Who doesn’t hate paying money for the disposable, single use Swiffer cloths that you end up just throwing out? Seemingly convenient–yes. Money suck–yes. But we can do better!
Here’s a bunch of free patterns, tutorials and ideas for making reusable pads from fabric (many sewn) plus a nice variety of knit and crochet designs to whip up. So far there are over 50, so I think you’ll find just the right project that ticks all the boxes for you.
New Collection Update: June, 2022
Reusable pads are not only a terrific way to save money, they also cut down on household waste…and aren’t we all trying to cut that back at least a little bit?
Never mind the new reality we’re all coming to grips with the past couple years: supply chain issues. So even if you aren’t interested in using them on a regular basis, homemade pads are good to have at least as a backup.
The collection I’ve put together are super easy to make and can be custom fit to any brand or model (both wet and dry mops).
Some tutorials are made to fit dollar store models, others specify name brands such as Swiffer. Use whatever design you like no matter what type you have, all that will be needed is a simple adjustment in cutting measurements or tweaking foundation rows and stitches.
I also included a bonus collection of DIY dusters that use strips of fleece, terry or flannel that can then be detached and laundered with the rest of the household rags. You’ll like them for cleaning blinds, wiping down ceiling fans and other household jobs.
What Fabrics Can Be Used For Homemade Pads?
Before rushing out to buy material, look around the home for items to repurpose such as old towels (please don’t ever throw these away), blankets, faded dishcloths/washcloths and even cloth diapers or old socks. Money Saver + Waste Saver = Win Win.
Some good options include:
- bar mop towels
- terry toweling
- t-shirt fabric
What’s The Best Yarn To Use For Knit & Crochet Covers?
I find cotton ideal for wet mops (like Lily Sugar ‘N Cream) because they launder well. I’ve seen comments that acrylic yarns are nice for dry sweeping since they’ll generate some static while they are used and this helps attract dust.
I’ve also come across recommendations for mixing polyester scrubby yarn with regular cotton yarn (worsted weight) for extra tough jobs.
A couple quick crochet design notes before getting started:
- Make 2 granny squares of choice in size needed (3″ to 4″ square depending on sweeper). Stitch one on either end to crocheted or knit base–three sides only (these will be pockets for swiffer insertion). Ideas for granny squares here & base can be taken from here.
- Depending on the size of the mop head, you may need to stitch only partway (about 3″) across the top & bottom of the granny square to ensure easy insert & removal. Another option is to stitch across the front most of the way & then only halfway at the back. See images below for examples.
- For a touch of flair, take any of the patterns below that knit or crochet cloths in a single piece (with 2.5″ to 3″ extra on each end to fold over & stitch as pockets). Instead of using all one color of yarn, dig into your yarn stash and make contrasting color stripes down the center.
Are these a little fussy just for cleaning cloths? Sure, but they will make nice gifts for someone (say a Bridal Shower or even a housewarming gift). They’d also be appreciated when donated to the school or Church craft fair/fundraiser.
Best Ways To Clean Them:
After tackling the floors, shake out debris over the garbage can then toss in the hamper to launder with the rest of your household rags. Some folks also rinse them out first. They can go in both the washer and the dryer (unless fiber content labels instruct otherwise).
How Long Will They Last?
They should last for years if used for regular household maintenance so they’re well worth the bit of time and cost it takes to make them. They may become a bit cumbersome to work with after many uses (stretch factor), simply run a seam up one side to return it to a snugger fit.
Did You Know:
Some report good results for washing the disposable pads once or twice to reuse them? I haven’t tried it, not sure I will, but now you know! Also some people are figuring out how to reuse/refill the plastic cleaner jugs (for the wet mops). See this page on Instructables.
How To Make Reusable Pads
I organized the projects into three groups for easier browsing:
- Knitting Patterns
- Crochet Patterns
- Sewing Tutorials
Note: I didn’t separate the sweepers from the wetjets since you can tell from the pictures what’s going to work and what isn’t (to accommodate the jet sprays).
I also stashed a bunch of DIY fabric dusters at the bottom of the page (for blinds, ceiling fans and other household dusting jobs).
As always here on Tipnut, each of these patterns are provided hassle-free with no emails to submit or memberships to signup for. If that has changed for a particular project, please let me know in the comments area below so I can remove it.
Directions: Click on images to view project page, a new browser tab will open & save your spot here
Free Knitting Patterns
This is one of the “OG” patterns posted to the ‘net way back in the day (2007) & it still holds its own amongst the newer designs that have come out since. Features a nice surface for scrubbing due to the ballband motif. She recommends worsted weight machine washable wool.
The body is done in seed stitch so it has a nice, nubby work area. The sides come up & over (stockinette) with enough fabric to poke into the holes so it holds securely in place.
WetJet – Ballband
Another ballband surface, this one’s designed for the Wet Jet. Four ties are made (i-cords) then attached to each corner. Two are tied together (diagonally) to hold in place. Another OG favorite.
Dry & Wet Pad Replacer
This covers the mop head completely then ties closed with a drawstring i-cord (woven through eyelets). Another ballband surface (it’s popular for a reason). Worked on circulars or a set of DPNs.
This design uses less than a ball of cotton yarn & is worked on a Blue Nifty Knitter. Pattern is available via free pdf download.
The length is knit a few inches longer so the ends can be folded over & stitched in place, leaving pockets on either side to slip the head through. She reports “streak free” results!
Another Pocket Cozy
Same idea as above except finishes a bit differently. She recommends washing the cover first so it fits snugly from the start.
The pattern is in the notes section at the bottom of the page, just a quickie with basic directions so this is better for Intermediate knitters.
Free Crochet Patterns
Cute name, lol…she calls it the Swoofer because it does such a great job picking up dog hair. Cotton yarn is recommended (Peaches ‘n Cream used here), finished size is 4 1/2″ x 10″. Easy to adjust for a custom fit.
Dry Mop Cover
Includes a pattern for a matching dust mitt. The link she has posted for the pdf download isn’t working, you can get your copy here: ravelry.com. Skill level is noted as “Easy”.
Fits a 10″ x 4″ head, slides into a pocket on one end, buttons closed on the other. Made with worsted weight cotton yarn & a size J hook. Nicely detailed directions (including a diagram for final assembly).
Reversible Swiffer Sock
Very clever, this one is loopy on one side (for dusting & dry mopping) and flat on the other (for damp mopping). Modification tips are provided for custom fitting to your model. Includes a free pattern to download via pdf.
This can be used for both wet & dry cleaning. First the cover base is crocheted then each of those colorful loops are made by slip stitch, chain 4, sl st in next loop & continued around until reaching the beginning. Time consuming? Maybe. But doesn’t it look fun!
Fits the standard sweeper, it’s essentially a large cloth that folds over top then the ends pushed down into the grabber holes to secure in place. Very nice design! This should be doable for Beginner crocheters.
Reusable Floor Duster
Made with 1 ball of Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream or 2 small balls of Bernat Handicrafter cotton yarn. Has a nice & nubby cleaning surface, ties in place.
Quick ‘n Easy Reusable Swiffer Cloth
A large cloth is crocheted in sc until it’s the size required. Basic instructions provided but that’s all that’s needed–super easy! This would be a good choice for the base if wanting to do the granny square cover.
Crocheted Wet Jet Cozy
Nicely textured with yarn “twists” throughout, pockets on either end for easy removal. Skill level: Easy/Beginner.
Better suited for dusting and dry mopping, this is recommended for cleaning ceiling fan blades. I would use it for walls & ceilings too. Worked flat in one piece then assembled with pockets for a snug fit.
DIY Sewing Tutorials
Reusable Fabric Pad
A nicely detailed tutorial showing how to make pads out of old t-shirts and an old wool blanket (the wool sticks nicely to the head but other fabrics will do the trick too).
A rough sketch of the pattern dimensions is provided, you can just click on the image to download & print. Fabric here is terrycloth which can be sourced from old towels to save money.
Two Cloth Styles
Two quick tutorials are provided, one showing how to use repurposed fleece fabric in place of purchased pads, the other shows how to make an elasticized cover for a Wet Jet out of terry hand towels.
Repurposed Chenille & Vintage Sheets
These may take an extra step to make but as you can see, totally worthwhile. The chenille “pad” runs down the center while the fabric strips on either side stuff nicely into the sweeper grabber holes.
Wet Jet Pads
She did an experiment with different fabrics & found that bar mop towels had the best results. A really nice finished product here, there are two velcro strips that run across the top so they grip well.
DIY Reusable Pads (Wet or Dry)
One layer is toweling, the other is cotton fabric. A couple 3″ strips of velcro holds it securely in place. Includes a free pdf pattern to download.
Microfiber cloths are cut down to size then plastic snaps placed across the top on both sides (3 on each side). You will need a snap tool for this project. A quick video guide is provided.
Could this quick DIY be any simpler? Cheap Dollar Store chenille socks slide on easily & do the job just as good as any other reusable cover. Pretty clever!
Cloth Diaper Re-do
If there’s a stack of unused cloth diapers at hand, here’s what you can do with them. Flannel is great for all kinds of cleaning jobs, they’re sure to work well here too.
Bonus Projects (Dusters & More)
Easy Homemade Spray Cleaners
After making reusable pads, why not mix up a DIY floor cleaner too? A quick and easy recipe that is nice for laminate:
1/2 cup vinegar
1 to 2 squirts of liquid dish detergent
1 gallon warm water
Fill a spray bottle to spot clean as you go. More tips: So Cheap & Easy! Homemade Cleaner For Laminate Flooring. Also see A Few DIY Damp Mop Recipes For Shiny Hardwood Floors.