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UnPaper Towels

I finally jumped on the unpaper towel bandwagon. Not really “jumped on” so much as running behind it, waving my hands and screaming “wait for me!”

So first, let me say, I tried this a while back, kind of, but I simply picked up a pack of rags at the big box store and that did not turn out so well. The rags I purchased were exactly the same as the “Dog rags” that we already had, so slowly they all became “Dog rags” because they got mixed together and nobody wanted to take any chances.

This time I was determined it would be different. This time I was going to make them myself. I wanted something that worked well and was easy to bleach. Obviously, they couldn’t look like the dog towels but I also didn’t want the super cute ones that would end up destroyed after scrubbing my kitchen a few times.

After some research, I bought terry cloth washcloths and birdseye cotton. You could also just use terry cloth material but Wal-Mart had a pack of wash cloths for really cheap so I went with simple and quick. These two fabrics just seemed like the most absorbent and durable.

This is a super simple and quick project that is even great for beginners. One of the reasons I enjoyed working on this project so much, was because it didn’t have to be perfect. These are rags used for cleaning up messes. It was nice to breeze through these and not worry about perfect measurements and straight lines. 

I broke this project down into 7 easy steps

  1. Gather materials
  2. Cut the tags off of the washcloths
  3. Fold washcloths over and cut in 1/2
  4. Use one half of washcloth as template to cut out birdseye cotton
  5. Pin layers together
  6. Sew all four sides
  7. Serge edges

So basically, step one is gathering your materials. The only materials I used was the washcloths and birdseye cotton that I bought, a sewing machine, scissors, pins, and my serger.

Step two is even easier. cut the tags off of the washcloths. If you are using fabric, you can skip this step.

Next, the washcloths were folded over and cut in half and then I used them as a template to cut out the birdseye cotton. (If you fold the birdseye cotton over a couple of times, you can cut out a few layers at a time). I then sewed a layer of terry cloth on each side of the birdseye cotton. Basically, I used the three layers to make a “birdseye sandwich.” This may sound a little thick, but after putting some thought into it, I realized I use several paper towels when cleaning up my kitchen messes. This, of course, depends on how dirty the mess is. You can check out the pictures below. (Not of my dirty kitchen, of the examples of how the layers are put together). 


As you can see, I cut the birdseye cotton a little larger than the terry. That was mainly to show how I was putting them together for the pictures. Also, it shows just how messy you can be. My cuts were completely uneven. 

After the pinning and sewing, I ran them through the serger to clean up the edges. If you don’t have a serger, you can use a zig zag stitch and trim close to the edges.

And that’s it! You’re done! 

I made ten to get me started and see how I like them in action. If they work out, I’ll probably make 20 or 30 more. This project took me between an hour and an hour and a half to complete. (I had to stop to mend a pair of shorts.)

Update: I’ve used these to clean several messes and so far they have held up really well. I guess that means I need to get to work making more. Hopefully, this will go towards saving our family a little of the green stuff and cut down on waste. 


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