What to Do With Old Sheets?

Key Takeaways

  • Eco-Friendly Sustainability: Repurposing old sheets is a sustainable and eco-friendly way to reduce waste and extend the life of your linens. Instead of discarding them in the trash, consider various creative ways to give your old sheets a new purpose, contributing to a greener planet.
  • Creative and Practical Uses: Old sheets can be transformed into a wide range of practical and creative items, such as cleaning cloths, pillow covers, tote bags, pet bedding, home decor, and even fort-building materials. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and crafting skills.
  • Donation and Recycling: When your old sheets have served their purpose, consider donating them to local shelters, animal rescues, or charitable organizations. Alternatively, look for textile recycling programs in your area, which can repurpose old sheets to reduce landfill waste. Repurposing old sheets is not only environmentally responsible but also an opportunity to make a positive impact in your community.

When it’s time to bid farewell to your old sheets, there’s no need to simply toss them in the trash. Instead, consider various creative and sustainable ways to repurpose them, extending their usefulness and reducing waste.

From practical household solutions to eco-friendly initiatives, here’s an in-depth guide to help you make the most of your old sheets.

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Ideas for Repurposing Old Sheets

Here are a few creative ideas for repurposing old sheets and recycling bedding:

Repurpose for Cleaning: 

Don’t let your old sheets go to waste – repurpose them for various cleaning tasks around the house.

Old bed sheets can be transformed into valuable cleaning tools that are both effective and environmentally friendly.

Their soft and absorbent nature makes them perfect for tackling various cleaning tasks throughout your home.

Here are some creative ways to give your sheets a second life:

  • Dusting Cloths: Cut your old sheets into smaller squares for dusting cloths. Their soft texture is perfect for wiping down surfaces without scratching.
  • Polishing Rags: Transform your worn-out sheets into polishing rags for cleaning glass, mirrors, and other surfaces. Their gentle fabric won’t leave streaks behind.
  • Floor Cleaning: Cut the sheets into larger sections and attach them to a mop or broom head to make an effective floor-cleaning tool.
  • Cleaning Rags: The old bed sheets can also be used as day-to-day cleaning rags or kitchen towels, depending on your needs and the condition of the old fabric.
  • Car Wash: Keep a few sheets in your car for impromptu cleaning. They’re great for wiping down seats, dashboards, and windows.
  • Pet Cleanup: Old sheets are excellent for cleaning up after your pets. Use them to wipe muddy paws or line pet crates and beds.

Sew New Items: 

If you have a knack for sewing or crafting, old sheets can be a treasure trove of materials for creating new items.

With a little sewing know-how and a sewing machine, you can transform your worn-out sheets into practical and decorative pieces:

  • Pillow Covers: Use your old sheets to create stylish pillow covers. Mix and match different patterns and colors to add a personalized touch to your living space.
  • Tote Bags: Sew tote bags from your old sheets. These versatile bags can be used for groceries, errands, or as stylish accessories.
  • Reusable Produce Bags: Help reduce plastic waste by sewing reusable produce bags from your sheets. Take them with you when shopping for fruits and vegetables.
  • Aprons: Craft aprons for cooking or crafting projects. The durable fabric of old sheets can withstand regular use.
  • Curtains: Create lightweight DIY curtains for a casual and airy vibe in your home. Old bed sheets can provide a relaxed and cozy atmosphere.
  • Ironing Board cover: The fitted sheets can work as the cloth on the ironing board.
  • Quilts or Blankets: If the sheets are still in relatively good condition, consider sewing them into a patchwork quilt or blanket for a cozy and sentimental piece.
  • Picnic Blankets: Sew multiple sheets to create a large picnic blanket for outdoor gatherings. You can even use it as a cover for a picnic table. Taking the old sheet to a picnic can also provide a means to play tug of war.
  • Headbands or Scrunchies: Use smaller fabric scraps from the sheets to make hair accessories like headbands or scrunchies.
  • Cloth Napkins: Cut your old sheets into squares and hem the edges to make cloth napkins for everyday use or special occasions.
  • Heating pads: Old bedding can work as an insulation for the heating pad.
  • Bathroom Accessories: Create a shower curtain, curtain liner, or bath mat for your bathroom in the master bedroom. It will give a new purpose to the old bedding.

Create Pet Bedding: 

Your beloved pets deserve the utmost comfort, and repurposed old bed sheets can provide just that.

Transform your cotton sheets into cozy pet beds, cushions, or even hammocks for your furry friends. This minimizes waste and offers your pets a comfortable and familiar resting place.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Dog or Cat Bed: Fold or sew the sheets to create a comfortable cushion for your pet. You can add extra padding, like old pillows or foam. Make sure the bedding is washable for easy maintenance.
  • Pet Crate Liner: Line your pet’s crate with a layer of old bed sheets to provide a soft and familiar surface for them to rest on. If you don’t want a pet, you can donate the old bed linens to a local animal shelter or sell them to a thrift store.
  • Burrow Bed: If you have smaller pets that enjoy burrowing, fold the sheet to create a cozy and enclosed space within their bed. The little animal can play with the dog toy in a comfy space without bothering you much, especially when you’re busy.
  • Outdoor Lounger: If your pet enjoys lounging in the yard, create an outdoor bed by sewing the edges of the sheet to prevent fraying. The sleeping bag liners will keep your furry friend happy.

DIY Home Decor: 

Elevate your home decor game by repurposing old sheets into charming and unique pieces.

Craft decorative pillow covers, tablecloths, curtains, or even lampshades.

With some creativity and basic sewing skills, you can refresh your living space with customized items that boast both style and sustainability.

  • Tablecloth: Use larger sheets as tablecloths for casual gatherings or special occasions. You can dye or paint the fabric to match your decor.
  • Curtains: Transform your old bed sheets into light and breezy curtains to add a touch of charm to your windows.
  • Wall Hangings: Cut the sheets into various shapes and sizes and attach them to a wooden dowel or branch to create boho-style wall hangings.
  • Throw Pillows: Sew pillow covers from your old bed sheets to give your throw pillows a new look. Mix and match patterns to add visual interest to your living space.
  • Room Divider: Create a makeshift room divider by hanging sheets from the ceiling with hooks or tension rods. This adds privacy and a creative element to your space.
  • Canvas Art: Stretch an old sheet over a canvas frame and paint your own artwork. This allows you to customize your decor with your artistic flair.
  • Furniture Upholstery: Use old bed sheets to reupholster chairs, stools, or benches for fresh, eco-friendly updates.
  • Draped Canopy: Create a dreamy draped canopy over your bed by attaching sheets to the ceiling. This adds a touch of romance to your bedroom.
  • Poufs or Floor Cushions: Sew bed sheets into large poufs or floor cushions to provide extra seating in your living room or play area.
  • No-Sew Projects: If you’re not handy with a sewing machine, consider using fabric glue or iron-on adhesive tape to create no-sew projects like placemats, coasters, or fabric-covered storage boxes.

Donate or Recycle: 

When your old sheets have served their purpose, don’t let them go to waste. Consider donating or recycling them to give them a new lease on life and contribute to sustainability efforts:

  • Donation: If your old sheets are still in decent condition, consider donating them to local animal shelters, pet rescues, or charitable organizations. Homeless shelters often welcome bedding donations to provide warmth and comfort to those in need. Animal shelters can also use old sheets for bedding or cleaning purposes.
  • Upcycling Workshops: Look for community centers or organizations that host upcycling workshops. They may be interested in collecting old sheets for crafting projects, quilting, or other creative endeavors.
  • Recycling Centers: Many cities have textile recycling programs that accept old fabric. They may use an old sheet for insulation, reducing landfill waste.
  • Craft Groups: Check with local craft or sewing groups. They might be interested in using your old sheets for their projects.
  • Schools and Daycares: Schools and daycares often need fabric for various activities, such as arts and crafts. Your old bed sheets could find a second life as materials for creative projects.
  • Environmental Organizations: Some organizations repurpose fabrics for eco-friendly initiatives, like creating reusable bags or cleaning clothes.
  • Thrift Stores: Some thrift stores accept gently used linens, which they resell to support their missions or charitable activities.
  • Textile Recycling Bins: Look for textile recycling bins in your community or at local retailers. These bins collect old textiles to be recycled or repurposed.
  • Linen Closet: Another clever use of an old bed sheet is to create a linen closet with it. You can watch some tutorials online and create a wonderful new cupboard for more storage.

Gardening Aid: 

Old sheets can play a pivotal role in your gardening endeavors. Use them as frost covers to shield delicate plants from harsh weather conditions.

You can also cut them into smaller pieces to create weed barriers, preventing unwanted growth while allowing water and air circulation to nurture your garden.

Repurposing old bed sheets as gardening aids can help protect your plants and create a healthier growing environment:

  • Plant Covers: Use old sheets to cover delicate plants during frosty nights or unexpected cold snaps. They act as a protective barrier against frost and cold winds, helping your plants thrive.
  • Sun Shade: In hot summer months, drape old sheets over delicate plants to provide temporary shade during peak sun hours. This prevents sunburn and helps retain moisture in the soil.
  • Mulch Barrier: Lay old sheets on the ground around your plants to act as a natural mulch barrier. This helps retain soil moisture, prevent weed growth, and regulate temperature.
  • Frost Protection: In colder months, drape old sheets over delicate plants to protect them from frost and freezing temperatures. The fabric acts as a barrier, preventing direct contact between the plant and the cold air. Secure the sheets in place using stakes or weights to prevent them from blowing away.
  • Sun Shade: During hot summer days, use old sheets to create temporary shade structures for plants sensitive to intense sunlight. Simply hang the sheets on stakes to gently shade the plants, preventing sunburn and heat stress.
  • Pest Barrier: Covering plants with old sheets can also be a physical barrier against pests like insects and birds. This can be particularly useful for young seedlings that are vulnerable to attacks. Make sure the sheets are securely anchored to prevent pests from getting underneath.
  • Wind Protection: In windy conditions, old sheets can shield plants from strong gusts that might break or damage their branches. Wrap the sheets around the plants or use them as windbreaks by attaching them to stakes.
  • Hydration Control: Use old sheets to create moisture-retaining covers for newly transplanted or freshly seeded areas. These covers can help maintain a consistent moisture level and encourage germination or growth.

Arts and Crafts: 

Unleash your artistic potential using old sheets as a canvas for various arts and crafts projects.

Their versatile nature makes them suitable for painting, tie-dyeing, and other creative endeavors. Incorporate your repurposed sheets into your artistic pursuits to add depth and texture to your creations.

Old sheets can be transformed into various arts and crafts projects, allowing you to express your creativity:

  • Quilting: Cut old sheets into squares or strips to create patchwork quilts or blankets. This is a wonderful way to preserve memories and repurpose worn-out linens.
  • Fabric Painting: Use old sheets as a canvas for fabric painting projects. Create unique designs, patterns, or even abstract art.
  • Sewing Projects: Turn old sheets into reusable shopping bags, tote bags, pillowcases, or aprons. These projects are not only practical but also environmentally friendly.
  • Fabric Flowers: Transform old sheets into fabric flowers that can be used for embellishing clothing, accessories, or home decor items.

Emergency Preparedness: 

Ensuring you have versatile materials on hand during unforeseen situations can be invaluable.

Old sheets can be valuable resources in emergencies:

  • Bandages and Dressings: In a pinch, clean and sterilized old sheets can be used as makeshift bandages or dressings for minor wounds.
  • Temporary Shelter: Old sheets can serve as emergency shelter material. They can create makeshift tents, shelters, or privacy screens.
  • Car Emergency Kit: Keep old sheets in your car emergency kit. They can be used as blankets, ground cover, or to protect your car seats in case of spills or accidents.

Gift Wrap

Gift-giving is a wonderful way to show appreciation and celebrate special occasions. Still, it often comes with considerable waste due to the disposable nature of traditional wrapping paper.

However, you can adopt an eco-friendly approach by repurposing old sheets to create unique and sustainable gift wraps.

Here’s a great idea on how you can turn your old sheets into beautiful and thoughtful gift coverings:

  • Fabric Gift Bags: Transform your old sheets into reusable fabric gift bags. Cut the sheets into square or rectangular pieces, fold them in half, and sew or glue the sides to create pouches. You can secure the bag with a ribbon or fabric tie, and the recipient can reuse it for storage or future gift-giving. This will help you get rid of the plastic bags.
  • Furoshiki Wrapping: Embrace the ancient Japanese art of furoshiki, which involves using a single piece of fabric to wrap gifts in various creative styles. Lay the gift in the center of the fabric, fold the corners, and tie them in a knot. This technique eliminates the need for disposable wrapping paper and adds an artistic touch to your presents.
  • Fabric Wrap and Ribbon: Wrap your gift using a fabric sheet as you would with traditional wrapping paper. Secure the ends with fabric ribbons or cords. This approach reduces waste and adds a touch of elegance to your gift presentation.
  • Personalized Painted Wraps: Get crafty by painting or stamping on the old sheet to create unique gift wrap designs. Let your artistic flair shine as you craft a personalized gift wrap that reflects your creativity and thoughtfulness.
  • Tie-Dye or Dip-Dye Wraps: Give your old sheets a new life by tie-dyeing or dip-dyeing them to create vibrant and colorful gift wraps. The result will be a visually striking wrapping material far from ordinary.
  • Layered Fabric Wrap: Layer multiple sheets of different colors and patterns to create a visually appealing, textured wrap for your gift. This method adds depth and intrigue to the presentation while utilizing old sheets effectively.
  • Embellishments and Accents: Use fabric scraps from the old sheets to create embellishments such as fabric flowers, bows, or buttons. Attach these accents to the gift wrap to add an extra touch of charm and uniqueness.

Build a Fort: 

Why limit the fun of building forts to your childhood? Repurpose your old sheets to create cozy and imaginative hideaways for kids or yourself.

Building a fort with old sheets can be a delightful and nostalgic activity that brings joy to rainy days or lazy weekends. Here’s how you can transform your old sheets into a charming fort:

  • Gather Materials: Collect old sheets, cushions, pillows, and lightweight furniture like chairs or tables. The aim is to create a comfortable and secure space.
  • Choose a Location: Pick a suitable spot in your living room, bedroom, or other spacious area. Make sure the area is safe and offers enough room for your fort.
  • Create the Structure: Use chairs or tables as the framework for your fort. Drape the old sheets over the furniture to form the roof and walls of the fort. Arrange the sheets to leave openings for doorways and windows.
  • Secure the Sheets: Use clips, clothespins, or even rubber bands to hold the sheets in place and prevent them from slipping. You can also tuck the edges under heavy objects for added stability.
  • Add Comfort: Arrange cushions, pillows, and soft blankets inside the fort to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. This is where you and your loved ones can relax, read books, play games, or simply enjoy each other’s company.
  • Personalize Your Fort: Let your creativity run wild by adding decorative touches to your fort. Hang fairy lights, attach paper decorations, or use stickers to make the fort truly unique.
  • Enjoy and Unwind: Step inside and bask in the whimsical ambiance once your fort is complete. Use this space as a tranquil retreat for relaxation, bonding, or imaginative play.

Before repurposing or donating your old sheets, ensure they are clean and stain-free. A thorough wash will help ensure their usability in their new roles.

By exploring these detailed and innovative ideas for old sheets, you contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle and infuse creativity and purpose into your daily routines.

How Often Should You Replace Bed Sheets?

As time passes, bed sheets gradually wear out, lose their freshness, and accumulate dirt and allergens.

While holding onto your favorite sheets is tempting, regularly replacing them is essential for maintaining a clean and comfortable sleep environment.

Here’s a helpful guide on when and why you should bid farewell to your old bedsheets:

Every 1-2 Years: 

As a general rule, consider replacing your bed sheets every 1 to 2 years.

Over time, daily use, washing, and exposure to oils and sweat can degrade the fabric’s quality and color.

Switching out your sheets within this timeframe ensures a more hygienic and visually pleasing sleeping space.

Visible Wear and Tear: 

Examine your old sheets for signs of wear and tear.

Frayed edges, thinning fabric, and pilling are indicators that your sheets have served their time and need to be replaced.

Fading Colors: 

If your once-vibrant sheets have lost their color intensity and appear dull, it’s a sign that they’ve endured numerous wash cycles.

Freshly replaced sheets can revive your bedroom’s aesthetic.

Allergy and Asthma Concerns: 

If you or your family struggle with allergies or asthma, replacing your sheets more frequently is advisable.

Old, worn sheets also can harbor dust mites, pollen, and other allergens that could worsen symptoms.

Lingering Odors: 

No matter how often you wash them, old sheets and bed linens might develop persistent odors that are hard to eliminate.

Replacing the old floral sheets will instantly provide a fresher sleep atmosphere.

Lifestyle Factors: 

Consider your lifestyle when deciding how often to replace sheets.

If you frequently eat or work in bed, or if pets share your sleeping space, your sheets are likely exposed to more dirt and contaminants.

Seasonal Changes: 

Some people prefer heavier sheets in the winter and lighter ones in the summer.

Rotating sheets seasonally offers a change in comfort and prolongs their lifespan.

Quality Matters: 

Higher-quality bed sheets tend to withstand the test of time better than cheaper options.

Investing in quality may allow you to replace them less frequently.

The Joy of Renewal: 

Beyond practical reasons, replacing old bed sheets can simply rejuvenate your sleep experience.

New sheets bring a sense of freshness and comfort that can enhance your overall well-being.


Can I use old sheets for these creative ideas?

Yes, you can repurpose various old sheets, including all cotton sheets, flannel, and polyester blends. Choose sheets in good condition and free from significant damage or stains.

How can I ensure the fabric is clean before repurposing it?

Before repurposing old sheets, paper towels, and floral sheets, thoroughly wash them using your washing machine. Use an eco-friendly detergent to ensure they're clean and ready for your creative projects.

Are these ideas suitable for beginners in crafting?

Absolutely! Many of these ideas are beginner-friendly and require minimal crafting skills. They're a great way to introduce yourself to DIY projects and sustainable crafting.

Can I combine different sheets for some of these ideas?

Yes, combining patterned sheets of different colors and textures can add an interesting and unique touch to your projects.

What if my sheets have worn-out areas or holes?

If your old sheets have small worn-out areas or holes, you can still repurpose them by cutting around those damaged spots. For larger holes or significant damage, choosing a part of the bed sheet that's in better condition is best.

Can I use old sheets for gift wrapping even if they're not perfect?

Yes, you can! Even sheets with minor imperfections can be transformed into beautiful gift wraps. Just ensure that the chosen part of the old flat sheet itself is clean and presentable.

Are the ideas for repurposing sheets cost-effective compared to buying new materials?

Absolutely. Repurposing your old bed sheet or sheets for these creative ideas is environmentally friendly and cost-effective. You're giving new life to materials you already have, saving money.

Where can I find more inspiration for repurposing old sheets?

You can find inspiration on crafting websites, social media platforms, and eco-friendly lifestyle blogs. These sources often feature many creative ideas for repurposing old materials.

What's the best way to store old sheets until I'm ready to use them for a project?

Store your old sheets in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture and mildew. Folding them neatly and placing them in a sealed container or fabric bag can help keep them in good condition until you're ready to repurpose them.


Finding new life for old sheets has never been more relevant in a world that increasingly values sustainability and creativity.

By exploring the many creative and sustainable ideas presented here, you’re contributing to a greener planet and tapping into your artistic spirit.

From transforming them into reusable grocery bags to weaving them into cozy pet bedding or revamping your home decor, these uses for old sheets have proven their versatility beyond their original purpose.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Sarah Anderson, Certified Sleep Science Coach Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson is a sleep, health, and wellness writer and product reviewer. She has written articles on changing and improving your sleep schedule, choosing the right mattress for chronic pain conditions, and finding the best pillow for you. Sarah Anderson has her Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to working for Zoma, she wrote for a variety of news publications. Sarah's work has been featured on Bustle, PureWow, and other publications.

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