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I've only needed to use cheesecloth a few times in the kitchen and was curious to know if it's reusable.

If so, how is it cleaned and how many times can it be reused?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I've not been able to use store bought cheese cloth more than twice and then only if I used it gently. And I'm not gentle on the stuff. I use it for cheese making regularly as well as juicing and random filtering.

I gave up on normal cheese cloth because it is too fragile and way too expensive for what it was.

I now use instead a tightly woven polyester mesh fabric. I found a yard of it in the scraps section of the fabric store for $1. A yard is about 3 times more than I will ever need. I cut it into smaller pieces and hemmed it. It is strong enough to be rung out full of grapes as well as laundered and a tight enough weave to filter small particles out of beef stock.

I was surprised how often I end up using these cloths and highly recommend them.

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Great answer! I have been struggling with normal cheese cloth for a while for the exact reasons you describe, and never considered woven polyester. Once you start using cheese cloth regularly, you find a million uses for it (besides the ones you mentioned, it makes a great satchel for herbs that you don't want in your meal - my wife hates the texture of rosemary, for example, but likes the flavor). Very excited to hit the fabric store this weekend, thanks for the answer! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 26 '10 at 21:39
    
I've never used polyester, but I have used muslin before, because I had it on hand. –  Joe Aug 26 '10 at 22:07
    
Of course, many forms of polyester will not take boiling. –  derobert May 10 '11 at 22:39
    
@derobert- this is true. I had never thought of using these for herbs. Mine wouldn't handle the heat. –  Sobachatina May 11 '11 at 2:52
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Cloth sold for clothing use is not food safe. Even undyed cloth can be treated with chemicals, for example to make it less wrinkle-prone. There are some stores (mostly online) which sell untreated organic cloth from natural fibers intended for the all-natural demographic, but this cloth tends to be expensive too. I would not trust a craft store cloth selection to be food safe. –  rumtscho Jul 24 '13 at 15:58
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I save my dishcloths and washcloths that become thin and worn down to just the threads to use as "re-usable" infusion pouches, and for other typical things where cheesecloth is used.

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Honestly, we use cheesecloth constantly in my household (making yogurt, making cheese). In my experience there isn't really a golden number of times it can be reused - it is much more heavily dependent on the quality of the original cheesecloth, and that varies. I have some that has been used 10+ times (stuff purchased from a brewer shop specifically for cheese making). I have other brands (stuff from the craft section at walmart) which barely survived after a single use. So, try a brand, see if it can be cleaned, and if it can try using it again. You'll know when it can't be used anymore (it will fray apart, become stretched thin, etc).

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My wife is a gourmet cook (lucky me), and she uses cheesecloth for a lot of her creations. She used to complain about having to throw it away after one use, because the mesh would fall apart if she tried to wash it, even by hand. Then she found a Grade 60 unbleached cheesecloth on Amazon that she swears by. She can wash it a bunch of times by tucking it inside of a tee-shirt and tossing it in the washer. Here's a link, if you're interested: http://www.amazon.com/Cheesecloth-Unbleached-Strainers-Satisfied-Guarantee/dp/B00H9HZQAG/ref=sr_1_11?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1395996475&sr=1-11&keywords=cheesecloth Her fresh, hot, homemade blueberry syrup is one of my favorites.

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