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How to Knit a Washcloth (to use with the Oil Cleansing Method)

Let me start this post by saying that I am not a knitter. I dream of being a knitter. I read blogs of knitters and have a sort of knitting envy. Someday

All that said, I have done a bit of knitting in my time. I”ve made a half of a scarf, and I”ve made a handful of washcloths. So today, I wanted to share with you an easy knitting pattern that even you, fellow-wannabe-knitter, can follow!

I use these cloths to wipe my counters and my daughter even has a few small ones in her play kitchen for when she pretends to wash the dishes.

They”re soft and absorbent (after their first washing/drying), and I also use them for my face-washing regiment, the Oil Cleansing Method.

I recommend choosing a darker color for the OCM so that any leftover makeup residue doesn”t stain the washcloth. 

This is my mother-in-law”s (Granny, as my kids call her) pattern– she learned it from her mother. She”s been using it for years to make  dishcloths/washcloths of all sizes. They wash and dry well and last for years.

Granny (left) teaching Yaya (my mom) the washcloth pattern.

She taught my mom and me the pattern a few years ago on a camping trip, and my mom has gone on to recall her knitting skills from years ago to make beanies, scarves, and even a dress for my daughter. I, on the other hand, have not ventured beyond the washcloths yet.

Granny”s Washcloth {perfect for OCM face-washing!}

Supplies needed:

  • Knitting needles size 8
  • Cotton yarn, 4-ply (such as the Sugar “n” Cream brand)

Instructions (annotated with helpful how-to videos):

  • 4 st.
  • K (knit) 2, , K to end of row.
  • Repeat until  there are 48 stitches (or 20, 30, 40, or whatever size you want).
  • K 1, , yarn over, K 2 together, K to end of row.
  • Repeat until there are 4 stitches.
  • . (Granny secures the ends by knotting them to the dish cloth and running the loose ends through the edge with a crochet hook.)

And remember, it doesn”t have to come out perfect! These are for wiping counters, washing dishes or cleaning your face. It”s the perfect project with which you can hone your most basic knitting skills. My first few were super wonky (as I worked on getting the hang of decreasing the stitches on the second half), and although most of mine have at least one missed stitch or little “hole,” none of them have unraveled yet!

Thanks to my friend Kara of Simple Kids for the recommendation of the videos above from— they have an iPhone app, too!– and to my mom for helping me remember how to knit the washcloths whenever I want to make a new one since I always forget. 😉

If you”re an amateur like me, please let me know if you try out this pattern. You could even share a photo on our Facebook page! If you”re an experienced knitter, I”d love to hear your favorite thing you”ve made, or you could even share a link to other easy patterns for those of us still learning.

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Jeanette

    Oh, how nice! Thank you, this gets bookmarked! 🙂

  2. Heather

    I love hand knit washclothes! Mine definitely don’t have the fancy yarn over part of the pattern – which took me a good solid week of watching youtube videos to understand what the heck that meant! I am in the process of making my daughter a dress using a basketweave pattern. It is my favorite right now. Great job!

  3. Kara @SimpleKids

    Hooray! These are great Nicole, and I agree, homemade cotton washcloths are SO useful. It is nice to make something pretty that is also such a handy things to have around, am I right?

    We sometimes add some tulle in long strips (held together with the cotton yarn) as it makes a nice “scrubby” washcloth. 🙂

    You can also make a nice cotton bag by knitting a super long rectangle with cotton yarn and then seaming up the sides and adding a handle. Very easy!

    This is great, I’ll be passing it along. I’m looking forward to reading what others suggest to make and I hope folks will give these washcloths a try. Happy knitting! 🙂

    • Stacey

      What a great idea to knit in tulle!

  4. Dreena Tischler

    My mama makes these as dishcloths. In fact, these two look exactly like two of mine — have you been in my drawers? They make the most fabulous dish cloths because they are gentle but scrubby enough to get playdough off the table and oatmeal from the bowl. I get a supply for Christmas and birthday and I have seen her knitting evolving over the years. Do make sure to knot those ends well or they fray easily. Her newer ones never fray, the old ones did but they made the most wonderful rags and have lasted forever! Some, I’m certain, are over 10 years old.

  5. Dreena Tischler

    Oh – and riffing off Kara’s note — my mom also sewed two together with a cloth diaper in between and made the most wonderful pot holders I’ve ever owned.

    • Kara @simplekids

      What a great idea!

  6. Angie

    I also suffer from knitting envy! I’ll def. give this a try.

  7. Mrs. Graham Gardens

    What a lovely, practical post! I confess that I have a huge drawer-full from a knitting craze I went through a couple years ago. They have lasted so long and are still my favorite “rags” for everything. Even if they begin to unravel, I will tie the loose ends in knots and keep ’em anyway. I always beg my knitting nieces to make a few of these for me every Christmas – life is good as long as there is a drawer-full of clean, cotton knitted cloths!!

    I have found that I really enjoy using several strands of cotton thread (size 10, for thread crochet) worked together to make these washcloths. It makes the fabric denser and a bit less chunky feeling. And it’s still cotton and very durable.

  8. EmJay

    My grandmother made these from me when I first move away from my parents and many years later I was wondering how I would ever replace them. Thank you!!! Now I need to get knitting.

  9. Charis

    i love to knit but, believe it or not, have never knit a washcloth! i will have to try it because i have been thinking about trying the oil cleansing method for weeks!

  10. Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds

    I love making washcloths. I can usually make one in an hour or so while watching the kids play outside.

  11. Sarah

    OMGoodness! I just recently started using a version of OCM and was thinking that a regular washcloth is just too big for me. I love to knit and it didn’t occur to me to simply knit my own! Thanks for the great idea!

  12. Amy

    I love the oil cleansing method! I am a novice knitter and have made many of these dishcloths–they are my favorite.

  13. Kim J.

    My sister made one of these for a wedding present. 20 years later, I still have it! It’s great to see the pattern.

  14. kyndale

    I’ve been knitting a lot of these lately practicing my continental knitting. I’ve seen a few patterns on Ravelry but this is the best simple pattern that works really well. They are so soft and lovely.

    ps. I came over from Fimby : )

    • Nicole

      Thanks, Kyndale, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  15. wash cloth for face

    Knit wash cloths easy to make. Knit washcloths are nice and gentle on face skin. It gently clean the face and take out the dirt and oil from the face and gives freshness to the skin.

  16. Nicole Hale

    This is the same pattern (on a larger scale) that the author Debbie McComber used in her On Blossom Street knitting book. It makes a wonderful afghan/blanket on the larger scale and is super easy too!!

  17. Patricia

    I use double strands, knit a bit wider, by adding a couple of add on rows, and use them for pot holders, and for setting hot dishes on.

  18. LeaCat

    I am a pretty inexperienced knitter; but these washcloths are super fun and turn out really nice. I was wondering if I could use this basic washcloth pattern; but, make a neck scarf instead? Does anyone know how to do that? Once you get to the number of stitches that you want; then, you would normally start to decrease. What if instead; you want to maintain the same number of stitches for a couple of feet? How would you do that? If you increased on one row and then decreased on the next to keep it even, would that work? I will experiment; but I would love to know what someone more experienced thinks. Thanks

    • Nicole

      I’m sure it would. Let us know how it turns out! If there are more experienced knitters out there, maybe they can give you more pointers!

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