I have quite a few old towels in my linen closet that I can't get rid of. I don't know what it is, but it feels like there is still a lot of good use in them, and one little hole or rip isn't enough reason to toss them.
I would then turn them into rags by folding them and storing them in the laundry room. Rarely did I need a full sized towel as a rag, and if I cut it, it had edges that were all raggedy.
Here is a great way to recycle those old towels and make them usable again! This tutorial will show what to do with old towels using a sewing machine, a rotary cutter and a mat to create washcloths that are a nice size and have finished edges like new!
Learn more about what to do with old towels by watching our video or keep reading this post.
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WHAT YOU NEED to recycle old towels
- Old bath towel
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Threaded sewing machine
INSTRUCTIONS to recycle old towels
STEP 1: Cut old towel to washcloth size
Lay the towel out and look for the good, intact areas left of the towel. Make sure it is not too thin or has tears or holes in the area that will be made into the washcloth.
Lay the towel on a cutting mat and use a rotary cutter to cut the nice, intact piece of towel into a washcloth-sized piece. For this tutorial, 12" x 12" was chosen as the size.
This is a generous size, usually larger than a store-bought dishcloth or washcloth.
Use the rotary cutter and cutting mat to make a square washcloth that will be sewn to finish up the raw edges.
Step 2: Finish the edges of the recycled towel
The two best stitches to use on the sewing machine to finish the edges of the washcloth are the zig-zag stitch or the double overlock stitch.
I prefer the double overlock stitch since the edges do not need to be turned under and it looks very neat. In the photo above, I am pointing to the overlock stitch. Check out the symbol used for this stitch and find it on your machine.
To finish with the double overlock stitch, start sewing and continue sewing all the way around the new washcloth.
Set the stitch length to 4-1/2 to finish with the zig-zag stitch.
With the zig-zag stitch, it is necessary to stitch completely around the outside edge of the washcloth two times to finish it off.
And there you have it! An old recycled towel turned into a nice washcloth.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to recycle an old towel into a neatly finished washcloth!
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
Other ways to Recycle Old Towels
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