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Object Lessons: The Humble Cotton Cleaning Cloth (Plus 5 to Buy)

Before the advent of synthetic cleaning cloths and paper towels, the cotton cleaning cloth was the scullery maid’s weapon of choice when attending to a spill. The cloth was dampened slightly then pushed around the floor, using foot or bended knee, to clean up the area in question. These days, there’s still no need to get out a bucket and mop (or armful of paper towels) when a cleaning cloth can perform the same duty with less fuss and waste. Tightly woven with a subtly attractive stripe, the cloth is not only presentable but durable: It likes to be washed and actually improves with age. Which is more than you can say about its modern descendants. Fortunately, the classic is making a comeback.

Five to Buy

Iris Hantverk Cleaning Cloths at June Home Supply
Above: The 100 percent cotton Cleaning Cloths, made in Sweden by Iris Hantverk, is available at June Home Supply for $7.50.
Schoolhouse Heirloom Cloths
Above: From German company Burstenhaus Redecker, these cotton Heirloom Cloths come in two sizes; $8 and $16 at Schoolhouse.
Labour and Wait Floor Cloths
Above: The Cotton Floor Cloth, a 21-inch square, is available from Labour and Wait in London for £4.
Cotton Floor Cloths from Woods Fine Linens
Above: Traditional Woven Cotton Floor Cloths, measuring 53 square centimeters (about 21 square inches), are £3 each from Woods Fine Linens.
Birdseye Cotton Unpaper Towels
Above: A dozen bird’s-eye cotton Unpaper Towels are $14.95 from Man in the Moon Herbs on Etsy.

Object Lessons columnist Megan Wilson is the curator of the Remodelista 100, a collection of essential everyday objects presented in the Remodelista book.

This post is an update. It originally ran on March 25, 2014 on Remodelista.

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