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Which Swedish dish cloths are best?

The average American goes through a massive amount of paper towels every year, spending a great deal of money on them. With rising costs and concerns about waste, Swedish dish cloths are a great alternative to paper towels, sponges and other kitchen and dish cloths. They’re highly absorbent and can typically be washed in the dishwasher along with your dishes for convenience. 

A top pack of Swedish dish towels is the Swedish Wholesale Swedish Dishcloths, 10 cloths in a variety of bright colors. 

What to know before you buy a Swedish dish cloth

What they are

Swedish dish cloths differ from traditional dish towels in some significant ways. They come in a flat, dry form, and must be wetted and then wrung out before use. After this, they’re absorbent and flexible, easy to use in place of a paper towel to wipe up stains or clean, or in place of a sponge to wash and scrub dishes. 

How to use them

A dry Swedish dish cloth is more absorbent than a sponge — as absorbent as a whole stack of paper towels. They take up very little space in the kitchen in comparison to other cloths or dish towels. In their dry form, they’re stiff, making them scrubby enough to tackle stuck-on messes on dishes. Their uses are nearly endless.

Why they’re called Swedish dish cloths

Invented in 1949 in Sweden, Swedish dish cloths have since become widespread throughout northern Europe, replacing paper towels in many homes and businesses. More recently, they’ve also become popular in other countries as well, including places such as the United States that still predominantly rely upon disposable paper towels to wipe up spills. They’re a fantastic eco-friendly alternative, even if they take some getting used to.

What to look for in a quality Swedish dish cloth


Swedish dish cloths can be made of many different materials — some biodegradable, some not. Commonly seen materials include cellulose, viscose, cotton and plain wood pulp. Most are made of a combination of two or more of these materials.

  • Cellulose, composed of plant matter, is often used to make paper products, but can also be used for more durable items such as these dish cloths. The cellulose in Swedish dish cloths is sometimes blended with other materials to make for a stronger material.
  • Cotton is sometimes used in Swedish dish cloths in conjunction with other materials to make for a strong, absorbent material that’s easier to wash and more absorbent than pure cotton, as used in a regular dish towel.
  • Viscose is a semi-synthetic material, made from wood pulp but heavily processed, making it less environmentally friendly than materials like cellulose. It’s a little stronger than cellulose, but not compostable.

How much you can expect to spend on a Swedish dish cloth

They usually cost $1-$3 per cloth, depending on materials, decoration and where they’re manufactured.

Swedish dish cloth FAQ

How long will a Swedish dish cloth last?

A. It depends on the materials, but most last for many uses before breaking down at all. Dish cloths made of pure cellulose are often slightly less durable than other materials, but all Swedish dish cloths are more durable than paper towels or even sponges. Expect to get 10-30 uses out of most Swedish dish towels before replacing them. 

Can Swedish dish cloths be used like regular hand towels?

A. Theoretically — they’re absorbent enough, and larger sizes would work more like a towel. But they’re not intended for this use. Regular cloth towels might be better suited for use as hand towels, while Swedish dish towels can be used for cleaning and other purposes better suited to their texture. 

How often should I clean a Swedish dish cloth?

A. It depends on how often you use it. But they should be cleaned at least as often, if not more often, than you clean a sponge. Most Swedish dish cloths can be hand washed and wrung dry quickly for small messes, but can also go in the dishwasher for a deeper clean. The fact that they can be washed like dishes makes them particularly convenient, as it eliminates the need for them to be washed with the laundry, 

What are the best Swedish dish cloths to buy?

Top Swedish dish cloth

Swedish Wholesale Swedish Dishcloths

Swedish Wholesale Swedish Dishcloths

What you need to know: A pack of 10 in bright, cheerful colors that will match any kitchen, made of compostable cellulose.

What you’ll love: They’re hyper-absorbent, dry quickly and are easy to store. These bestsellers are popular for their simplicity and ease of use. 

What you should consider: Some reviewers complained that they didn’t last as long as advertised.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Swedish dish cloth for the money

Skoy Resuable Swedish Dish Cloth

Skoy Resuable Swedish Dish Cloth

What you need to know: These daisy-patterned dish cloths are made of a 70% cellulose and 30% wood pulp blend and washable in the dishwasher or washing machine.

What you’ll love: They’re manufactured in Germany and highly compostable, breaking down almost completely after 5 weeks in composting tests. 

What you should consider: They have a scent when they arrive, which some reviewers found strong, distracting and difficult to remove. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

DII Swedish Dish Cloth Set

DII Swedish Dish Cloth Set

What you need to know: These adorably patterned Swedish dish cloths come in a huge variety of cute, quirky patterns, including many holiday-themed designs.

What you’ll love: They’re made of cellulose and cotton, so they’re both durable and environmentally friendly. 

What you should consider: They’re quite expensive for dish cloths, at $4-$6 per cloth.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Arabella Matthews writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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