Free Reusable Cotton Pads Crochet Pattern

Happy Earth Day, friends!

A year ago when I was going through a skin crisis (breakouts everywhere), I decided to change my entire skincare routine and also started using a toner. My updated skincare fixed my skin problem, but because I was using toner, I needed to use cotton pads.

Ollie Holly Cotton Pad

Initially, I didn’t really think much about it because cotton pads are relatively small. But as my garbage bin started to fill up with cotton pads, I started feeling a little bit guilty about the amount of waste I was creating. It was around this time that I decided to sew my own reusable cotton pads.

Reusable Cotton Pads Crochet Pattern First Attempt

These reusable pads didn’t turn out great. I needed to use double the amount of toner whenever I used these cotton pads because the pads were absorbing too much of the toner. They were also a little rough on my skin, but I just dealt with it and kept using them because I didn’t want to waste them.

After about half a year of using my DIY cotton pads, I began to think about how I could make something a little nicer in place of these. This was when I decided to experiment with the yarns I own to try to create something that I would actually enjoy using.

**Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional costs to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read a little more about that here!

The Experiment

First, I had to round up the yarns that I thought would make great cotton pads. I wanted something absorbent (but won’t eat up the skincare product), soft, and machine-washable. From my current stash, I came up with these four yarns.

Ollie Holly Yarn Styles

From left to right

I chose these yarns because they all contain cotton and I wanted my pads to have at least 50% cotton in them.

After settling on my four yarns, I had to decide on how I wanted to make my base pattern so that I could compare the materials in a more controlled manner. I started with a 3.5mm hook and a single crochet all around pattern, but the pads I made turned out a little bit too dense and the density made it less absorbent.

So then I upped the hook size to 4.5 mm and decided to use a hdc all around pattern. That turned out a little bit better, but was still not exactly what I was looking for. But for the sake of experimenting, I decided to just stick with this pattern for the yarn choosing process.

Free Reusable Cotton Pads Crochet Pattern Yarn Styles

Here are my first impressions of each one:

  • Comfy- Not very absorbent but very soft on my skin.
  • Shine Sport- Not absorbent at all but SUPER soft. Because it wasn’t absorbent, however, majority of the toner ended up on my skin.
  • Dishie- Not absorbent and very rough, so it’s officially out of the running.
  • Paintbox- Very absorbent but not as soft as the first two.

I then decided to see if washing the pads and drying them out would make them a bit softer and more absorbent. Here’s what happened when I used them after washing/drying:

  • Comfy- improved absorbency and got a little bit softer. There was slight shedding and pilling, but that could probably be prevented by allowing it to air dry instead of drying in a machine dryer.
  • Shine Sport- did not improve the absorbency, but washes so beautifully (no pilling or shedding).
  • Paintbox- not much of a difference after washing and drying. It softened up a bit, but it’s still not as soft as the first two.

After that, I realized that 100% cotton yarns will never be as soft as cotton blends. I liked the Shine Sport because most of the toner I put onto the pad actually ended up being on my skin. But that being said, my favourite yarn out of the three is the Comfy yarn. It didn’t eat up too much of the toner but was still absorbent enough to not make a mess.

And since I’ve narrowed down my yarn choice, I had to figure out how to maximize softness and absorbency through the pattern. I came across a lot of different looking cotton pads online and decided to give some of them a try.

These two styles are the most common.

Free Reusable Cotton Pads Crochet Pattern Styles

The one on the left is created with a bunch of puff stitches. It’s very pretty and very absorbent, but I did find that the pad soaked up a bit too much of the toner.

The one on the right is made up of a bunch of HDC in the round. I liked this pattern a lot, but I wanted the pad to be a little fluffier while also being denser in the centre to prevent liquid from just spilling through.

With those notes in mind, I made these reusable crochet cotton pads!

The difficulty level of this pattern is Easy and this pattern is written in US crochet terminology.

Free Reusable Cotton Pads Crochet Pattern

6 month update:  After using the cotton pads made with Comfy for 6+ months, the pads have gotten softer and more absorbent with each wash. The shape has also not been affected by the washing in any way. As long as you care for these properly, they should last a very long time.


ch: chain
sc: single crochet
dc: double crochet
sl st: slip stitch
(…) x # : repeat anything in the parenthesis however many times the number indicates
[#]: total number of stitches for that row
#sc/hdc: one sc in the following # stitches
hdc2: half double crochet twice into the same st
dc2: double crochet twice into the same st

Reusable Crochet Cotton Pads

1 8sc in magic circle, sl st to the top of the first sc to join [8]

Free Reusable Cotton Pads Crochet Pattern Step 1

2 ch 2, dc into the same st the ch 2 is coming out of, (dc2) x 7, sl st to the top of the ch to join [16]

3 ch 2, hdc2, (hdc, hdc2) x 7, sl st to the top of the ch to join. Alternatively, you can do a seamless join in the round (see video below) [24]

Optional fourth round for bigger cotton rounds:

4 ch 2, hdc2, (2hdc*, hdc2) x 7, hdc, sl st to the top of the ch to join. [32] *one hdc in each of the next two stitches

Fasten off, weave tails in, snip excess tails off.

Make a bunch of these crochet reusable cotton pads and store them in a cute mason jar! They make for great gifts too.

Washing Instructions

For Comfy: Allow the toner/liquid to dry off on the used pads before placing all of your used cotton pads into a mesh bag. Cold wash, and lay flat to dry or tumble dry low. Avoid using fabric softeners or dryer sheets as they will affect absorbency.

Feel free to test out your own yarns and see what works for you! And don’t forget that Earth Day isn’t just one day out of the entire year. We should all be doing our best for the environment all year long!

Please leave me a comment down below (or contact me) if you have any questions about this pattern. I would also love to see your creation so don’t forget to tag me (@olliehollycrochet) on Instagram or use the #olliehollycrochet!

If you find any mistakes in the pattern, please contact me and let me know! I do my best to catch my mistakes when I edit my patterns but I sometimes miss the little things.

You may sell products made from this pattern in small quantities but please clearly credit the design to me, Abby Sy of Ollie + Holly and provide a link to my blog  Permission is NOT granted for mass production or factory manufacturing of any kind.  Thank you for being respectful and for your understanding!

10 thoughts on “Free Reusable Cotton Pads Crochet Pattern

  1. Nina says:

    I’ve been meaning to make my own cotton pads but wasn’t sure what yarn fibre or stitches to use, so this post is exactly what I needed! Thank you so much!

  2. cayly says:

    Hi! Thanks for the tutorial! Got a question, if i want to add another circle (4th), what stitch should i do? Cheers:)

    • Abby says:

      Hi there,

      It depends on how much bigger you want your circle to be, but I’d suggest doing the fourth round with hdc.

      Here’s what a fourth round would look like:
      4 ch 2, hdc2, (2hdc*, hdc2) x 7, hdc, sl st to the top of the ch to join. [32]

      *2hdc: make one half double crochet in the next 2 stitches

      Hope this helps!


      • Mikala says:

        This was so helpful! I made two with the tutorial pattern, and made The third with the fourth round extension and love the size! ThanKs for sharing this pattern, and the additional fourth round! The video was so helpful as well! I’m using acrylic yarn because that’s what i have on hand. So excited about these!


  3. Rebecca says:

    Great pattern and great idea. I’m looking into making these, too, but I’ve been worried about the colour of the yarn running. Do you suggest washing the pads all first before combining with toner, moisturiser, etc.? Or are they good to go straight off the bat? Don’t want to take my make-up off and leave a streak of dye behind! Thanks.

    • Abby says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      It really depends on the yarn you are using, but you should definitely give the cotton pads a wash/dry before using them. Also, if you are using naturally-dyed yarn or indie yarn, there is a higher chance of colour run-off. So if that’s what you’re using, giving those pads a bit of a soak before washing them will also help!

      Hope this helps!


  4. Trish says:

    Thank you thank you! I picked up some Sugar and Creme to make toner pads for my daughter but had some of the same questions you had about absorbency and texture. After ripping out a few different styles, I came across your blog while researching. This sounds perfect! I’ll be ordering/locating the Comfy and using your pattern and my daughter should be good to go.

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