Even though my least favorite daily household chore is doing the dishes, keeping the kitchen clean and tidy is essential. It's important to stay on top of clean sponges too since my other least favorite thing is a damp, stinky sponge sitting out by the sink. You know the ones — they're flat, sad, smell gross, and are usually found in office kitchen spaces or college dorms — ick. It's safe to say none of the sponges in my own household get to that level of disgusting (or at least not very often!), but even so, it's nice to think of an alternative.
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I had never heard of a Swedish dishcloth until the brand Cloud Paper reached out and offered some to try, and these spongy, reusable cloths are my new favorite kitchen find. Cloud Paper calls their version swish cloths, and they're a great, eco-friendly alternative for a paper towel or a kitchen sponge. Read on for more honest thoughts!
(While I did receive the swish cloths as a gift from the brand, all of the following thoughts and opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced by Cloud Paper, in any way.)
What is a swish cloth?
Not quite a sponge and not quite a rag, a swish cloth is essentially a hybrid of the two. According to the Cloud Paper website, the swish cloths are made from 70% plant fibers and 30% cotton fibers and they come in a pack of three. These cloths can be used wet or dry, and since they're so absorbent, they soak up spills easily. When wiping counters, I think of them as a paper towel alternative, and when I use them to clean dishes, they're a sponge alternative. When you're done using them, you can rinse and wring them out to dry and use them for up to four to six months. When it's time to clean them, simply toss them in the dishwasher, and when six months are up, you can toss the biodegradable cloths in the compost bin.
What makes the swish cloth so great?
My favorite part about these cloths is that they dry very quickly. Regular sponges, and even my kitchen towels can spend a bit of time staying damp, which I know breeds bacteria and is the cause of not-so-savory odors. The swish cloths don't stay damp for long, and they stiffen up pretty quickly, which means bacteria growth is kept at a minimum. No sad, smelly sponges!
It's also nice knowing I'm not tossing these in the garbage as often as I would my normal kitchen sponges. Even by staying on top of keeping my sponges as clean as possible, I reach for a new one about every month. Whenever a swish cloth needs a refresh, sending them through a dishwasher cycle does the trick. I've had mine for a few weeks now and they're still looking great — I keep one close to my kitchen towels for soaking up spills, and one by the sink for dishes. A big goal I had for this year was to make as many sustainable swaps as I could (and that felt manageable) and knowing that these swish cloths last a long time, and are biodegradable makes me happy. I know these cloths will break down and not take up space in a landfill, and that seems like a small victory for the planet that doesn't take a ton of effort.
Are there any cons?
The only con I can think of is these cloths do take some getting used to. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the plushness that regular sponges offer since these are quite thin. And while the dryness is a pro, I do think a stiff swish cloth that hangs over the sink looks a little strange. I'd love to see Cloud Paper offer a better way to store them so they dry flatly and evenly.
At the end of the day though, these are aesthetic concerns, and the swish cloth works great. I was looking forward to saying goodbye to paper towels as well, but let's face it, some cleanups you definitely want to toss in the trash, so I'm not saying goodbye to paper towels just yet. I still have them at hand, but try to use them only when necessary.
While it does take some time to get used to, I think trying a swish cloth would be great if you're looking to make an eco-friendly swap for kitchen sponges or paper towels. They're a great conversation starter since they're not necessarily an everyday cleaning staple in most American kitchens, and it feels good knowing you're being a little kinder to the planet. Swish cloths are available as a one-time purchase, or you can try a two, four, or six-month subscription, depending on how often you use yours.
They're also launching a limited edition collaboration with Death & Co on October 3rd, with swish cloths that are perfect for your bar cart and feature a fun cocktail recipe. They've been a great addition to my cleaning routine, and even if I'm never really thrilled to be cleaning our kitchen in the first place, at least I know I'm using a product that stays out of our landfills and gets the job done.