Knit a Dishcloth From Old Clothes

About: I am a teacher and crafter. I'm always coming up with schemes for how to make things we buy reusable, better, or more beautiful.

Don't throw away your old, stained, or worn t-shirts! Make something out of them. This instructable shows you how to knit a dishcloth using an old t-shirt or baby clothes. It's basically turning rags into better rags.

Step 1: Materials List

old t-shirt (or other discarded knit garment)
scissors or rotary cutter
knitting needles (size 11 - 14 should work just fine)

Step 2: Cut Your Clothes

1 - lay out the garment

2 - cut off the seams (side, neckline, shoulder seams, and bottom seams)

Step 3: Separate Your Fabric

Separate the two pieces of fabric. Lay a single layer of fabric down.

Cut thin strips (1/2 inch - 1 inch wide) in a spiral shape. You really don't have to be perfect with this. If you get a sharp turn so it's more of a "corner", don't worry! If you cut too wide, don't worry! If you cut too thin and the fabric rips in two pieces, don't worry! Just tie it back together and move on.

When you have finished cutting the first piece of fabric, set it aside and cut the second.

Step 4: Roll a Ball of Yarn

You should now have two long, thin strips of fabric. Tie them together.

Wind them into a ball.

Step 5: Knit Your Dishcloth

Cast on 10 stitches (or however many seems wide enough to you).

Knit in garter stitch (knitting every row) until dishcloth is desired length.

Cast off.

Don't know how to do those things? Click here

Step 6: Finish It

All you have left to do is tie the ends and trim up any long pieces of yarn.

Go do some dishes!



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    15 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 6

    This is an awesome idea, just completed my first and it turned out really cool (I think) so thank you! :-)

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    here's the thing when making these, or making anything....

    If YOU are happy with it, YOU like the way it looks, works, etc., then it's a cool product...if anyone else feels it is less than perfect,....opinions are like posteriors....everybody has one.

    YOU are the only person that matters when making or doing anything....everyone else belongs to the "Charlie Brown Club". :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Sweet! I love these things!!! :)

    I have a mini loom that I made from scraps of wood & piano wire(hey, it was all free materials!)....

    I have used a nylon type of yarn to make these....

    gives them a scrub - a - bility texture without scratching off the non stick surface.

    and when you use different colored yarns, they appeal more to the Ladies as well... ;P

    for the cost of 1 of them green scratch pads(depending on the brand-$0.89 each up to $3.00 each) For the same amount of $$$, I can make about 20 to 30 of these.

    TY for sharing this. definitely an Ible I will save for future reference. 8 )


    6 years ago on Step 6

    Hi: I'm a knitter too and while I've already cut up some old and stained (although freshly washed--gotta include that) ;) t-shirts, I'm not sure if you intentionally left off a step? Once you've cut your long strip, whether or not you tie it together or create that 'slit' at the end to continue the next piece or not, what t-shirt fabric lends itself to is 'rolling in on itself' with just a slight tug! It's amazing to see. You take a length (roughly 10 - 12 inches) between your hands and pull in opposite directions with a couple of gentle tugs. The fabric automatically creates a 'tube' of sorts, perfect to knit with. Depending on how fat you cut the strips in the first place--you might still get a couple of odd angles but they hardly show. I haven't yet knit mine up into anything--still pondering what I'll make--but I'm also thinking of dyeing or even 'tie-dyeing'
    them to get a more 60's look. There are UNlimited projects to make with old t-shirts (and even sheets!)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Good recycling project! There is a better way to join the strips for making one long continuous yarn without making a knot. Instead, make a small (quarter inch or so, depending on width of strip) vertical slice in the fabric near the end of each strip, so that it leaves a hole that looks something like the eye of a needle. Take the slit end of strip 2, and poke it through the slit of strip one. Then take the other end of strip 2 and poke it through the slit on strip 2. Pull tight. This makes a loop in the end of strip 2 that circles through the slit on strip 1 holding the two fabric strips together in a way that won't come undone. You can make it as long as you like by making a slit on the loose end o strip 2 and repeating the process.


    11 years ago on Step 3

    Cool idea. I am just learning to knit so I will give it a try. I love those dishcloths!!


    11 years ago on Step 6

    I love this idea! What a great way to use up T shirts that are stained. Very clever!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    nice instructable. I've actually been saving some old t-shirt strips, thinking I could knit something. now I know what to do with them. are you spying on me?

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I know when you are sleeping. I know when you're awake. ha ha ha! I have also heard (but not tested) that if you cut t-shirts on the bias and knit them, it turns out looking like chenille. I don't know if you have to ply them first...But, that might make a cute scarf if the t-shirt fabric isn't too worn.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Ooooh, old used diaper shirt dishrag!! No really, nice instructable, great pix. Thanks for sharing.

    2 replies