Why buy expensive cleaning rags at the store when you can make them free of charge at home? Think about it -- those nice store-bought rags will lose their color after a few rounds in the kitchen sink anyway. Cutting worn out clothing into cleaning rags is a simple, eco-friendly way to save a bit of green and improve the way you clean.
To begin, lay the clothing flat and cut off any extremities such as straps or sleeves so that you have a large rectangle or square of fabric. Then, mark every 12 inches (30 cm) down the length of the fabric with a sewing crayon or permanent marker. Fabric squares measuring 12 by 12 inches (30 by 30 cm) will work well for most household cleaning projects. Snip the fabric in the marked places. Then, pinching on either side of the snip with your forefinger and thumb, tear in straight lines by pulling the fabric [source: Heida].
For absorbent rags that won't leave a trail of fuzz when you clean, choose clothing made from thick flannel, cotton or other lint-free materials [source: Jane].
Not all rags need the power of absorbency, though. Sometimes, a nice lightweight rag is necessary for dusting. This is where a threadbare T-shirt will come in handy. Thinner materials also work well for polishing furniture or buffing metal [source: Heida].
To make your rags more durable, hem the edges to keep them from fraying. Simply fold each edge over twice and iron it flat so that the fold stays in place. Then, use a sewing machine to sew down the center of each fold.
But let's say you have plenty of rags. You want a craft project that's a bit more challenging -- or maybe you just have a lot of old scraps to use. Read on.