Most of us have them lying in the linen closet or folded somewhere in the very back, no longer being used—yet we haven't gotten around to tossing them out yet. Towels are a much-needed everyday household need, yet they begin to wear out like many things we use as often. Frequent washings, use, and age all contribute to the beginnings of fading colors, fraying edges, and even holes where the fabric is starting to weaken.
You may be tempted to finally toss your old towels into the garbage or try and recycle them, but you may also find yourself living in an area where recycling fabric isn't an option. Maybe you want to reduce as much waste as possible, or perhaps you want to find some way to re-use the good portions of a towel and aren't sure where to start.
If you've ever wondered about all the ways to re-use towels, we're here to share some practical and creative ways to re-use and get more out of your old towels.
With a bit of DIY, you can upcycle old towels into brand new washcloths. All that is needed is to cut the old towel into the size of a washcloth you'd like and use a simple crochet edge to prevent fraying and make each look unique. This is also excellent for towels still in great shape but has a few stained or faded areas.
- Bath towel
- Transparent measuring grid
- White chalk
- Sewing Machine
- Worsted-weight cotton yard
- Size G crochet hook
- Place your towel on a flat work surface.
- Lay the transparent measuring grid atop the towel and measure an 8-inch by 8-inch square. Draw the square with white chalk or tailor's chalk.
- Cut along the chalk lines.
- Adjust your sewing machine settings to accommodate the thicker fabric. Select your zig-zag stitch.
- Stitch along the edge of the square to give it a finished look and snip off any excess thread.
- Use an awl to poke holes evenly spaced around 1/8 of an inch apart.
- Attach your cotton yarn to your crochet hook using a slip knot; insert the crochet hook into one of the awl-punched holes in the corner.
- Yarn over and pull through. Proceed to single crochet stitch around the washcloth. Slip stitch to the first stitch to close the round.
- Chain one and single crochet another round, slip stitch to the first stitch to close the round, cut the yarn, weave in the ends, and your new washcloth is ready for use!
Brand New bath Mat
Another perfect way to upcycle your bath towels is to turn them into a completely functional bath mat. This is also excellent for when you find yourself with several old towels that you would like to re-use.
- 3 to 4 of your old bath towels
- A cutting mat or work surface safe for cutting
- Rotary cutter
How to make:
- Cut your bath towels into strips using a cutting mat, cut-safe surface, and a rotary cutter roughly 3 inches wide.
- Line up 3 strips. Cut off any borders of the towels if needed. Pin and sew together, then remove pins.
- Fold the sides of 1 strip inward to the center, then fold in half. Pin to secure shape and repeat down the entire length of the strip. Repeat with the other 2 strips.
- Now, braid your 3 strands, removing the pins as you go. When you reach the end, sew on more strips and repeat until you run out. Sew the end to secure.
- Twist the long braid into a coil and sew together. Voila! Enjoy your new bathmat.
Upcycled Beach Bag
Here's a fantastic and easy craft project for upcycling your old towels into a cute and handy beach bag.
- Old towel
- Scrap fabric or an old belt for handles
- Sewing machine
How to make:
- Cut your old towel into quarters, removing any trim from the edges if there are any.
- Set your sewing machine to a zig-zag stitch, then sew along the short edges of the towel to prevent the fabric from unraveling.
- Cut handles from your scrap fabric and determine where you want to place them along the edge of the towel. Sew the ends of the handle down with two rows of zig-zag. Attach the second handle to the other end of the towel in the same way.
- Fold the towel in half, with the handles facing in. Seam the edges shut with the trusty zig-zag.
- Turn your bag right side out, and you're done! Toss in your favorite novels, sunscreen, keys, sunglasses, and whatever you need to head out to the beach.
What else can you do with old towels?
Here are some fantastic suggestions on what you can do to re-use towels:
- Upcycled bath pouf
- DIY Potholders
- DIY reusable facial pads
- Cleaning Rags
- Hand-made baby bibs
- Spa towel wrap
- Simple knotted dog toy
- DIY beach blanket
- Washable Swiffer cover
- Make your own Towel spa slippers
- Ironing board pads and covers
- DIY Hooded kid's pool robe
- Replace paper towels with towels for washable, reusable towels
- Gardener's knee pads
- Draft stoppers
Additionally, if your towels are still in moderately decent shape and clean, many facilities may be seeking donated towels for use. Places like animal shelters are surprisingly always looking for clean towels to keep animals comfortable coming out of surgery or when they are within pens. Animal shelters are almost always looking for old blankets, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, bathroom rugs, and even t-shirts. These can be used for lining pet cages, cleaning up messes, drying off animals, providing warm bedding, covering a kennel door, and much, much more.
Gently used older towels can also be donated to many homeless and women's shelters if they are still in good condition and not stained. Your local church may also be doing charity drives to donate items and could be looking for gently used towels.
There are so many imaginative ways to re-use your towels! We hope we've been able to inspire and help you find new ways of upcycling everyday fabrics.