If you’ve been using cheesecloth for some time, you know buying new sheets for every use can get expensive. Personally, I hate the thought of wasting money on something I’ve already purchased. I strain yogurt fairly often, and when I first started, I found myself going through a lot of cheesecloth. I drove me crazy! One time use is not a phrase I want in my vocabulary. I can remember thinking, ugh! Do I have to throw this away now? I mean, is cheesecloth reusable? Put your pocketbook away guys, because it definitely is!
Where To Buy Cheesecloth
You can purchase cheesecloth at the grocery store, or at fabric stores. The sheets you find at the grocery store are fairly inexpensive, but if you’re using and tossing, the cost does add up.
Cheesecloth found at the grocery store usually doesn’t stand up to multiple uses. If it says one-time use only, you may be able to get a second use out of it if you carefully hand wash. The thin fabric breakdowns quickly, and turns into a regular mess before you know it.
Head to the fabric store for good quality unbleached cheesecloth. My local fabric store keeps it behind the counter, but every store is different. The higher quality material allows you to hand wash, or even toss in your washing machine, and reuse it for many years to come.
How To Reuse Cheesecloth
The best way to keep your cheesecloth in working condition is to immediately rinse it in warm to hot water after use. If there are bits of curd sticking to the fabric, use white vinegar to help remove them. Be careful not to scrub to aggressively during this. You can always wash and come back with more vinegar later.
Wash with mild detergent only. Don’t use harsh chemicals or fabric softeners of any kind – they will take a toll on even the best of cheesecloths. You can wash by hand if you are worried about the longevity of your cheesecloth, or run it through your washing machine. Wash with your kitchen towels, or other soft fabrics, and keep to the gentle cycle. Always rinse thoroughly after washing to remove any soap residue.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can boil your cheesecloth for 3-5 minutes to sterilize and then hang it out to dry. You can also throw your cheesecloth in your dryer on low heat, but it’s definitely better to air dry if you can. Once your cheesecloth is completely dry, fold it, and store it in a zip-style plastic storage bag. Try to remove as much air from the bag as you can, and keep it in a cool dry place until you are ready to use it again.
If all else fails and you’re so over cheesecloth, check out these alternatives.
Do you reuse your cheesecloth? Let us know what cheesecloth you found that holds up best, and what you do to keep your cheesecloth good for multiple uses.