Hmm. My family of origin, various friends along the way, and DH and I *do* use washcloths for showering and bathing the human body.
It's just the dish
part of dish
cloth/rag that seems odd to me. Oh, yes, my mom had us dry the dishes with dishtowels, but they were completely different from the sponges we washed the dishes with. (Note:
sponges can go through the wash by themselves or in a net bag as a group. Hot-water wash and/or bleach load, either does just fine.)
I racked my brains the other day after starting this thread. I found therein One Whole Memory involving textile items intended for cleaning dishes. When I was in the 3rd grade and going on my first Girl Scout cook-out, the leader told us that we'd need a "bag" to air-dry our dishes after washing them. We were to make this "bag" out of 2 dish-washing Items (I can't remember what she called them). Because it was a required item for an activity my parents approved of, they went to the store and bought 2 of these dish-washing, textile items. I hand-stitched them together on three sides and wove two shoe laces along the top for drawstrings. On the cook-out, this "bag" was big enough for my dishes, and the shoe laces were handy for hanging the bag up on the clothesline the leaders strung up for us.
For people who used dishcloths as a normal part of the dish-washing routine, though, I am
noticing a geographical pattern, albeit a wide-ranging one. With only one or two exceptions, the responders on this thread lived in or were raised in the northern
half of the U.S. The most "northerly" place my family was ever stationed was Cheyenne, Wyoming, whose identity is much more Western than it is Northern. My GF, raised in Idaho, has also said that dishcloths were "perfectly normal" in her neck of the woods.
I have a goodly collection of rags qua
rags. These are dishtowels with major holes or rips, old T-shirts which can't be worn anymore, and the like. They're used to clean the floors, mop up yucky stuff (e.g., animal messes), clean the car windows, and such. They live under the kitchen sink.
I guess you'd have to be a much faster knitter than I am to look with equanimity upon knitting items whose purpose
in life is to be destroyed.... But, then, I'm still awaiting word that one of my quilts (esp. the ones given to my nephews and nieces) has been "worn to death" and needs to be replaced. However, the life span of my quilts seems--so far!--to be measured in decades, or at least multiple years. Fortunately, wearing out is a side effect of a quilt being used rather than its sole purpose in life.
Making something whose purpose
is to be destroyed...I dunno.... It just sounds like a discouraging activity. I must be missing yet another important aspect of dishcloth-making. Help?