What Are Swedish Dishcloths?

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You're going to wonder how you ever lived without Swedish dishcloths in your life.

You may have already heard some buzz about Swedish dishcloths because they’re the easiest way to save major cash on your paper towel habit. This unsung kitchen hero is an affordable and versatile cleaning accessory that absorbs 20 times its weight in water and dries out much faster than typical sponges. They’re also on our list of the most clever dishwashing products you can buy. Curious? We asked a cleaning expert for their take on what makes Swedish dishcloths so special.

What is a Swedish Dishcloth?

Swedish Dishcloths 2VIA AMAZON.COM

These reusable European-made dishcloths will be your favorite alternative to typical sponges and paper towels. They’re that good thanks to a 70% cellulose and 30% natural cotton weave that’s strong enough to throw in the dishwasher or washing machine for dozens of uses.

Using Swedish dishcloths is definitely a cleaning hack you’ll wish you knew sooner and one that cleaning experts like Wayne Edelman, president of Meurice Garment Care, swears by. “The Swedish dishcloth is similar in use to microfiber cloths, but they are made of cellulose and cotton,” explains Edelman of this more sustainable cleaning choice. “Microfiber cloths, on the other hand, are made of plastics. Swedish dishcloths are great because you reuse them multiple times. They are also made of organic materials that will eventually decompose. One cloth can easily perform the tasks that 50 to 100 rolls of paper towels would.”

It’s that biodegradable feature that makes these affordable cleaning helpers one of the things you can compost alongside your veggie scraps.

How do you use a Swedish Dishcloth?

Swedish dishcloths are used just like a cotton dish rag or paper towel, says Edelman. “They have significantly more absorbency, though. To use them, you can either apply soap or they can be used to clean up spills and then wrung out.”

Got a big mess or sticky fingerprints you’d like to get rid of? The durable material of Swedish dishcloths makes them a better choice than reaching for flimsy paper towels. You’ll want to use a little of the best dish soap, stovetop cleaner or other cleaning products with enough water to make the cloth damp and then use either a wiping or agitating motion the same way you might with a sponge. Swedish dishcloths are safe to use on stainless steel and granite—and even leave a streak-free shine on glass.

How do you clean a Swedish Dishcloth?

A dirty Swedish dishcloth can be hand washed or cleaned in a washing machine with regular laundry,” says Edelman. He stresses that not cleaning your Swedish dishcloth could lead to unwanted grime. They can also be placed in a dishwasher on a top rack and wrung out to dry.

Where to Buy Swedish Dishcloths

If you’re excited about Swedish dishcloths doing everything paper towels can do and then some, you’ll be thrilled to know they have an attractive price of about $2 per dishcloth (or about $20 for a pack of 10) on Amazon. That will probably convert you to these reusable dishcloths for life.

Swedish dishcloths are often sold in a 10-pack of a single color or multiple colors to color code your cleaning. The Taste of Home Test Kitchen swears by Skoy brand—they’ve been relying on them for kitchen cleanup for years! If you’re feeling fancy, Etsy and Amazon both sell Swedish dishcloths with pretty designs, like sunflowers and herbs. (Here are the prettiest tea towels to brighten up your kitchen.)

Given that Edelman says one cloth can do the work of 50 to 100 rolls of paper towel, you may end up saving dozens of dollars each month just on paper towels. How’s that for cleaning up nicely?

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Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Taste of Home. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.