I cut two layers from the towel and top with a layer of flanelette, sew around the edges and voila, a great thick & thirsty, reusable towel that soaks up lots of water or whatever!
 
Merodean LaRose
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good morning Everyone! I grew up with stinky, sour dish cloths, so I'm not a big fan of dish cloths in general. All the handmade and hand woven cloths do sound so lovely. I have a 2 part system that works for me. My dish cloths get changed out probably three times a day or more and I just toss them in with the rest of the white laundry.

My favorite cloth is the roll of 12 from the auto part section of whatever store you shop at. They are thin and about half the size of a normal hand towel. Large rags would work well too. I put them out as kitchen towels and as they get wet they become the new wash cloth and another is pulled off the stack to dry hands. This goes on all day. It makes very little impact on the laundry bill and I always have a fresh, clean washcloth. As they become old and, stained they move into the dirty rag bin for floor or shop.
 
Merodean LaRose
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Forgot to add that mine are 100 percent cotton.
 
Melody McCutcheon
Posts: 3
Location: Cornelia, GA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I crochet my own dish cloths.  A number of my YouTube subscribers buy them.  They aren't fancy, but they are great at scrubbing pots and pans, especially cast iron.

 
Danger, 10,000 volts, very electric .... tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!