What do you get when you cross a classic dish sponge with a cloth towel?
No, that’s not the setup to a poor joke. And the answer isn’t just a hypothetical item. It’s very real and is called a Swedish dishcloth!
Swedish dishcloths combine the best of a sponge and rag into one material. They’re also significantly more sustainable and absorbent than disposable paper towels and other popular alternatives.
Have we piqued your interest? Then keep reading to learn about our favorite Swedish dishcloth uses and why these cloths are so much better than your average sponge!
What Is A Swedish Dishcloth?
While a Swedish dishcloth may sound exciting and foreign, the concept is actually quite simple!
Swedish dishcloths are super absorbent. Many can absorb 20 times their weight! On the flip side, they dry much faster than their counterparts (leaving less chance for mold and bacteria to take root inside).
When dry, Swedish dishcloths are quite stiff. But the material becomes very soft and pliable as soon as it becomes wet. Swedish dishcloths are very similar to regular sponges in this way.
What Are Swedish Dishcloths Made Of?
Traditional Swedish dishcloths are made of cellulose and cotton. (Cellulose is the structural component of plant cells commonly used to make paper products and other textiles.)
While specific brands may utilize different ratios for their cloths, the ingredients are always the same.
Be wary of knock-offs that may contain synthetic materials in place of some or all of the cellulose and cotton found in authentic Swedish cloths. While these products are rare, they do exist!
How Do You Use A Swedish Dishcloth?
A good rule of thumb is that you can use a Swedish dishcloth anywhere you would use a sponge, cloth rag, or paper towel.
While Swedish dishcloths were invented for use in the kitchen, there are endless ways to use this handy item around the home. Some ideas for how to use a Swedish dishcloth include:
- Washing dishes
- Wiping counters
- Drying hands
- Cleaning windows (they don’t leave streaks behind!)
- As a facial washcloth
Don’t forget that you can use your Swedish dishcloth outside of the home, too!
These cloths work great for cleaning up messes in the garden or garage. You can also keep one or two in your car for spills on the go.
Where To Buy Swedish Dishcloths
Swedish dishcloths are becoming more and more popular in recent years. That means they are becoming very easy to find in stores and online.
Depending on your location, you may even be able to find Swedish dishcloths in Target, Asda, and other popular retailers. Of course, we always recommend checking out local small local businesses first!
For the best selection of dishcloths available no matter where you live, you can turn to a major online retailer like Amazon. Many eco-focused websites stock a variety of Swedish dishcloths as well.
4 Reasons To Ditch Sponges For A Swedish Dishcloth
There’s no arguing why most people opt to use Swedish dishcloths… they’re ultra-sustainable!
If cutting down on paper towel usage is one of your goals this year, then investing in a set of these cloths should be your first step. For example, Dropps estimates that each Swedish dishcloth can replace between 15 and 17 rolls of paper towels.
Swedish dishcloths also make wonderful alternatives to synthetic sponges.
2. Super Versatile
Eco-friendly goods that can only do one niche thing aren’t always the most sustainable choice. But that’s not a problem for the humble Swedish dishcloth.
Swedish dishcloths can be used for numerous cleaning tasks in the kitchen alone. When you step outside of the kitchen and consider how you can use these cloths throughout the home, the possibilities become endless.
Many vegans find themselves needing to choose between items that are all-natural versus those that are animal-free. Swedish dishcloths are both.
4. Biodegradable and Compostable
Unlike synthetic sponges, Swedish dishcloths are biodegradable and can be safely added to your compost or bokashi.
The materials that go into making Swedish dishcloths all come from the earth. And, when your dishcloth’s life comes to an end, they can be returned right back to where they came from!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are All Swedish Dishcloths Made In Sweden?
This type of dishcloth was originated in Sweden, but nowadays around 80% of all Swedish dishcloths are made in Norrköping, Sweden. Dishcloths made in other parts of the world are becoming increasingly popular.
As for the rest, many are made in other European factories. You can also find Swedish dishcloths manufactured in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.
Some Swedish dishcloths are manufactured in China. If this is something you’re looking to avoid, we recommend investing in trusted brands like Swedish Wholesale, Dropps, or Wettex. You can check out our complete list of our favorite Swedish dishcloths!
How Often Should You Wash Swedish Dishcloths?
Ideally, Swedish dishcloths should be washed after every use. They should be disinfected as often as every two or three days.
By washing, we mean rinsing away any crumbs or other debris that the cloth has collected. The process is just like rinsing, wringing, and hanging a regular old dish cloth on the edge of your kitchen sink.
Routine disinfecting is the secret to keeping bacteria and other nasty things from building up in your Swedish dishcloths. There are several effective disinfecting techniques — we cover the most popular methods here — that are both quick and easy to include in your regular cleaning schedule.
What Should You Do With Old Swedish Dishcloths?
After your cloth has run its course in the kitchen, you can always repurpose it for use in the garage or laundry room. Old Swedish dishcloths also work great for cleaning muddy puppy paws (or child feet).
Even the best Swedish dishcloth won’t last forever. But you shouldn’t just throw it in the trash!
Traditional Swedish dishcloths — specifically, those made entirely of cellulose and cotton — are safe to compost at home. That’s a much better end to your well-loved dishcloth than a trip to the landfill!