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.
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.
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!
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.
From left to right
- Knitpicks Comfy Worsted – 75% cotton + 25% acrylic
- Knitpicks Shine Sport – 60% cotton + 40% rayon
- Knitpicks Dishie – 100% cotton
- Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran – 100% Cotton
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.
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.
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.
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.
THINGS YOU NEED
- Comfy Worsted Weight Yarn from Knitpicks
- 4.5mm Crochet Hook
- Darning Needle
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 
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 
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) 
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.  *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.
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 www.OllieHolly.com. Permission is NOT granted for mass production or factory manufacturing of any kind. Thank you for being respectful and for your understanding!