Clever Ways to Recycle Old Clothes

I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to being a little bit over the top when clothes shopping – the amount of stuff I have hanging in my wardrobe that still has labels on it is embarrassing. So I started thinking it might be time to have a clear out. I do this quite often although I take unwanted clothes to a charity shop but this time some of the things I once wore are now no longer fit for human…consumption’s the wrong word…they’re no longer fit to be worn or looked at by a human to put it frankly.

men's t-shirts

This Needs to Find a New Purpose

If you’ve also got a pile of tatty old urban wear or street wear what do you do about all those t-shirts that even a homeless person would probably reject?  I know what you’re probably thinking – just throw them away. But no, whilst I’m no hoarder I don’t like throwing things out if I think they might have another mission to fulfill in life. And particularly not if they once lived the life of a designer t-shirt! That’s where recycling comes in.

I always recycle cans, bottles, magazines and jars so why not my tee shirts and tops? Feeling inspired I decided to hit up Google to see what it had to offer me in the way of reusing original clothing that was too far gone to be even remotely wearable.

Some of the ideas I found were blatantly too much trouble. I’m not motivated enough to find some board and a staple gun (denim covered pinboard) let alone inspired enough to go and buy a  sewing machine of all things but I did find a few artistic clothing recycling ideas that involved nothing more tricky than a pair of scissors. 

upcycled clothing

Here’s What to Do

This is an obvious place to start but if I missed it out you might have thought I wasn’t doing my job. Cut up old men’s t-shirts and you can make a whole pile of cleaning cloths. The nice thing about turning tee shirts into dusters or rags is that they’re usually made from soft cotton which makes them good for polishing things with surfaces that scratch easily. Like wide screen TV’s and errr, clocks, and other stuff that I can’t think of right now. Plus you can wash them over and over so they’re more eco-friendly than shop bought cloths that tend to get thrown away after a few uses.

Moving house soon? I just have and if I’d got into this whole ‘let’s recycle my t-shirts’ thing before I moved I would have cut up the ones I no longer wore and used them to pack the boxes that contained breakables. Use old t-shirts to protect things that are easily damaged or stuff them into the corners of boxes to stop things rattling around and getting broken in transit.

men's urban wear

No…Not Like THAT!

This one is kind of gross I guess but it’s environmentally friendly and I need more than three easy ideas for this post so I’m including it. Handkerchiefs. Yes, I am suggesting you blow your nose on your old tees.  When you have a grotty cold; you can plough through boxes and boxes of tissues or rolls and rolls of toilet paper: expensive and not very green. Well, not green in the environmentally friendly sense of the word anyway. Cut up your old shirts and you have a washable and reusable selection of hankies that your granddad would have been proud of. Going the extra mile and embroidering your initial in the corner is optional.

Lastly, and I’m going to get a bit artsy now as this involves cutting and – wait for it – sewing. But you can find someone else to do that for you can’t you? Despite the high (!) level of technical ability involved in this one I’m including it because it’s a hangover cure. Yes, you read that correctly. High level instructions follow:

1)      Cut a big square out of your t-shirt

2)      Sew it up along 3 sides so it makes a pouch. Actually, you know what, forget sewing, just use glue.

3)      Fill it with dried beans and sew/glue the fourth side up

4)      Put it in the fridge or freezer

hangover cure

Don’t Deny It – You’ve Felt Like This Too

Now you are the proud owner of a face mask bean bag thing that you can lay across your sweaty brow next time you’re suffering due to the events of the night before.

So there you have it; four ways to upcycle, recycle, repurpose or reuse all those old, worn out t-shirts that are cluttering up your life – and your closet. I’ve already hacked a couple of old designer t-shirts  up to make luxury cleaning cloths (yet to be used) and am even considering making the bean bag in anticipation of my next…headache.


Do you have any great recycling ideas that don’t take hours to do and that make your life that little bit easier? Why not share your genius in the comments? 

Looking for new t-shirts to replace the ones you’ve just massacred in the name of being eco-friendly? Check out our all new Ethereal Clothing men’st-shirt website here!