20 Clever ways to repurpose old clothes and towels
By Divina Ramirez // Sep 15, 2021

Not every item in your donation pile is suitable for giving away. Some items might be too stained, worn or too personal to pack up for your local donation center. Moreover, sorting through inappropriate or unusable donations can waste a charity's valuable time. You'd be better off finding a clever new use for your unwearable items.


Plus, doing so is helpful for the environment in that you get to keep items from ending up in a landfill.

Here are 20 smart ways to repurpose your old clothes and towels: (h/t to LivingLifeInRuralIowa.com)

  1. Make cleaning rags – You can never have too many cleaning rags in your home. Instead of buying, make your own out of old socks or shirts that are too worn to use.
  2. Mend ripped clothes – Cut patches from old shirts, denim jeans and sweaters to repair ripped clothes. This is a great way to repurpose old clothes and avoid buying new ones just because of holes or rips.
  3. Make quilt patches – Cut old clothes and towels into patches for your quilts. This is an especially enjoyable project if you're working with colorful and textured fabrics.
  4. Make a braided rug – For a fun, do-it-yourself rug, cut strips of old shirts and braid them.
  5. Salvage buttons, buckles and zippers – For clothes that are too worn to repurpose, salvage buttons, buckles or zippers before throwing them away. You can reuse these items later for mending clothes.
  6. Make smaller clothes for babies or children – Upcycle large or oversized clothes into smaller ones for babies, toddlers or young children.
  7. Make warm packs – In a pinch, you can make a dry or warm compress using old towels, scarves, flannel shirts or socks. Sew the fabrics shut to make a pocket and fill the pocket with uncooked rice or dry beans. Use to relieve sore muscles or cramps. (Related: Relieve sore muscles naturally with these 12 essential oils.)
  8. Use stained clothes as oil rags – Clothes with stubborn stains can be repurposed as oil or grease rags for when you're working on your car or cleaning things in an outdoor shed.
  9. Use old cotton shirts as bandages – Old cotton shirts or muslins can be repurposed as bandages due to their absorbent nature. Just cut the cloth into strips and fashion them into a bandage.
  10. Make inner layers for quilts – Sew together old towels to create an inner layer for your quilts.
  11. Make draft stoppers for doors and windows – Repurpose old denim jeans or trousers by sewing the leg holes shut and filling them with beans or uncooked rice to make draft stoppers.
  12. Make mittens or gloves – Unravel an old wool sweater to make mittens, warm hats or slippers.
  13. Make scarves – You can also take apart old sweaters and repurpose them into a scarf.
  14. Make dish towels or handkerchiefs – Oversized button-down shirts can also be taken apart to create dish towels, cloth napkins and handkerchiefs.
  15. Make head wraps or scrunchies – Keep your hair out of your face while working with head wraps or scrunchies made from old shirts. Here's a simple guide to making scrunchies out of old clothes.
  16. Reuse old towels as reusable wipes – Cut your old towels into squares and use them as wipes for diaper changes, makeup removal and quick cleanups.
  17. Make aprons – Turn old oversized shirts and long skirts into aprons.
  18. Cut old jeans into shorts – Make shorts out of worn jeans or tattered pants.
  19. Make potholders – Sew a few layers of old towels between two pieces of old denim to make potholders.
  20. Make bibs – Cut old towels and flannel shirts into bibs or burp cloths for babies.

Give unwearable clothes and old towels a second chance by repurposing them. To get started, try any of the ideas listed above.

Sources include:



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