Top Ten: Ways to Recycle Your Old Towels and Sheets

We recently took stock of our linen closet and realized that half of the storage space was taken up by sheet sets and towels that we simply don't use. Some are very old and worn out and some just never seem to make it into our weekly linen rotation. Of course, we didn't want to throw them out, so it got us thinking about recycling options...


1. Use old sheets and blankets to make new ironing board pads and covers. Thick blankets make ideal ironing board pads. For the blanket pad, cut just the size of the ironing board top. Then, lay the old ironing cover down on your sheet and cut out, cutting extra to cover the sides of the board. Place the blanket pad underneath the sheet cover and fit to the ironing board.

2. Donate old sheets and towels to a local animal shelter. Most shelters will accept old blankets, bath towels, hand towels, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, bathroom rugs and t-shirts. Shelters use these for lining pet cages, cleaning up messes, drying off wet dogs, providing warm bedding, and covering kennel doors when pets need a rest from the light. Most shelters are under-served in this area, so any extra help is greatly appreciated.

3. On that note, if you have a dog, make some thrifty knot toy from your old towels. Cut the towel into strips lengthwise about five inches wide and tie knots along the length of the towel close together. Your dog will love chewing on it.

3. If your sheets are still in good condition (and you still like them!), make them into curtains. A printed cotton top sheet would be an easy and lovely way to cover your windows.

4. If you have a car, keep an old sheet or towel in the trunk for an impromptu picnic or day at the beach (also good for protecting the car seat after a swim). You could also sew a couple of old sheets together and use as a beach blanket.

5. If you happen to have towels and sheets still in good/unworn condition, donate them to a local church or homeless shelter.

6. Use your old sheets to make a gift or shoe bags. Just cut the size you need, sew a one-inch seam for the drawstring, and then sew the bag together.

7. Make your own dishtowels by hemming the edges to prevent fraying.

8. Use your old sheets to make a tablecloth, table runner, placemats, and napkins. Sew a few layers of sheets together for added thickness. Also, use either an old towel or sheet to make an apron.

9. Use old sheets as linings and underlinings for your clothes.

10. Give up on paper towels and disposable sponges, and make your own cleaning cloths and rags.