What to do with old towels

No matter how much love you have for your favorite towels, they won’t last forever. Towels aren’t made to last forever. What can we do with it when we no longer need it?

The answer is simpler than throwing them away. The vast majority of towels will not be thrown away, in most cases there is still a lot of good material to save. In such cases, there are many ways to recycle this material and put it back to work for you. With a little imagination, many possibilities are available to you.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for reusing old towels.


Uses of old towels.

Repurpose your towels with some of these ideas.

Cleaning cloths.

Old towels make great cleaning rags, and you can use them to clean everything from your car to your patio furniture. Even bath towels can get a second life as a cloth, and they’re ideal for placing on any other surface you want to protect from dirt.

kitchen towels

Even if your towels have become so thin that it’s hard to dry off, they can still get new life. Kitchen towels don’t have to be so thick and fluffy and are almost always made of a thinner material. Could you reuse your frayed hand towels as tea towels? It may be that, despite their age, they are still perfectly capable of drying the dishes or cleaning the countertop. You can also reuse bath towels this way. Cut them out and you can make more than one tea towel from a regular sized bath towel. If you cut them, be sure to hem the edges to prevent them from fraying.

Reusable paper towels.

Tired of buying roll after roll of paper towels? Save money and reduce your footprint by recycling your old cloth napkins to create reusable paper napkins. All you have to do is cut your napkins to the size of a paper towel. Hem edges to prevent fraying. Make a stack of these towels and use them to replace your paper towels. Use them to scrub counters and even clean glass surfaces. Once it gets dirty, throw it in the washing machine and reuse it next time.

Toys for dogs.

You can reuse your towels to turn them into chew toys for dogs. The process is very simple. You just need to cut the napkin into strips of about five centimeters. Then, tie knots along the entire length of the towel with these strips. Your dog will have a great time chewing it.

Miscellaneous pet items.

Speaking of pets, use your towels to put extra padding on your pet’s bed. Maybe if you have a cat that insists on sitting on your couch and leaves it full of fur, you could throw in that old towel to protect it. Or you can also use it to dry your dog after bathing. These are just a few examples, but there are plenty of ways to use your towels to give your pets a little extra care and attention.


Normally you cannot donate very old towels. What you can do, however, is donate them to any animal shelter in your area. Find out if your local shelter accepts donations, many animal centers accept old towels, blankets and even t-shirts to make beds for animals in their care. If you want to lend a hand, this can be a way to ensure that your old towels continue to serve a useful purpose.

Bath mat.

If you love crafts and DIY projects, this nifty bath mat just might be the way to reuse your old towels. For this mat, you will need to gather two hand towels. They may be worn and the colors may be washed out, but ideally they should not be full of holes.


Baby bibs.

Your towels may no longer be good for drying, but they are perfectly capable of catching food spills.


They are the perfect material for baby bibs. If there’s a little one in your family who likes to make a mess when they eat, try reusing your napkins this way. Simply cut out the shape of the bib, hem the edges so they don’t fray, and sew ties to hold the bib in place.

Baby wipes.

Speaking of babies, if you’re adjusting to life with a new baby, you understand how expensive baby gear can be. Save money by making homemade wipes from your old towels instead of buying packaged wipes. Simply cut your towels into small squares or rectangles the same size as your favorite washcloth. Then, when it’s time to change the baby, soak the towel in warm water, wring it out so it’s damp but not dripping, and pat it dry. With these DIY wipes, you can easily clean, wash and reuse them dozens of times before you have to throw them away.


A few towel slippers that you can use after showering.



Do you work a lot in the garden or in the orchard? Do you do a lot of tasks that require you to kneel? If your knees often hurt after working on the floor, you might be interested in reusing your old towels as knee pads. To make them, cut squares out of your towel large enough to cover your knees. Apply strong elastic to the back and you have a sturdy pair of knee pads that will keep you comfortable while working on your knees.

Insulation for doors.

When drafts sneak in through cracks under the doors of your home, it’s harder to keep it warm or cold. Electricity bill increases. Luckily, an old towel is the perfect tool to block out those drafts. Just take an old bath towel, roll it up in a long sausage shape, and stick it against the base of the door where the draft comes in for a warmer house all winter or cooler in summer.

Packaging material.

If you move often or have a big move on the horizon, it might be useful to save those old towels to use as packing material. Simply store them on a shelf or in a drawer, and when it’s time to pack them up, use them to fill the gaps between plates, mugs and glass trinkets. And the best? No matter how thin the napkins are, they can perform this function perfectly. Once you’ve moved in, recycle your towels by using them for one of these other projects, or put them away again for the next move.

Children’s aprons.

When it comes to messing around, boys are usually the best. Whether it’s painting or doing other crafts, the consequences of these fun projects are often stains on clothes. If your kids are mess pros, save yourself a laundry day by outfitting them with their own aprons and smocks.

Instead of buying aprons, it’s quite easy to make them out of your old towels. Simply take an old bath towel and, if necessary, cut it to fit your child’s size. Next, cut a hole for your child’s head and make a simple apron. If you want a bit more elaborate apron, consider your own custom designs.

Outdoor cover.

Every family needs a spare blanket in the trunk of the car for picnics, road trips, and beach trips. If you don’t have one, you can easily make one out of a few used towels. You can use as many towels as you want. Bath towels are best suited for this task. Arrange them side by side, mixing and matching designs as desired, until you have a design you like. Sew and hem the ends.

And you, what do you use your old towels for?

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