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Cloth rags are rags made from unwanted clothing, household fabric items and similar sources. They are useful for cleaning, mopping up messes, trade uses (plumbing, car repair, washing windows, etc.), craft projects, gardening (such as tying up stakes), garden fill, and much more.
The best cloth rags come from nature fibres, such as cotton, linen and bamboo. The end use should be considered when selecting cloth rags, as some rags may not be suitable due to chemical dyes, synthetic components, etc.
Instead of throwing out torn, worn or ripped clothing (that cannot be donated), turn these into rags and keep them for future use. If you need more rags than what your personal household supply can provide, rags can be sourced from such places as nappy/diaper services getting rid of clean, worn cloth nappies/diapers, charity stores (buy t-shirts, etc. they're tossing out or rag bags) and possibly through sources such as Freecycle.
Cotton cloth rags are ideal for many cleaning uses and can be sourced from old towels, old t-shirts and other clothing and old cloth nappies or diapers. Of course, ensure that the items are clean before turning into rags!
To turn clothing and fabric items into cloths, you can cut or rip them into strips or pieces. Always ensure that the pieces are large enough for use if cleaning, mopping, wiping, etc.
Aim to keep an ongoing supply of cloth rags in your home or business, for regular use in place of paper towels or commercial wipes. They can be stored in containers under the kitchen or laundry sinks, or in a cupboard. Use an old ice cream container for keeping a bundle in neatly.
Cloth rags can be washed and reused many times. If made from all natural fibres, compost or garden fill with them when they've stopped being useful as rags.
Always test coloured cloth rags before using, in case of colour run. Add a little of the relevant cleaning compound to the cloth rag, then test on something that can be tossed away to see if the rag "bleeds" colour or works without problem.
Uses for rags in craft:
- Patchwork quilts
- Rag dolls
- Rag rugs
- Patchwork clothing
- Knitting/crochet with rag lengths
- Soft sculptures