Close-up of a pile of colorful, old towels, ready for repurposing

5 Ways To Upcycle Old Towels

We've all been there – staring at a pile of old towels, faded, worn, and maybe even decorated with a few mystery marks. The simple solution? Toss them in the trash and forget about them. But wait! Before you send those towels to the landfill graveyard, consider upcycling.

Yes, even those towels that have seen better days can be transformed into practical and creative items for your home. Not only is upcycling a fun and rewarding way to unleash your inner DIYer, but it's also a fantastic way to be kind to our planet. Textile waste is a growing concern, filling up landfills and harming the environment. Millions of tons of textiles are thrown away in the United States yearly, making the issue worse.

The best part? Upcycling your old towels is good for your wallet too! By turning those towels into cleaning rags, bath mats, tote bags or even giving your pet a spot to rest, you're saving money on things you would have otherwise bought. It's a win-win – a fun DIY project that also helps you stay within your budget.

Plus, when you create things yourself, you get to be the designer! You can choose colors and patterns that match your style and add a personal touch to your home decor. Many upcycling ideas involve some sewing, but don't let that intimidate you. There are plenty of beginner-friendly DIY projects that only require a pair of scissors and some creativity.

Turn Old Turkish Towels into Chic Pillows

Refashioned Turkish towel turned into a colorful pillow. The pillow has three buttons sewn vertically along its side

Photo Credit: Country Sampler Magazine

Those plush, absorbent Turkish towels you love so much can find new life beyond the bathroom or beach. Transform them into stylish throw pillows that add a touch of cozy elegance to your living space.

Simply cut two identical squares or rectangles from your Turkish towel fabric, keeping in mind the desired size of your finished pillow. Then, choose your preferred method for connecting the pieces, sewing, fabric glue, or even fusible bonding tape for a no-sew option. Leave one side open to fill your pillow with fluffy stuffing, then close it up and admire your handiwork. You've just created a unique and beautiful pillow that adds a touch of personality to any room, all while giving your old Turkish towel a second life.

Crafting Cozy Rugs for Every Room

Braided rug made from two old colorful towels. This eco-friendly craft project repurposes old towels into a new and functional bath mat

Photo Credit: Tasty Home

Give your old towels a soft landing by transforming them into absorbent rugs. Perfect for adding a touch of comfort to any room, these DIY rugs are especially ideal as bath mats because of their machine-washable and absorbent nature.

For a beginner-friendly approach, try the spiral rug technique. Cut your towels into strips, twist them together, and then coil them into a spiral shape, securing each loop with a stitch as you go. This method creates a thick, cushioned rug with excellent absorbency.

Consider trying the patchwork method if you're comfortable with sewing. Create shapes like squares or rectangles from your towels, then stitch them together to craft a distinctive rug. Let your creativity flow as you experiment with different patterns and color combinations.

Clean Up With Mop Pads

Roommates cleaning home together

Instead of throwing out old towels and buying disposable mop pads, why not turn those towels into reusable cleaning cloths for your mop? Towels are super absorbent and easy to wash, making them a perfect eco-friendly alternative.

To make your own mop pad, all you need is an old towel and some velcro. Trace the shape of your mop head onto the towel, making it twice as long so you can fold it over. Stick velcro to each side of the towel and cut a small hole in the middle for the mop handle to fit through. Now you have a reusable mop pad that you can wash and use again and again!

Tote Bags from Turkish Towels

Tote bag crafted from Turkish towels, perfect for the chic woman on the go

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

Old Turkish towels can find a new purpose as eco-friendly and fashionable tote bags. Their lightweight and absorbent nature makes them perfect for carrying groceries, beach essentials, or everyday items.

Creating a towel tote bag is easy and requires minimal sewing skills. Start by cutting two equal-sized pieces from your old towel to form the main body of the bag. These pieces can be sewn together using a basic stitch, or you can opt for a no-sew approach with fabric glue. For the handles, you can use leftover towel fabric, ribbon, or old belts attaching them securely to the bag with stitching or fabric glue. The result is absolutely a unique and functional tote bag that helps you reduce waste while adding a personal touch to your daily tasks.

DIY Towel Beds for Furry Friends

Adorable dog napping soundly on a soft bed crafted from old towel

Even if your old towels aren't quite up to par for human use anymore, they can still provide comfort and coziness for your pet. Turning them into DIY pet beds is a simple and rewarding project, perfect for those who are new to upcycling.

Start by cutting an old towel in half. Then, create a fringe around the edges of both pieces by cutting small strips about half an inch wide. Place one towel piece with the soft side facing up on the floor, add a pillow for cushioning, and then cover it with the other towel piece, soft side down. 

Tie the fringe pieces together to secure the bed, creating a cozy haven for your pet to snuggle up in. If you don't have a pillow handy, you can use leftover towel scraps or old clothes to fill the inside of the bed.

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