Repurposing Those Old Towels

Stop! Don’t get rid of those towels that are stained, have a few threads missing, or are simply a little dingy. Bath or beach towels are one of those household items that can be repurposed for a wide variety of functions.

Here are twenty possible uses, broken down by category:


Cleaning rag – Put the towel in a cabinet and take it out when you need to dust, mop up a kitchen floor spill, or wash windows or mirrors.

Door draft preventer – Roll up the towel lengthwise into a “sausage-like” shape and cram it into the crack at the bottom of a door to prevent air from escaping through it.

Dog towel – Dogs always seem to get wet and/or dirty when you least expect it. So keep an old towel in the mud room or by the back door.

Picnic blanket – You sit on towels at the beach, so why not use them as picnic blankets in parks and campsites, too?

Car spill rag – Having a towel under your seat can come in handy when you spill coffee on your console (or your kids spill food in the back seat).

Car trunk liner – If you haul around potting soil, fertilizer, landscaping rocks, or other dirty substances, a towel on your trunk’s floor can keep that area clean.

Packing material – It’s softer than newspaper and cheaper than peanuts or bubble wrap if you need to move to a new place.

Christmas tree skirt – It will soak up any excess water from your tree stand. And if it’s covered in presents, no one will even be able to see it.

Ironing board pad – Just place it on your ironing board over a worn or torn pad. You can even hold it in place with an elastic band if necessary.

Some cutting required

Swiffer pads – Sure, you can buy disposable replacement pads for $10 at the store. Or you can cut an old towel to the right size and slap them on your Swiffer – over and over.

Knee pads – Cut a towel into four-inch squares and place them on each knee, then hold them in place with elastic bands. Voila! Instant knee pads.

Pot holders – A beach towel can make four to six pot holders, which can be used in the kitchen when you don’t want to soil your “pretty” pot holders.

Baby bibs – Babies will always be messy. So get a regular baby bib, trace the pattern, and cut several bibs from one towel.

Holiday decorations – White towels can be cut into ghosts or “snowy” surfaces, while green towels can be St. Patrick’s Day bandannas. Use your imagination.

Some cutting and sewing required

Beach bag – It basically involves cutting the towel in half and sewing two sides and the bottom together. You can also sew on handles if you’re feeling sassy.

Child’s pool robe – You can either sew Velcro on the ends for a pool wrap, or cut and sew sleeves for a full wraparound robe.

Hair wrap – Get a button and an elastic loop and shape the towel into a wrap for wet hair to be used after a bath or shower.

Bath pouf – This is a tool used for scrubbing down bathtubs and similar surfaces. Just cut a towel into concentric circle shapes and sew them together.

Spa slippers – You’ll need to cut along a “shoe-like” pattern and then sew the edges together. But it sure beats shelling out cash for new slippers.

See? Towels don’t need to be tossed out when they’re old or overused. Just be creative and fashion them into something else for their “second life!”

Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes about topics ranging from internet reputation management to home improvement to consumer finance.