Posted by Bridget Reed

What To Do With Old Sheets: 6 Things

5 min read

No matter how high the quality is upon purchase, every sheet will eventually go to the great big mattress in the sky. However, even if your sheets aren’t bed-worthy anymore, that’s not to say they belong in the trash. There are tons of ways to recycle or reuse old sheets.

Recycling your old sheets can save you a few bucks while helping the planet by keeping unnecessary waste out of landfills. There’s no need to add to the 15 million tons of yearly textile waste, especially when we’ve found six unique ways to reuse your fabric. If you’re keen on lending Mother Nature a hand, keep reading!

While it may require some creativity, repurposing your old sheets or towels is an all-around great idea. The best part? You don’t have to be a professional crafter to achieve optimal results. 

Here are six things to do with your old sheets: 

1. Convert to Cleaning Cloths

Purchasing reusable cleaning cloths can be costly, but paper towels are even pricer — America spends nearly 6 billion dollars a year on paper towels. If each America cut out paper towel use entirely, it would save 54,000 trees annually.

Repurposing old sheets is simple and easy — almost as easy as throwing a pack of paper towels in your cart. For fitted sheets, cut the elastic band out, then cut the sheets to the desired size and shape. You can even double or triple the layers by adding a quick basting stitch to hold the layers together. 

2. Donate Them to Charity

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Even if you can’t find a purpose for your sheets, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a loving home.

 Once you see a bed set you absolutely love, it can be hard to turn them down, even if your current bedding has lots of life left in it. 

Luckily, we have a solution: Instead of throwing out your old sheets, donate them to a charity. Many people don’t have the finances to afford brand-new sheets, so donating yours can make a huge difference to somebody. Animal shelters also welcome past their prime sheets (and old towels). 

Before you say farewell, give your sheets one last wash with your best-smelling laundry detergent and fabric softener. Give them the freshest fragrance possible for their new owners to enjoy. 

3. Turn Them Into Curtains 

While this may require a sprinkle of creativity (and maybe a sewing machine), your sheets can be easily converted into curtains. Often, sheets are of high-quality materials that are neutral colors, making them the ideal curtain candidates. Curtains can be expensive, so this DIY project is a clever way to save by tapping into your inner interior designer. The process is much simpler than you’d think.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to follow:

  1. Measure your windows and sheets; make sure you’ll have enough fabric.

  2. Cut around the elastic (if it’s a fitted sheet), then cut it to ensure it lays completely flat. 

  3. Hang them around the window to ensure they will fit properly and will match the paint color.

  4. Add a layer of starch over the fabric, then iron them until they’re wrinkle-free. 

  5. Add a 4” hem to the top of the sheet. 

  6. Take a thick strand of ribbon and cut a few three to four-inch pieces out. These will act as loops to secure your curtain to the rod. 

  7. Take your ribbon and sew them to the back of the hem. The ribbons should look like loops, attaching at the top of the 4” hem to the bottom. 

  8. Now that your curtains are hemmed and have adequate support for the rod, simply run your rod of choice through the DIY loops, and voila, your curtains are ready to be shown off. 

4. Sew Them Into Bags or Pouches

Grab your thimble; once again, this hack will require a few simple stitches.

Canvas bags are remarkably handy to have around the house. They’re the perfect alternative to paper/plastic bags and are super convenient (and stylish) beach or picnic bags. Unfortunately, the more aesthetically pleasing ones can be tricky to find at your local stores. Instead of spending hours pursuing thrift stores, turn your old sheets into the tote bag of your dreams. 

This hack will require more sewing than the last, but the stitches are simple. Here is an easy-to-follow guide on turning a sheet into a bag:

Cut the sheet to your desired size. The average canvas bag is 33” by 31”, but you can make yours as big or small as you want. Whichever size you decide, you’ll need two exact pieces. 

Miracle Tip: Use the leftover fabric as dishcloths. 

Don’t forget about the straps; you’ll need two 16” pieces of fabric for them. 
    Take a few pins to hold the two pieces of fabric together, then begin sewing. You can use whichever stitch you feel most comfortable using, but for hand sewing, the easiest stitch is the running stitch. Continue this stitch to both sides and the bottom. Leave one end unsewn, as this will act as the opening to the bag.
      Once the fabric is stitched together, fold the edge of the opening down two inches; that lip will be the hem. 
        Your bag is almost complete! All that’s left to do is hem the straps and attach them to the bag. 

          5. Use Them As Furniture Covers 

          While we all love our furry friends endlessly, that’s not to say their pet hair is as equally loved. However, there’s a simple solution: Use your old sheets as furniture covers. It doesn’t (really) matter if they get stained or torn up, which makes them the perfect option. 

          Not only can you keep your favorite sheets in the home, but your pets will appreciate that the sheets smell like you, which cats and dogs find calming.

          6. Keep Them for Emergencies 

          Even if it seems like your old sheets are taking up valuable space, sometimes keeping them for emergencies isn’t a bad idea. You can put them in a vacuum-sealed bag (to conserve space) and leave them in the trunk of your car, the attic, or the linen closet. Chances are you won’t even notice they’re there. 

          Replacing Your Old Bedding

          Out with the old, in with the new! There is no better feeling than laying your head on fresh, brand-new bedding. And while having to bid farewell to your once beloved sheets can be sad, it also means you have a shopping spree ahead of you. 

          Knowing which bedding to choose can take time and effort, especially with such a saturated market. The average person spends seven to nine hours a day sleeping, which means having adequate bedding is essential. 

          While your blanket matters, your sheets and pillowcases are just as important; you want a well-made product. Your sheet and pillowcases accumulate germs and bacteria, so investing in an antibacterial bedding collection is always suggested. 

          Grab Your Scissors. It’s Time To Craft.

          Recycling fabrics to minimize your carbon footprint while tapping into your inner artist — sounds like a good time to us! It’s amazing how useful your old sheets can be: It just takes a dash of creative thinking (and sometimes) a needle and thread. 


          How Fabric Gets Recycled | GreenMatters

          When it comes to paper towels, America is No. 1 | AP News

          How Much Sleep Do I Need? | WebMD

          How to Sew a Basting Stitch | Spruce Crafts

          How to Work a Running Stitch for Embroidery and Sewing | Spruce Crafts

          Helping dog anxiety | The Humane Society of the United States

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