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20 Ways To Reuse and Repurpose Old Clothing and Towels Into Something Useful and Practical

Being frugal souls, throwing away something that you can reuse again practically seems like a waste. However, sometimes those old clothes are worn so much that they cannot be passed down or donated to the thrift store. What are you to do then?

In the spirit of "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without," you figure out a way to reuse or recycle the old clothing. With so much just being thrown away and filling up more of our landfills, we have a duty to use them until they are completely done. In times of crisis and SHTF events, you use everything until it can't be salvaged any longer. Nothing should go to waste if you can still repurpose the items. 

With that thought, I will try to keep the ideas as practical as possible. You can make crafts from them and make things like dolls, doll clothes, purses, and whatnot. Those things are cute and easy to do while still recycling old clothes. However, when times get tough, cute becomes less of a priority. 

20 Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Old Clothing and Towels Into Something Useful and Practical

1. Cleaning rags using old socks and shirts

2. Cut patches using old shirts, pants, and jeans to mend current ripped clothing 

3. Cut old clothing into quilt squares using flannels, jeans, or other non-jersey materials

4. Cut old clothing (especially old t-shirts) into strips to make into a rag rug or braided rug

5. Take off the old buttons, buckles, good elastic, and zippers to reuse again

6. Take apart or cut down larger clothing like shirts and skirts to make smaller clothes for babies, toddlers, and kids

7. Make warm packs with old towels, old flannel shirts, flannel scarves, or socks and filling with uncooked rice or dried beans to use on injuries, sore muscles, or to warm a bed

8. Stained or greasy clothes can be used as grease or oil rags that can be tossed when too nasty to use again

9. Old cotton shirts and muslin clothing can be ripped into strips for bandages or wound compresses

10. Old towels can be sewn together on the edges to create layers inside quilts

11. Pant and jean legs can be sewn at one end, filled with beans, and sewn at the other end to make draft stoppers for doors and windows.

12. Wool sweaters can be turned into slippers, warm hats, and mittens/gloves for colder temperatures

13. Old sweaters can be taken apart or unraveled to make a new pair of gloves, hats, scarves, or socks

14. Oversized button-down shirts can be taken apart to make dish towels, cloth napkins, and handkerchiefs 

15. Old t-shirts can be made into head wraps, headbands, and ponytail holders (scrunchies using elastic) to help women (and men) keep their hair out of their faces while working

16. Old towels can be made into reusable wipes for diaper changes and family cloths (substitute for toilet paper)

17. Oversized shirts and long skirts can be taken apart to make aprons (to help protect your current clothes!)

18. Jeans, pants, and leggings with too many holes in the knees can be cut off into shorts in the summer.

19. Two pieces of old denim with a few layers of old towels sewn between them will make a handy potholder for those hot dishes

20. Old towels and flannel shirts sewn in layers make good burp cloths and bibs for babies

Is there more that you can do with old clothes and towels? Of course, there is! Desperation will often make you more creative, so you can find even more uses for things you would normally throw away. However, your old, worn-out clothing items and towels deserve to be used until they are legitimately falling apart. How you do that will be up to you and your needs.

What would you do with old clothes and towels? Leave your ideas in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,


  1. Cleaning cloths, of course. Soft terry cloth can be sewn into floppy stuffed toys for small children and pets. Fabric scraps can be made into rag dolls, smaller bits can be used to stuff toys, or sewn together for bookmarks. Save empty boxes and cover with old fabric for storage containers. Cardboard can be cut to size and covered with cloth to make a custom picture frame or mat. Strips can be woven or sewn for place mats or table runners. Large towels or blankets can be cut to size and edges finished to make table pads to dampen the noise of dishes, silverware and protect your dining table.
    Tops of worn socks can be used to cover frayed cuffs of a favorite sweatshirt or sweater. Bottoms can be used for dusting.

  2. I was surprised to see how many of these ways my mother used for our family of 5. I have used many also, like pee rags and potholders. (sounds like a great title for a book!) I particularly like the idea of sewing bath towels together before covering with flannel or fleece for a lap robe. I'm gonna try that one ( in my spare time, ha).

  3. There is so much you can do with this cloth!! Flannel pajamas can be cut up and used for small pillows for babies, seniors and surgery patients. Also sewn into the microwave bowl covers. Cotton cloth can be used for quilts, blankets, head coverings for chemo patients, pin cushions, change purses, tote bags, bibs for babies and elderly. I also think it's a shame that the thrift stores send unsold clothing to landfills instead of donating to crafters/quilters.


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