Reusing Old T-Shirts

My husband decided he couldn’t stand his old medium size white t-shirts and wanted to stick with the small size, so guess what? I had several white t-shirts to figure out a use for. I couldn’t let them go to waste, and thus I came up with a few ideas. You can use any old t-shirt for any of these!

What I love about recreating things out of old t-shirts, as in the first two ideas below, is that there is so no sewing necessary. T-shirts don’t unravel. So just cut away and you have a new tool!

1. Cleaning rags

I cut two of the shirts into several cleaning rags (about four per side of the shirt). These are now my favorite cleaning rags, especially for dusting and wiping windows (as I try to avoid paper towels because of the waste). I found I always reached for these rags first over some of the professional cleaning rags I purchased when we first got married. They work great!

2. Wash clothes / baby wipes

I cut another t-shirt into twelve small squares (approx. 8×8 in size, 6 from the front and 6 from the back of the shirt) and I have a new collection of cloth baby wipes (which I use with my cloth diapers). Once again these work better than some of the store bought ones I had. Could also be used for wash clothes in the shower or for cleaning up the little ones after meals.

3. Cloth grocery bag

A fun easy project to do with an old t-shirt! Check out this pattern for simple instructions. Here is another fun pattern to make a cloth grocery bag! I can’t wait to try it!

That’s my frugal tip for today! Re-use t-shirts! Even if you don’t have one on hand, purchasing used ones at Goodwill would be cheaper than buying these items new!

Any other good ideas to share? I’d love to hear!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

21 Responses to Reusing Old T-Shirts

  1. Lexi August 26, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    I have used all of my old t-shirts to dust off my ceiling fans and they work really well and the dust stays on the shirt! (:

    • Pamela December 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      You can use your old cotton panties they are great for dusting

  2. breanne March 11, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    this is so cool

  3. Andrea October 3, 2008 at 8:36 am #

    I use old t-shirts for t-shirt quilts. Sew the t-shirts together then back them with fleece. I have made “memory” t-shirt quilts for each of my daughters. They are easy care, warm and cuddly and the girls have fond memories in their quilts.

  4. Rose September 30, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    Dear Lyndsay,

    You could use them as hair towels. I was looking for some tips on care for curly hair -actually, that’s how I found your blog-, and I read that old cotton t-shirts are much better than towels for our hair structure -my hair is very similar to yours, in color and shape-. I have tried it, and it seems to work fine.
    Avocado is also a great natural product for curly hair. Use some avocado oil when making your shampoo or mashed avocado as a natural mask. Even my grandma told me she used used to wash her hair with avocado once a week when she was young.
    And thanks for your tips, specially the one about natural deodorant, I have been trying to find that recipe for ages!

  5. Angie August 29, 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    Thanks for the great tips! I cut my hubby’s old Tshirts up into 1″ wide strips and sew them together end-to-end, then crochet rugs out of them. I use a big size Q crochet hook, and those rugs are the softest, kooshiest rugs ever!

    I was out of kitchen washcloths, and I had them on my grovery list, but then I had a brainstorm! I took and old, mismatched bath towel which I never use, cut it up into 8 squares, and zig-zagged the edges on my sewing machine. Then I filled my kitchen drawer up with a pile of brand new washcloths that didn’t cost me a penny!

  6. Dona August 20, 2008 at 5:52 am #

    Grocery bag idea from Martha Stewart show is cool! Thanks for sharing this tip. I am always needing extra grocery bags for shopping at Aldi’s

  7. Julie August 17, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    We also use them for rags! I have a pile of them to use for spills, cleaning and generally in place of paper towels. :) Love it! Off to check out that grocery bag pattern… :)

  8. Kacy August 17, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Love all these ideas!

    When my husband recently purged some t-shirts from his closet, I decided to make my 2 year-old daughter some new bibs! Her old ones were looking rather worn out and she thought it was really cool that Daddy’s old shirt was now her new bib :)

  9. Julia August 16, 2008 at 4:50 pm #

    I make bloomers/pantaloons for my little sisters out of size L or bigger t-shirt fabric from cutting up the shirt. They are really easy…all you need it a capri-pants pattern for about sizes 1-3. Size 3 is usually the biggest size that will fit on that much fabric.
    Presto! Nice stretchy bloomers. :D
    Hope this makes sense and helps some of you.
    Julia (age 15)
    (I found your blog thru google reader recommendations)

  10. Hannah August 16, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    I take old plain white t-shirts, cut them into rectangles and use them as swiffer refills. Instead of buying the pricey ones from the store I just attach the old t-shirt rag like you would the store bought ones. It works great!

  11. Lanette August 15, 2008 at 9:46 pm #

    I’ve found patterns on the internet for making pre-fold diapers, fitted diapers, baby pants, and panties from old T-shirts. A quick google search should pull them up. I just finished a pair of training pants :-)

  12. Stephanie August 15, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

    I love the grocery bag idea! thanks!

  13. Abbi August 15, 2008 at 1:07 pm #

    Good ideas! We like using old t-shirst for rags as well. I have also had a lot of old t-shirts that I have been trying to find uses for (it seems that they are very easy to come by!). Currently I am working on a skirt for my oldest made from a couple of old t-shirts. I hope to get it done and post about it soon. I have also used them for cutting into tiny strips and knitting a scarf out of it which turned out quite well. If you cut them in bigger strips you can crochet rag rugs with them.
    Some of my other planned projects are making napkins and underwear from ones that are still quite sturdy.

  14. Teresa August 15, 2008 at 11:05 am #

    Great ideas. I have used old whit t-shirts to make a dress for my three year old duaghter. After a little cutting, a little sewing, and some trim, she had a new (to her) dress.

    There are pics of the completed project on my blog (the July 3 entry).

  15. Car Seat Chick August 15, 2008 at 9:59 am #

    great reminder to use an everyday item for many things. I’ve been cutting up my hubby’s old shirts as well.

  16. Sherry August 15, 2008 at 8:27 am #

    I never would have thought of the bags. Thanks for the pattern links.

  17. Sweetpeas August 15, 2008 at 7:28 am #

    I use my husband’s old t-shirts as “smocks” for my kids when we do messy art projects. I usually put them on backwards since the back of the neck is higher, sometimes I use a clothespin to pull it together in the back so it’s not falling off their shoulders. The arms are long enough to cover short sleeved shirts for sure, or pushed up long sleeves. . . and easy to toss in the wash if they get dirty (but paint stains don’t count, they just add character LOL).

    And very similar to your baby wipes idea, a couple years ago I had a bad cold and whenever I get a cold, I also get a cold sore, usually on my nose if I’m congested. So paper tissues HURT (even the fancy ones w/ lotion in them, plus what IS that stuff LOL) so, I found a couple old t-shirts & cut them into squares, we’ve been using them as “kleenex” ever since.

  18. Cyndy August 15, 2008 at 5:19 am #

    Since I love to make things, I use the following, for the following:
    1. Toilet Paper Tubes to make party crackers for the holidays.
    2. Old baby food jars for homemade bath salts, bath oil, or jut plain old craft storage.
    3. Daughters old clothes for sewing fabric.
    4. Stickers on fruit to make cute little magnets.
    5. Altoids tins to decorate, decoupage, and make little boxes for friends.

  19. Carmen August 15, 2008 at 4:53 am #

    They also make great laundry bags (similar to the grocery bags). I like to take some with me when I travel and collect the family’s dirty laundry so it’s easy to deal with when you get home. Plus, you can just throw the bag in with the rest of the laundry.

  20. Michele August 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm #

    What great ideas! When I was a little girl my father used to use his old T-shirts to polish his shoes for work. He had to dress up every day and had to have very shiny shoes. I always helped him polish them with his T-shirt cloths and they worked great!