What To Do With Old Towels

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Towels last up to 5 years, and most homeowners don’t find much use for them beyond that. However, with a little creativity and time, you will think twice about throwing them away. Understandably, many homeowners struggle with what to do with old towels.

The best thing to do with old towels is to donate them to an animal shelter, Goodwill, Salvation Army, or a local homeless shelter. You can also turn your old towels into animal towels, DIY Swiffer pads, and dish rags if you cut them into strips. Some homeowners roll up their old towels and stick them to doors to use as weatherstripping.

You can also simply throw your old towels in the recycling bin or bring them to a recycling center. There is no reason to throw your old towels away. Follow along as we explore what to do with old towels so you don’t waste them.

How Can I Dispose Of Old Towels?

Your first instinct may be to throw old towels away, but that’s rarely necessary. Towels are recyclable and you can use them for everything from dog toys to DIY Swiffer pads. Let’s look at what to do with old towels so you don’t waste them.

1. Donate Them To Goodwill

If you aren’t sure what to do with old towels, you can always donate them to Goodwill. Goodwill accepts several types of textiles such as towels, sheets, and comforters. However, they will only accept your old towels if they are clean and free of stains.

Otherwise, Goodwill must throw away your towels, so it’s not worthwhile to bring stained towels in to donate. Contact local homeless shelters and charities if you don’t have a Goodwill in your area to see if they can take your old towels.

2. Cover Your Ironing Board

Old towels are perfect to use for ironing board covers. This is a great option if you have old towels that are thick and in good condition. Cosmetic damage, such as grease and bleach stains, isn’t a problem at all if your towel is thick enough to withstand the heat from the iron.

Inspect your old towel for holes and loose fibers before you put it on your ironing board. The heat from an iron can damage the board beneath the towel if there are holes, cracks, and loose fibers that don’t completely cover the board.

3. Use Them For Cleaning

If you’re anything like the average homeowner, then you likely often need new washcloths and cleaning rags. Check your stash of washcloths and cleaning supplies before you get rid of your old towels. Chances are that you could use some extra rags to clean with, and that’s where your old towels come into play.

Depending on how big and thick your old towels are, you can likely cut them into many small sections to use as rags. Get rid of pieces of the towel that are too heavily stained, as the stain may spread when you get the towel wet. Otherwise, you should have a surplus of washcloths and cleaning rags if you cut your old towels into enough pieces.

4. Fun For Your Pets

Dogs and cats can find fun in just about anything. You likely catch them playing with loose socks and rags when they aren’t supposed to be. Instead of taking your socks and rags away from them, why not give your pets some towel strips of their own to play with?

Cut your old towels into strips that you can toss to your pets. Make sure that the strips are long and thick enough that your pets won’t swallow them. Once your pets have torn the towel strips up enough, you can simply throw them away.

5. Bring Them To An Animal Shelter

Animal shelters often struggle to keep enough resources to accommodate the rescue animals that are brought in on a daily and weekly basis. Because of that, anything that you can donate to help in any way makes a big difference to them. Something as simple as old towels can go a long way at an animal shelter.

They can use your old towels to line crates for dogs and cats to be more comfortable. Your old towels can also come in handy for cleaning. Make sure that your towels are in good shape and don’t have stains before you donate them.

6. DIY Swiffer Pads

Do you have a Swiffer at home? If so, then you probably go through plenty of Swiffer pads any given month. Creative homeowners have figured out that you can save a small fortune on Swiffer pads if you cut old towels into several small sections.

If you plan and are careful, you can fold the towel so that you cut the perfect section to fit your Swiffer. This may take some practice, but each towel has enough fabric to make several Swiffer covers, so you don’t have to worry about wasting it. You can even wash and reuse these Swiffer covers, that is unless you get them too dirty.

7. Crafts

The sky is the limit when it comes to repurposing old towels for arts and crafts. You can cut old towels into any number of shapes if you fold them well enough and take precise measurements. Some crafty homeowners even dye sections of old towels to create patterns and alter their appearance.

8. Dish Rags

You can get countless dish rags out of a single old towel. This gives you plenty of bang for your buck and gets rid of the need to go buy overpriced dish rags that will quickly wear out. Depending on how big they are and how many old towels you have, there may be no need to buy more dish rags for years to come.

Old towel strips are also great for big messes in the kitchen, as you can discard them without any guilt.

9. Weatherstripping

Old towels are perfect for DIY weatherstripping. You can use them to stop light from coming through the door if you place them at the base of the door. Simply roll your old towels into tight tubes and place them at the bottom of your door to keep light and pests out.

10. Recycle Them

Many homeowners are unaware or forget that towels are recyclable. Most fabrics and textiles are recyclable, and that includes standard towels. You can put them in your bin or take your old towels to a nearby recycling facility.

How Often Should You Replace Towels?

The average homeowner should replace towels every 3 ½ years. Towels can last for up to 5 years before they wear out in some cases, however. Thin, cheap towels can go bad in as little as 2 years, so it’s important to keep track of their condition.

Wash your towels at least 1-2 times per week to ensure they stay in good condition. It’s time to get rid of your old towels when the texture turns rough, and the fibers become loose. Towels with 600-900 GSM last the longest because they are thick, but they also take the longest to dry.

Can You Throw Towels Away?

You can throw towels away, but they are recyclable. It’s best to recycle towels because of the environmental impact of throwing them away. However, you may need to throw old towels away if they are too dirty and stained.

Summing It Up

Donate your old towels to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or a local homeless shelter. You can also recycle old towels or cut them into strips to use as dish rags. Some homeowners chop up their old towels and use them as toys for their dogs and cats.

Animal shelters often accept old towels if they are in good condition. Otherwise, you can use them as DIY Swiffer pads or for arts and crafts. Only throw away your old towels if they are heavily stained and dirty.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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