Advertise with us!

Recycle your T-shirts

By on September 29, 2010

Frugality includes reusing items. Maybe you have an abundance of T-shirts that you can’t bring yourself to throw away. Some were probably free, and others might be mementos from school, vacations or sports. Instead of purging them or letting them take up precious storage space, you can reuse them in more practical ways. How have you recycled them?
Here are a few ideas.



For T-shirts that don’t hold any special sentiment, cut them up and use them as cleaning cloths. They’re low lint and absorbent, which makes them great for wiping, dusting and polishing around the house. They can be cut into small squares and used and reused to wash your face or as a cloth napkin. Or use white T-shirts to stain wood. Retail cost for t-shirt rags is $15 for 10 pounds of rags.


Keep the t-shirt intact, turn inside out, and sew the bottom and sleeves openings closed. Turn right side out, stuff and sew the top opening closed. Or cut the body of the t-shirt and make it into a square-shaped pillow. This is a great way to reuse your favorite T-shirts. Or use one as a no-sew pillowcase. Simply tuck your pillow into a large- to extra-large t-shirt. Retail cost for custom ordered recycled t-shirt pillow is $18 to 25.


Cut T-shirts into squares and sew together to make a quilt. It takes about 36 T-shirts to make a queen-sized quilt using 14-inch square blocks with 1-1/2-inch sashing and 2-inch borders. Retail value for a custom-made t-shirt quilt is $500.


Visit Fern and Faerie ( for a cloth-diaper pattern and tutorial. Can’t sew? No problem. Visit Cloth Diapers Made Easy ( for a no sew cloth diaper pattern and tutorial. Retail value for a t-shirt cloth diaper is $8.50/each.


Use a plastic grocery bag as a pattern. Cut the sleeves off (the material that is left becomes the handles) and cut the neck opening slightly larger. Turn the t-shirt inside out and sew the bottom opening closed. The handles of your bag can be folded and stitched for extra strength. The bottom of the bag can be double stitched for strength, too. Retail cost for a recycled t-shirt grocery bag is $4 each.


Make t-shirt yarn by cutting T-shirts into strips (at least 1/4-inch wide strips) and crochet or knit rag rugs. Too large of a project? Knit dishcloths or use wider strips and braid dog tug toys. You’ll want to use T-shirts that don’t have side seams to make longer strips. If you don’t knit or crochet, make a latch-hook rug with T-shirts strips. Visit Xoelle ( for a tutorial. Retail cost for a t-shirt rug is between $30-$600 depending on size and complexity. Braided t-shirt dog tug toy retail cost is $15.


Use in your car to cover your seats. Simply slip over to protect your seats. It’s great for families with kids who kick the back of the seats during the rain or snow season or pets that leave excessive fur or muddy paw prints. Retail cost for a similar terry cloth pullover seat cover is $35.


Cut out favorite designs on old T-shirts and sew them onto hoodies or sweatshirts. Retail cost for a simple custom-made applique hoodie or sweatshirt is $30 to $50.

photo by indiebandswithamission

One Comment

  1. Jamie Pelaez

    11/11/2010 at 11:25 am

    I have been wondering what to do with two shirts that mean a lot to me. Both are from when I did Walk America two years in a row to honor my son Ayden who is in Heaven. I don’t mind wearing fitted T-shirts but these are the big kind.

    I have been thinking about doing some DIY rehab into custom shirts, but I also like the idea of the bags and the applique on hoodies. Thank you for the inspiration!

    Now I just have to decide which to do and when I do I will be sure to blog about it, take photos and track back to this article.

    Skype me: jamie.pelaez

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *