How to knit a dishcloth

Dishcloth folded up

I’ve noticed a flurry of people access my eco friendly posts this month. Especially the ones that go hand in hand with homemade, such as how to knit a dishcloth. Could it be a few new year’s resolutions are being put into action, as they start their eco journey, or are they upping their game? Which ever, they are not alone.

Eco friendly impact

One post that is getting a lot of interest, at the moment, is knitting a dishcloth. So easy to make and a really easy swap. Not to mention adding a splash of colour and who doesn’t need that?

Instead of throwing away one use cloths each time, the knitted version can be washed, and used over and over again. Single use cloths have micro plastics in them, so if you are cutting back with your plastic waste, cotton cloths are a good option. Less waste to end up in our landfills and waterways. Win-win.

Cotton production has its own overheads where green issues are concerned. The growing and processing is not kind. To make up for this, a quick google suggests that a cotton bag needs to be used 131 times to equal the environmental impact of a similar one use plastic bag. I suspect it might be more in the case of a knitted cotton dishcloth, due to the cleaning in between.

The good news is, that a cotton dishcloth probably gets, and survives, far more uses than 131 times. I have some that are a few years old, still in regular use and look as good as new.

It does win, in another way, by being equivalent to probably three or more flimsy disposable cloths, each time it is used, as it’s bigger and more substantial.

knitted dishcloth from corner

Craft materials

Mine are knitted with 100% cotton, which is available in so many fun colours. I still have the first dishcloth I knitted when I was about 7 years old. I gave it to my mother, but I’m guessing she could never bring herself to use it, as it’s still in pristine condition. It was off-white. Pretty sure, there wasn’t another colour choice. 

Hunt around a bit more, and you can find recycled cotton yarn, which would cut down the environment impact. Alternatively, you can make your own cotton yarn by cutting up old clothes.

My favourite dishcloths are my knitted ones, but I have crochet ones too, which I find are thicker and great for hard scrubbing. The knitted version are my go to when wiping down surfaces as they are big and a bit more swishy.

Blue dishcloth folded

How to knit a dishcloth

My favourite dishcloth knitting pattern is a simple corner to corner knit. The resulting garter stitch gives a bumpy surface, which is great for cleaning. A simple square pattern would work, but I find this one more interesting to knit. Last thing I want to do is find knitting the cloth has turned into a chore in its own right.

I used one ball of Lily Sugar n Cream (affiliated link)57g (Psychedelic Ombre) and 4mm needles.

Cast on 3 stitches

Row RS: knit
Row WS:  K1, increase one stitch*. Knit to last 2 stitches. Increase one stitch. K1

Repeat last the 2 rows until you have 55 stitches on your needle.

Row RS: knit
Row WS: K1, knit two stitches together. Knit to last 3 stitches. Knit two stitches together. K1.

Repeat last two rows until you have 3 stitches on your needle. Cast off.


* Increase – Knit into the front and back of the next stitch.
RS – right side
WS – wrong side (not that it makes much difference!)

multi coloured knitted dishcloth

I use my cloths to wipe down the surfaces. I have a 1 litre spray bottle filled, with homemade rosemary and vinegar, on hand to use. I’ve used this one for years. Topping it up every so often. Half white vinegar, half cooled down boiled water, with 15 to 20 drops of rosemary essential oil. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell, I’ve never noticed it lingering.


I’ve washed my dishcloths at 40° and 60°. I throw them in with my towel washes. I’ve had no problems and I’ve been using them for years. Choose the wash setting that you feel comfortable with.

Any questions, please let me know. I’m happy to help anyone to knit their first dishcloth.

So, what do you think? It’s a great beginner’s pattern. Also makes a useful housewarming present. Would you knit your own reusable dishcloth?

12 thoughts on “How to knit a dishcloth

  • Monday 18 January, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    If I could knit or crochet, I would definitely have a go at one of these. But maybe try making it in jute twine too as a scrubber. #MMBC

    • Saturday 23 January, 2021 at 3:20 pm

      I’ve knitted and crocheted with jute twine and it doesn’t give in the same way as wool yarn. Quite tiring to do. At least a scrubber would be small.

  • Monday 18 January, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    My mum always used a washable dishcloth when I grew up, but nothing as pretty as the one you have knitted! Love the colours. #MMBC

    • Saturday 23 January, 2021 at 3:21 pm

      I don’t think they had the coloured cottons back then. Just the off-white version. Don’t know one. I love my colourful cloths.

  • Monday 18 January, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    I love knitting dishcloths! So easy and so satisfying. I usually just cast on X amount of stitches and then knit until it’s pretty much square. But I like your pattern and will need to try it out! I love the colors of the yarn too. When I was knitting cloths to sell, I was using eco-friendly cotton and it was just beautiful. For my own purposes I use 100% cotton. And they last forever! When they’ve finally fallen apart (after years of use) I throw them in the ‘rag’ basket and use them for general cleaning. So they definitely have a lot of life in them.

    • Saturday 23 January, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      They really do last, don’t they? Mine end up in the rag pile eventually, but only once they have too many holes! Dishcloth knitting seems more popular on your side of the Pond than here. I don’t know why.

  • Tuesday 19 January, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    I love this idea! What a great way to reduce single use cleaning cloths. I know how I’ll be spending my next few evenings! #MMBC

    • Saturday 23 January, 2021 at 3:26 pm

      Hope you enjoy making and using your cloths.

  • Tuesday 19 January, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I like the idea but would struggle to clean with something so pretty #MMBC #MondayMorningBlogClub

    • Saturday 23 January, 2021 at 3:26 pm

      Makes cleaning more enjoyable, I find.

  • Monday 25 January, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    This is way prettier than any dishcloths that you can buy. What a great idea x

    • Sunday 31 January, 2021 at 10:29 am

      It adds a bit of something!

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