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The Best Yarn for Dishcloths (+ Free Patterns for Crochet and Knit Dishcloths)

Dishcloths are a great craft project for all levels. They are relatively easy to make due to their (usually) rectangular shape, yet they allow for a lot of freedom in coming up with fun patterns and designs. And let’s not forget, they’re useful! However, picking the best yarn for dishcloths is an important step you shouldn’t take lightly. So to make the choice easier, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to different types of yarn you should (and shouldn’t) use for this project.

Can You Use Any Yarn for Dishcloths?

Technically, there is nothing stopping you from choosing just any yarn for your dishcloth. However, some types of yarn will be a better choice than others, whether you’re planning to knit or crochet. For instance, materials with low absorbency probably won’t make the best dishcloths and will most likely end up as purely decorative pieces.

Things to Look for When Choosing Yarn for Dishcloths

When choosing the right yarn for your dishcloth project, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Let’s take a closer look at what they are.

1. Durability and Sturdiness

In most households, dishcloths are used on a daily basis. This means that your yarn of choice should be sturdy enough to endure some wear and tear, scrubbing, getting wet, and so on. This also means that it should be washing machine-friendly, as hand washing simply won’t cut it. In general, cotton is a much more durable option than most other materials.

2. Absorbency

Secondly, since dishcloths are mostly used to try the dishes and kitchen surfaces, the material needs to be highly absorbent. As with durability, cotton is the best choice when it comes to absorbency. On the other hand, acrylic yarns tend to let water simply roll off them, and that is not what we want in a dishcloth. 

3. Stretch & Firmness

Thirdly, your dishcloth should be on the firmer side. Stretchier materials will make the dishcloth lose its shape with use and become, well, unsightly. Firmness is closely related to the durability of your cloth as well, since firmer materials tend to stand the test of time much better.

4. Fiber Content

By far the most important thing to look at when picking the best yarn for dishcloths is its fiber content. Let’s take a look at some of the most common options, including acrylic, cotton, and polyester, and whether they are a good choice for your project.


Acrylic yarn is one of the most affordable types of yarn on the market, making many beginners reach for it even when it is not the best choice. However, when it comes to items such as dishcloths, the fiber content is crucial, and you shouldn’t compromise for the sake of saving a few bucks.

The main issue with acrylic is that it doesn’t absorb water too well, making the dishcloth practically unusable. This makes sense when you keep in mind that it is technically made of plastic.

All that’s left to do now is rewind the loose center around the skein to prevent it from getting tangled up. 

Polyester & Nylon

Polyester and nylon can actually be a good choice for your dishcloth project. However, not every type of polyester yarn will cut it. If you want to go for this material, the best thing to do is to look for scrubby polyester yarn. This type of polyester is designed to endure a lot of usage, and it is washing machine-friendly. It also has a unique texture, making it pretty good at cleaning various surfaces. Our personal favorite is the Red Heart 100% Polyester Scrubby Yarn, which was specifically made with dishcloths in mind. It also comes in a wide variety of colors, giving you a lot of freedom when it comes to patterns and designs.


While scrubby polyester is a good choice, the absolute best material for dishcloths is cotton. It holds stitches well, has high absorbency, and can endure machine washing and daily use. However, not all cotton yarns will be equally good. Your best pet is to look for cotton yarn that is meant for kitchen use, such as the Red Heart 100% Cotton Scrubby Yarn. Some other cotton yarns we recommend include Lily’s Sugar’n Cream Cone Cotton Yarn and Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton Yarn. Read on to find more suggestions for your yarns.

5. Care Instructions

The care instructions for various yarns are a major thing to look at when picking the best option for your project. We all know that dishcloths can get very dirty, and hand-washing simply won’t cut it. That is why it is important to choose a washing machine-friendly yarn. So before settling for one, make sure to carefully read the care instructions. 

6. Color

The color of your chosen yarn will depend entirely on the design you decide to go for. Keep in mind, however, that different types of yarn come at different color varieties. In other words, if you’re planning on making a dishcloth with a very colorful design, you’ll need to pick a yarn that has a lot of different color options.

7. Cost

As much as we would all love for the price of materials not to play a role, that unfortunately isn’t the case. Luckily, however, dishcloths are relatively small items, meaning that you won’t need that much yarn. Additionally, the best choice of yarn for dishcloths — cotton — is actually quite inexpensive. 

8. Availability

Some types and brands of yarn are easier to find than others. If you have your sights set on a specific product, but can’t find it anywhere, consider going for an alternative. There are so many great, cheap, and easy-to-find options, that there really is no need to spend time and energy hunting for hidden gems when making a dishcloth.

Best Yarn for Knit or Crochet Dishcloths

Now that we’ve covered all the factors you should consider when choosing your dishcloth yarn, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the actual brands. Of course, the following yarns aren’t the only choices out there, but they are ones we wholeheartedly recommend.

Lily Sugar ‘N Cream

We have already mentioned the Lily Sugar’n Cream Cone Cotton Yarn, but this is another, albeit quite similar, option from Lily. The Lily Sugar’n Cream Worsted Weight Yarn comes in an incredibly wide variety of colors, making it a great choice for complex designs. It is 100% cotton and can endure the washing machine and dryer.

This yarn is highly absorbent and quite affordable. It holds stitches quite tightly, and it is a good option for both knitting and crocheting.

Dishie Yarn 

As the name suggests, Dishie Yarn is a great choice for kitchen-focused projects. It is a 100% cotton, worsted weight yarn with a high level of absorbency. It comes in solid colors, variegated multi-color options, and twist multi-color options, making it a good choice for colorful patterns.

Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton

We might have mentioned Lion Brand 24/7 already, but it’s such a good option that it’s simply worth repeating. At a slightly higher price point than Lily, the 24/7 comes in 20 different solid colors. It is made of 100% mercerized cotton, making it extra durable and giving it a more vibrant finish. 

Red Heart Scrubby

While we stand by our statement that cotton is better than polyester when it comes to dishcloths, the Red Heart Scrubby has one major advantage. Since it is made of 100% polyester, it actually dries much quicker than cotton yarns. However, as it is not as durable as some of the other entries on this list, it can only endure gentle machine washing and tumble drying.

Premier Home Cotton

The Premier Home Cotton is a blended yarn made of 85% cotton and 15% polyester. Its main purpose are dishcloths and towel toppers, making it an excellent choice, along with its low price. It is absorbent, washing-machine friendly, and comes in a wide array of vibrant, unique colors and color combinations. For instance, the Citrus variant is actually a combination of bright orange, yellow, and green.

Crafter’s Secret Yarn

Lastly, Crafter’s Secret Yarn is a 100% cotton worsted yarn that comes in solid colors. It is not only washing machine- and dryer-friendly, but it can also endure dry-cleaning solvents and ironing. 

Choosing Dishcloth Yarn FAQs

Do you still have some doubts regarding the best yarns for knitting and crocheting dishcloths? If so, let’s tackle some of the most frequently asked questions and help you make the final decision. 

Can you use any cotton yarn for dishcloths?

Yes, you can use any cotton yarn for dishcloths. However, some types of cotton yarn will do better than others. We have already established that cotton is better than acrylic when it comes to dishcloths, but what type of cotton takes the cake? In general, worsted or DK weight yarn is your best bet. Additionally, mercerized cotton is a great option.

How much yarn do I need for a dishcloth?

You will likely only need one skein of yarn for a dishcloth, whether you’re planning to knit or crochet it. However, the exact amount will depend on a number of factors, such as the size of the dishcloth you’re making and the desired pattern.

Can acrylic yarn be used for dishcloths?

No, acrylic yarn shouldn’t be used for dishcloths. Acrylic is not durable enough for everyday use or machine washing. Additionally, this material is not highly absorbent, making it a better option for decorative projects, rather than practical items.

What yarn weight is most commonly used for dishcloths?

The most commonly used yarn weight for dishcloths is worsted weight yarn. Another good option is DK weight yarn

Can you use mercerized cotton for dishcloths? 

Yes, you can use mercerized cotton for dishcloths. In fact, mercerized cotton was originally designed specifically for dishcloths, as it makes the yarn more durable. It also makes the color more vibrant and long-lasting.

What materials do you need to knit or crochet a dishcloth?

Aside from the yarn itself, you will need other materials to make your dishcloth. Depending on whether you’re knitting or crocheting, you will need either knitting needles or a crocheting hook. Additionally, you will need scissors and a yarn needle to weave in the ends of your yarn. Of course, you should also consider getting a pattern.

Are dishcloths and washcloths the same?

Although dishcloths and washcloths aren’t the same thing, you can still use washcloth patterns to make your dishcloth. Additionally, you can also use patterns for dish towels or potholders.

Are knitted and crocheted dishcloths good?

Yes, both knitted and crocheted dishcloths will do the job. In fact, the crochet texture of a dishcloth will make cleaning the dishes even easier. But let’s not forget that handmade crocheted or knitted dishcloths also hold sentimental value, especially if you’re making them to give to a loved one.

Are crochet dish towels absorbent?

Crochet dish towels can be absorbent if you use an absorbent material to make them. To ensure high absorbency, we recommend using cotton or polyester yarns.

Free Dishcloth Patterns To Try 

There are so many patterns and designs to choose from when it comes to making dishcloths that the task of picking one can be a little overwhelming (personally, this star burst crocheted dishcloth pattern is one of our favorites). To make the choice easier, we’ve decided to highlight some dishcloth patterns you can download from our website for free.

Free Double Thick Dishcloth Pattern

This free double thick dishcloth pattern can be used to knit an ”8x8” dishcloth. It requires Lily brand yarn (Peaches & Creme) and a knitting needle size 7. It is a medium-difficulty pattern, but we also encourage ambitious beginners to give it a shot.

Free Sailor’s Knot Dishcloth Pattern

Yet another medium-difficulty pattern, the free sailor’s knot dishcloth pattern uses Lily Sugar’n Cream medium worsted weight yarn in the color Soft Ecru (although you’re more than welcome to play around with colors). This is a crocheting pattern, and it requires an H-8 crochet hook size.

Free Lighthouse Dishcloth Pattern

If you’d like to move away from typical, rectangular dishcloths, we highly suggest trying out this free lighthouse dishcloth pattern. Much like the double thick pattern, this one requires a needle size 7. The recommended yarn is the Lily Sugar’n Cream in White, along with Bright Navy, Red, Light Blue, or another color of your choice. You will also need a little bit of yellow yarn for the embroidered light at the top of the lighthouse.

Conclusion - Choose the Best Yarn for Your Dishcloth Projects!

When someone asks you what the best yarn for dishcloths is, by now you should be able to tell them that worsted-weight cotton is the go-to option. We hope we’ve answered all your questions and inspired you to make some practical, yet beautiful dishcloths for your household, to gift to friends and family for Christmas or another occasion, or even sell. Good luck with your project, and don’t forget to have fun along the way!