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Cleaning and Reusing Cheesecloth

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If you’ve made Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or cream cheese then you might be wondering what on earth to do with that dirty cheesecloth left over. For a long time, I just threw mine away…..until my genius Mama told me that I was supposed to be reusing it. Uhhhh, oops? I smacked myself on the head and then lamented ALL DAY about all the cheesecloth I had thrown out. That stuff isn’t cheap ya know. So, I thought maybe someone else out there would be as happy as me to know that it can be reused. The process is pretty easy, so let’s check it out.

First, run a sink of warm water and really rinse that booger out. It’s going to be pretty matted and yucky. You won’t be able to get it all out, but just douse it lots of times and get the bigger parts of dairy out. Drain the water.

Run another partial sink of hot, soapy water.  Put your cheesecloth down into the water and let it soak about 30 minutes. That will help most of the food particles to release. After 30 minutes, scrub it to really get it clean. I just used by hands and rubbed the fabric against itself to create bubbles and washing action. You could use a scrub brush if you wanted. Scrub until you can tell all your food is gone. It might take a while……put some effort into it! Call this your Cheesecloth Workout. (If you can’t get all the food out, you can also boil the cheesecloth in a pot of water on the stove. Boil for about 15 minutes. This method also works if your cheesecloth is retaining some of the dairy scent.)

When you feel like your cheesecloth is clean, rinse it under running water until you can tell all the soap is gone. You want to be really sure of this……leave no soap behind. Soapy yogurt? Blech!

Now, you CAN throw it in the dryer to dry it…..but I prefer to hang my clothes in the sun to dry. The plus for hanging this cheesecloth in the sun is that the sunlight will kill any bacteria that might still be hanging around. The boiling of water on the stove also helps with this….but why boil when the sun can do your work?When it’s dry, you are ready to reuse it. Isn’t it nice to reuse something instead of throwing it away?

This post is linked at Real Food Wednesday on Kelly The Kitchen Kop, at Sunday School on Butter Believer, and at Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. oh, my sweet Stacy….I didn’t know that YOU didn’t know to reuse. I’m sure you are not the only one out there that didn’t know this and your post will be like a light bulb above their head! Looking forward to seeing you at the workshop on Sat.

    Love ya!

  2. I use a jelly bag for straining and just rinse and toss in the wash. But, jelly bags are harder to find than cheese cloth. :-) You know I love sunshine for disinfecting.

  3. Great tips! I’ve actually never used cheesecloth yet. I’m a newbie, I’m telling ya! You know I totally would have been throwing mine out, too!

  4. I was thinking about your cleaning and it made me think of the 5gal Washing machine.

    When I was a scout leader I got a free 5 gal pickle bucket with a snap on lid from the Krumbley Burger in town and I went to the local Wally World and bought a brand spanking new long handled sink plunger. I cut a hole in the center of the lid and put the plunger in the bucket and the handle went through the lid and the lid snapped down tight.

    At summer camp about mid week the pile of “unmentionables” grew quite large, so I got out my 5gal washing machine and put the clothing items in it and a cap full of woolite and fill it about half way with water.

    I plunged for 5 mins and then dumped the soapy water and replaced it with fresh and plunged for a couple of more minutes. Dumps that water and added some more and hand rinsed the item and hand wrung them to make sure the soap was all gone.

    I hung them on the clothesline and stood back an marveled and the fact I had not seen my socks so clean sense there were still int he plastic wrap at the store.

    I would bet that would work wonders on your cheese cloth!

    Just a thought!

  5. Enjoyed every bit of your blog post.Really looking forward to read more.

  6. Thanks! I was just wondering how to clean the cheese cloth after I strained some almond milk.

  7. Thanks so much. I’ve been making my own cheese from fresh goat milk (my own goat that I milk myself :)) and I was wondering if I would have throw away my is so spendy. Thanks bunches.

  8. dbloomingdale says:

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this. I have gone thru three packages of cheese cloth and I am thinking that there has got to be a better way to make this with being a little more thrifty. A friend of mine used fine grade tulle which is a little more….substantial and probably a little easier to wash. I am going to try this out.

  9. Angela Bergeron says:

    Haha it didn’t even occur to me to throw it out until I just googled how to wash it and found you on how to wash and a bunch of others saying they toss it. Then again I’ve never used cheesecloth before. I just bought some to make coconut and almond milk. Anyways what kind of soap do you use. I’m kind of leery on that since it will be for food and I just found out I’m allergic to something in my dawn dish liquid so I need to toss that. Thank you!

  10. I just made my first batch of ricotta and I am sure to make it again. I did a quick search before throwing away the cheesecloth and am happy to know it can be washed and reused. I washed mine in antibacterial dish soap in a clean mixing bowl then popped it in the microwave. The thought of washing it in a clothes washer (where you do your underthings) and hanging it outside (birds!) seemed a little less hygienic.I nuked it for 11/2 minutes (like I would a kitchen sponge) and it was nearly dry when I took it out! Thanks for the money saving tips.

  11. I just made my first batch of almond milk and used cheesecloth for the first time. I was surprised there were no care instructions on the package. Thanks for sharing!

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