Handmade dishcloths are a great way to work through your yarn stash and are not only nice to have around the home, they make terrific gifts too. There are countless ways to make them but I’ve handpicked a bunch of free patterns for both knit and crochet that I think are quite lovely.
These are so easy to whip up but they’re also a nice quick project to practice stitches on…making them ideal for Beginners to gain confidence and experience.
What supplies are needed? Crochet hooks, knitting needles and assorted yarns that are machine washable. I find the best type to use is 100% cotton in a worsted weight since it’s absorbent and dries well (important for cleaning).
Although acrylic yarns can be used, I’m not a fan. There are some nice polyester options if wanting a few rows “extra abrasive” for scrubbing power.
Making dishcloths is also a fun way to work with quirky colors that you wouldn’t otherwise use. I have a box full of skeins in glaring oranges and hot pinks, purples, bold yellows and bright greens that I’ve purchased whenever I come across a good sale. This is one craft I can overdose on color and not worry about it :).
I tend to go with the brand Lily Sugar ‘N Cream because it’s economical yet sturdy enough to be put to work. It can be used for dishcloths, scrubbies, potholders…you name it. One important quality too is that this yarn holds up well in the laundry. This is just a casual recommendation, there are other A+ options as well (such as Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton & Bernat Handicrafter Cotton).
How big should they be? Dishcloths can be whipped up in pretty much any size you want to make, but I find the sweet spot is between 10″ and 11″ square. It’s all personal preference though, plenty of folks want something smaller (8″ to 9″) while others like working with larger (12″ and more).
Sometimes I want a thick ‘n nubby workhorse (that holds up well when scrubbing), other times I want something more lightweight because it’s easier to wash tight corners or work on more fragile items. For example: Smaller, thinner cloths are just the ticket when wiping out fridge drawers while larger ones tackle the backsplash and cupboard doors beautifully.
Notice it’s beneficial to have assorted sizes on hand since you’ll find yourself going to certain ones again and again when it comes to a specific cleaning job.
- Sew a plastic button in one of the corners for extra scrubbing power. Instead of a button you could stitch in a square swatch of plastic or nylon mesh from a grocery produce bag.
- If the plan is to use them as washcloths for skincare, launder them before first use in case the color runs.
- I personally don’t use handmade cloths for bathroom cleaning, however, you certainly could. For these I would make them all the same and in a color just for them, say blue (or at least all have a “blue” border). This way there would be no mixing in the laundry with kitchen cloths and you can see at a glance which ones to set aside for bathroom cleaning and the dirtiest of jobs.
Gift Giving Ideas:
- If the dishcloths are for Christmas gifts or for Bridal Showers, consider including a matching chore scrubby (a bunch found here: 60+ Kitchen Chore Scrubby Patterns To Crochet, Knit & Sew).
- Handmade dishcloths are always a hit on craft tables so consider whipping up a bunch to have ready for the next charity sale (school, Church, etc.). I’ve even seen them sold at garage sales.
- For presentation and packaging, a stack that has been folded in half then tied together with ribbon, lace or kitchen twine is quite nice. Here’s a cute & kitschy idea as well: Dishcloth Dungarees/Bathtime Bloomers.
- If making washcloths for a home spa bag, consider tossing in a few DIY bath bombs & fizzies or homemade bath salts. Softer pastels or more neutral colored yarns such as taupe or white would be ideal for these.
How To Make Dishcloths
I’ve sorted the patterns into two groups for easier browsing (knitting and crochet). This collection page has been revamped and updated with new projects: June, 2022.
There are dozens here and I had so many bookmarked that were similar, but I think I’ve weeded out any duplicates. I’ve come across some new stitch patterns (at least to me) that I can’t wait to dive into.
At first glance a few may look the same, but there’s a difference in the border design or in the finished size or maybe the materials used, something along those lines. I may have gotten a little cross eyed though when comparing patterns so if there is a dup or two that snuck in, I apologize.
Also note that here on Tipnut, I focus on featuring only those projects that are totally free with no emails to submit or memberships to signup for. If that has changed for a project listed here, please let me know in the comments area below so I can remove it.
Directions: Click on images to visit project page, a new browser tab will open so your spot here is saved
Free Dishcloth Knitting Patterns
Round, square, rectangular, gathered–plenty of shapes and styles to choose from. Many are beginner friendly so they’re ideal when trying to learn how to knit, but I have included a few patterns that are more challenging to keep the Intermediate and more Advanced knitters on their toes :).
Love the cables! Here’s an interesting project that requires dropping some stitches. Better suited for Intermediate to Advanced knitters.
A raised box stitch that gives a nice waffle texture. Can be made in one color or with a constrasting stripe as shown. Supples: Size 6 needles (4.25mm) with a ball of cotton yarn.
The Squidge Cloth
Alternating rectangles of knit & purl (two rows of k4, p4 then two rows of p4, k4). This couldn’t be easier to make, suitable for Beginners.
Diamond Brocade & Sugar Cube
Two free designs, each featuring a nice raised texture that only require knit & purl stitches. Another newbie friendly project.
This is a good example of how a very basic pattern can look “Wow” simply by using self striping yarn. Finished size: small (8″ square) or large (8.75″).
Garter Slip Stitch
Finished size measures 8.5″ x 9″ and made with sugar ‘n cream, 100% cotton yarn in two complimentary colors.
Another easy one for beginners. The rows are pretty simple, either all knit or k1 p1 with a garter border.
Chinese Waves (pdf)
A nice, thick & nubby dishcloth featuring a versatile stitch (works well for scarves, placemats, etc.). This is based on a garter stitch so it doesn’t curl up.
Broad Stripes & Stars
A patriotic square that can certainly be made with any combo of colors. Worked on size 7 US needles with worsted weight 100% cotton yarn in red, white & blue.
A band design that gives the impression of being woven throughout the cloth, imitating the wooden berry baskets we all grew up with. Border rows (2): k1, p1 across.
The picture here doesn’t do this design justice, check out the gallery here on Ravelry for some spectacular color combo ideas.
Free Crochet Dishcloth Patterns
I had a lot of fun picking out goodies for this bunch. There are some very pretty designs here but mainly a lot of textured, nubby goodness that will surely tackle those dirty pots and pans effortlessly.
Primrose & Proper
If you’re wanting something bridal shower worthy or a “company’s coming” set to put out, consider this beauty. Nice ‘n lacey.
A pretty little design with the stars worked over three stitches, some know it as the “Trinity Stitch”.
Similar to the puff stitch but this is done with hdc’s (rather than dc’s). Finished size is just under 10″ square (9.5″). Two skeins of Lily Sugar & Cream yarn and a size H crochet hook needed.
Happy Colors In Plaid
Four different colors might seem a little intimidating, but the yarn is carried along behind the stitches as you work. It all finishes neatly with the 4th color border (done in SC and SS). Features a loop for hanging off the sink tap.
Quick & Easy V-stitch
A great Beginner-friendly project that only requires an ounce of yarn (terrific stash buster). Measures 8″ x 8″ when finished.
A pretty ruffle is made with 4 dc in every other stitch as you go around. Finished size approximately 9″ square though it’s easy to adjust larger or smaller as desired.
Made with 1 ball of dishcloth cotton & worked in back loop in single crochet through out. Best suited for Intermediate to Advanced crocheters.
I love the texture on this with the raised ridges. The bulk of the cloth is made with two rows repeated 7 times, all worked in dc. The “X” is made by going behind the previous stitch.
This was inspired by the knit ball band dishcloth found in the Mason Dixon book. Color A is solid, Color B is variegated.
I think the break in design on either end is so pretty. Stitches used: ch – chain, sc – single crochet, hdc – half double crochet, dc – double crochet, sl st – slip stitch.
This design has a retro feel to it, features 4 tulip blossoms in the center. Pattern available via free pdf download.
General Care – Laundering
At the end of the day, give them a quick wash in hot soapy water and before bedtime spread them out (or hang) to dry overnight. They should be fully dry in the morning when you get up, at this point they’re good to go in the hamper ready for the next load of laundry.
They can run through a regular cycle in the washer and dryer no problem (remember to use machine washable yarn).