Where Can I Buy Cheesecloth And What Should I Do If I Can’t?

Cheesecloth is the sort of kitchen utensil that you have likely seen on old cookery programs or maybe one of your grandparents used to make their own cheese.

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Cheesecloth can, of course, be used for making cheese. But it is useful for so many different dishes. Cheesecloth can be used to make oat milk, sauces, juices, and yogurt.

Cheesecloth has waned in usage in recent years as few people make their own food from scratch.

Where to Buy Cheesecloth and What to Do When You Can't Get It

But as more people turn away from ready-made and processed foods, and take more care over their impact on the environment, items like cheesecloth are becoming more in demand.

So, where can you buy a cheese cloth? You likely won’t find one in your local grocery store.

But there are plenty of other stores and companies that are supplying the demand for eco-friendly kitchen tools. Here are just a few places to look for a cheesecloth:

Where to Buy Cheesecloth

Baking Stores

Most stores that specialize in baking and cooking will have cheesecloths.

Depending on how extensive their ranges are, they might even have several kinds. (Read on or scroll down for more information on the different kinds of cheesecloth and what they’re used for).

Zero-Waste Stores

As we all now know, packaging (especially single-use plastic packaging) is polluting the oceans and is just generally terrible for the environment. Because of this, zero-waste stores have been popping up all over the place. 

Cheesecloth can be used to sustainably make your own foods, so it helps you to reduce the amount of plastic packaging you use.

This means that lots of zero-waste stores sell products and accessories that will help you to lead a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. 

Online

If you live somewhere with a lot of stores, especially independent stores, it’s a good idea to buy what you can locally.

But, if you can’t find cheesecloth in any store local to you, then you can 100% find one online. 

There are hundreds of online cookery and baking stores that have a huge range of products.

You might even be able to find a cheesecloth on one of the many online stores that specialize in eco-friendly and sustainable products. 

What to Do When You Can’t Find a Cheesecloth

If, after trying everywhere you can think of, you can’t find a cheesecloth, then there are a few other things you can use.

Or perhaps you just want to try out a recipe that requires straining through a cheesecloth and don’t want to spend money on something that you won’t use all that often.

Whatever your reason, there are plenty of other items that can be used instead of a cheesecloth.

Most of these items are probably already lying around your house somewhere. So, here are the best alternatives to cheesecloths:

Bedding

A bed sheet or pillowcase will work pretty well as a cheesecloth substitute. But this depends on the fineness of the thread.

Cheesecloth is a very thin and soft material with relatively large gaps. So, if your bedding is relatively stiff and tightly woven, this might not quite do the job. At the very least, it will take longer to strain through all of the liquid.

T-Shirt/Thin Clothing

A t-shirt or a standard button-down shirt will also work well. We’re not suggesting you use your best work shirt.

But the weave of a dress shirt is a good alternative to a cheesecloth. Especially if it is relatively old and has been softened through washing.

One thing to remember when using a cheesecloth substitute is that they can be washed.

If you’re making something that could dye or stain the material, then it would definitely be best to use something old that you don’t plan on wearing again. But, if it’s anything else, the material should be fine after a quick wash.

Coffee Filter

This might be a difficult option if you’re straining large quantities. But if you’re straining a small amount or are happy to strain it through a few spoonfuls at a time, a coffee filter will do the job.

Cheesecloth usually comes in very large pieces. This is so they can be easily held over a bowl. But, as you will know, coffee filters are relatively small in comparison.

This means that you will only be able to strain a small amount into a small container. So, if you’re making large quantities, you might find yourself removing and emptying the container quite often.

But, if you’re only making a small amount, or just don’t mind a slow process, this will work just fine. 

In a pinch you can also use paper towels, fine mesh bag, a kitchen towel as cheesecloth fabric. Finer weave cloth will work best.

Different Kinds of Cheesecloth

Although most stores will only sell one kind of cheesecloth, there are actually several different types.

The material and thickness of cheesecloth can vary greatly. So it’s important to know exactly what you need. 

Otherwise, whatever you’re making won’t have the right texture and consistency. You definitely don’t want to risk making watery, soggy cheese. 

Cheesecloth is usually divided into grades. These are Grade no.10, Grade no.40, Grade no.50, Grade no.60, and Grade no.90.

These grades classify the porosity of the material. This means the closeness and density of the threads. Grade no.10 is the most porous and Grade no.90 is the least.

This means that Grade no.10 will allow the most liquid to strain through and Grade no.90 the least.

Summary

Cheesecloth can be relatively easy to find. But, if you’re having difficulty (or just don’t want to splash out on something you might only use once) there are plenty of items sitting around your home that can be easily used as substitutes.

That said, nothing will quite work in the same way as a cheesecloth. Cheesecloth is specially made to strain foods (of course, most commonly cheese) so it is definitely the best material to use.

But, if you’re in a pinch, you definitely have a lot of other options available. 

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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