Cleaning & Minimalism

Turn Old Clothes Into Rags

Have ripped, stained or worn clothing? Find out how to turn old clothes into rags and all the ways that you can use rags around the house.

pile of cloth rags with scissors

Have you been decluttering!?  Or, do you have some clothes that have seen better days?  Not sure what to do with the clothes and fabrics you no longer want/need?  Today I’m going to talk about how to turn old clothes into rags!  And I’ll share some other ideas for what to do with old clothes AND what to do with the rags you make.  Let’s get to it!

There are some things that I do without realizing that it may be helpful to others.  Case in point: turning old clothes into rags!  It’s honestly such an easy project and the perfect solution to use old clothes.

rag bin and pink spray bottle turn old clothes into rags text overlay

What to Do with Old Clothes

Before you see how I turn old clothes into rags, let’s talk about other clothes disposal methods.

If your clothing is in good condition, you can sell or donate them.  I just updated my post on how to get rid of things, so make sure to check that out.

What about sentimental items that no longer fit (or you don’t want to wear)?  Make a t-shirt quilt!

Have clothing that fits but you want to change the colour?  I’ve dyed (and hacked) some of my clothes too.

Or, you can repurpose your clothing into Halloween costumes.  (See how I cut up clothes as the Little Mermaid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

I’ve even made t-shirt canvases from sentimental clothing that was beyond wear!

cut up tank top and pile of rags

What do you do with clothes that have stains or rips?  You shouldn’t donate those BUT you also shouldn’t throw them in the garbage.  This article on how to recycle clothes has a lot of good tips and resources (especially in Ontario, Canada).

For our old tattered and stained clothes, I either turn them into rags OR keep them in a bin in the garage.  From there, I send them to the Husband’s work (to use as rags), or recycle them appropriately.

How to Turn Old Clothes into Rags

Ready to see the easiest steps to turn old clothes into rags!?

First, determine what clothes you would like to use.  The best fabric to use for rags is usually something super absorbent.  Think 100% cotton.  T-shirts, some sweaters, and pyjamas usually work great!  I don’t usually keep jeans or polyester/synthetics in my home rag pile.

old clothes with stains and pile of rags

This past week I had a pair of pyjama pants with a huge hole, and Félix’s too-small PJ shirt with stains.

cutting an old t-shirt

All you need to do is grab a pair of good scissors, and cut the clothes into rags!  It’s literally that simple.

Okay okay, but what size should rags be!?  Personally, I like to keep a few different sizes on hand.  For baby clothes, I might cut them in half OR even leave them full-sized.  For the pyjama pants, I cut even size squares up the pant leg; so maybe 12 pieces total?

I’m not too picky about cutting the seams, but I do remove zippers or strings/elastic bands.

bin of rags and pink spray bottle

I keep my rags in a bin near the kitchen AND in a bin in the laundry room.

What to do with Rags

Rags are SO handy to have around the house.  Don’t believe me?  Check out all the ways to use rags:

  • Cleaning cloths!  I have a few cleaning posts coming up, and you bet that I use rags for all my cleaning (no expensive/scratchy microfibre cloths here)
  • Mom Hack: Bring a rag or two to the park to wipe up water on slides and swings
  • DIY projects!
  • Did I say Halloween costumes before? ha
  • Basically, anywhere that you would use a paper towel – you can substitute a rag

turn old clothes into rags text overlay on pile of cloth rags

For DIY projects – the different ways to use rags are almost endless!

Caulking?  You’ll need a rag to clean up your fingers.

Painting?  Clean up those messes and spills!

Staining?  You 1000% need rags to wipe away the excess.  PLUS, you never want to use good cloths for oil-based stains, because you need to throw them out after.

My friend Stacy wrote a good post on how to safely dispose of rags used with combustible products – so check that out :)

stain cans opened with nearby rags

The photo above is from my recent basement guest bedroom makeover.  I stained some Ikea Rast Nightstands and wanted to test different colours.

Anytime I use rags for DIY projects (paint, stain, etc.), I always throw them away.  If I clean up something really gross, I throw them away.  But sometimes I do wash my rags that I’ve used for general cleaning.

Although, I have a bunch extra – so I probably don’t need to be that thrifty :)

turn old clothes into rags text overlay on pile of cloth rags and scissors

I hope this tutorial on how to turn old clothes into rags was helpful!  Well, not only the cutting clothes part, but my other tips on what to do with old clothes, and how to use rags too.

While I did technically talk about turning clothes into rags, you could certainly apply this same technique to other fabrics around the house.  Old towels make the best big clean up rags. (And, I’ve heard that old pillowcases wipe windows and glass the best – no lint or streaks at all!).

So tell me, do you have any clothes around the house that would be good as rags!?  What about other DIY projects or upcycling clothes ideas?  Let me know!

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