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45 Ways to Recycle an Old T-Shirt

Updated on April 21, 2011

45 Ways to Recycle an Old T-Shirt

Recycling involves processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials. Just about everything can be recycled, including old t-shirts. So don't throw away those old t-shirts just yet, turn them into something reusable, like a tote bag, throw pillow, framed art work, a dog toy or a Halloween costume. Donate them, tie-dye them, make yarn out of them or put them to good use in the garden, garage and kitchen. There are so many things you can do with just one old t-shirt. Here is my pick for the top 45 ways to recycle old t-shirts.

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45 Ways to Recycle an Old T-Shirt


1. Donate to a local shelter.

2. Donate to a preschool or day care center. They can be used as smocks for messy projects.

3. Cut into small strips and use for eyeglass wipes.

4. Cut into strips/squares and add a few to your first aid kit. You never know when they might come in handy.

5. Make rope toys for your dog. Cut into strips, lightly braid them and then knot off at the end.

6. Use for seat covers on bucket type car seats.

7. Use to wass the BBQ grill.

8. Use to mop floor.

9. Cut into squares and use for baby wipes.

10. Use to line the bottom of a plant pot so the soil doesn't drip out of the holes on the bottom side.

11. Cut into squares/strips and use for dusting/polishing the furniture.

12. Make bean bags for the kids to toss. Cut into squares, sew all sides (leaving a small opening for the stuffing), stuff with beans or rice, sew

up the opening.

13. Tear into strips and use to tie tomato and bean stakes. Fabric works much better than gardening twine, as it doesn't damage the plants.

14. Wear as smocks for messy are projects.

15. Stuff to make a pillow. (See video below for instructions)

16. Make a reusable tote bag. (See video below for instructions)

17. Frame it. (This is a great idea for concert type t-shirts)

18. Cut into squares and sew a quilt.

19. Use two t-shirts and to make a dress. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

20. Make a picnic blanket. Cut into squares and sew together.

21. Make hair scrunchies. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

22. Make a pair of shorts. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

23. Tie-dye them using fabric paints. (See video below for instructions)

24. Make a Halloween costume. Be creative.

25. Dye them different colors. Turn a white shirt into a blue shirts. A red shirt into a black shirt.

45 Ways to Recycle an Old T-Shirt


26. Turn them into art. Decorate it and them frame or use as fabric on chairs or old furniture.

27. Crochet them into rag rugs. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

28. Use them as garage rags. They come in handy when changing the oil or doing other work on the car.

29. Cut into rectangles and turn them into napkins. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

30. Turn them into potholders. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

31. Turn them into an art project for the kids. Use paints, permanent markers, and fabric paints.

32. Make a laptop sleeve/case. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

33. Cut into strips and use as sweatbands for exercising.

34. Cut off the sleeves and turn into a summer tank top.

35. Make a scarf. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

36. Turn into a baby onesie. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

37. Turn into a tissue holder. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

38. Use for storage. Sew the bottom and the sleeves shut. Leave the neck open. Use for storing/holding small toys, reusable bags, yarn and other small items.

39. Cut them into baby bibs. No sewing for this project, just a little cutting.

40. If you have a dog, chances are you've had to wipe up a urine spot or two. Old t-shirts are great for that.

41. For Halloween, make a scarecrow and dress him in your old t-shirt.

42. Use for window washing.

43. Use for washing your car...and other motor vehicles.

44. Host a Rubiks Cube theme party. (You can find party direction on the Internet). After the party have everyone leave their red, green, yellow and blue t-shirts with you and then you can donate them to charity.

45. Make fabric book covers. (Directions can be found on YouTube)

How To Tie-Dye T-Shirts With Fabric Paint

T-Shirt Pillow and T-Shirt Bag Videos

Bags Made From T-Shirts

Bags Made From T-Shirts
Bags Made From T-Shirts

How To Make T-Shirt Yarn

"Green" Tees from Zazzle

Shirts come in many colors and sizes infant to 6X.

Click on any shirt to purchase from Zazzle.

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    • WeeCatCreations1 profile image

      Susan Caplan McCarthy 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I love the t-shirt totes ... you can keep those tees you don't want to get rid of by turning them something you can use at the grocery store.

    • StillPlaysWithT profile image


      6 years ago

      Love the tie die:)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like to donate shirts. I'd like to make some tanks out of a few, just to save some this summer.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great ideas, I was thinking of stuff to do with old shirts so I came here. awesome list, great lens!

    • FunkyJewelleryUK profile image


      8 years ago

      Great and interesting lens! Nice one :)

    • sidther lm profile image

      sidther lm 

      8 years ago

      I love the bags! I usually use them to bleach the countertops (saves paper towels).

    • sheilamarie78 profile image


      8 years ago from British Columbia

      I love the tote bag. What a useful idea!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I've got a closet full so I appreciate these ideas for recycling.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great ideas #3, 12 and 18.

    • justholidays profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing! Now you gave me more work as I have to go recycle all those old t-shirts, lol.

    • Natalie W Schorr profile image

      Natalie W Schorr 

      9 years ago

      Thank you for featuring my Recycle America T-shirt on your lens!!!


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