Maybe your current set of pillowcases is old, threadbare, and just plain worn out. Maybe your favorite pillowcase got stained or slightly torn and you can't bear to throw it out. Or maybe you bought too many pillowcases at a sale and don't know how you'll ever use them all. For all of those cases (pardon the pun) and more, there are plenty of ways you can put them to use around the house instead of throwing them in the garbage.
Some of these re-use suggestions and projects are more appropriate for pillowcases that aren't too stained and still have relatively sturdy fabric. The ideas for camping, traveling, or cleaning purposes, where prettiness doesn't matter, are when you'll want to pull out your really hideous and filthy-looking pillowcases.
FRESH USES FOR USED PILLOWCASES
Dust ceiling fan blades: Place an old pillowcase over one of the ceiling fan blades and slowly pull it back off again. The blades get dusted and the dust bunnies stay in the pillowcase instead of falling all over your floor.
Clear out cobwebs: Cover a broom with an old pillowcase to reach and wipe away those cobwebs hanging in the far corners of your ceiling.
Prepare travel pillows: If you like to bring your own pillows on road trips, you know how dirty the pillowcases can get. The next time you travel, layer several pillowcases on each pillow so that when the outside one gets dirty, you can remove it for a fresh one. The fact that the pillowcases are old and worn to begin with also means a few more dirt or food stains from the car ride won't matter.
Use for wrapping paper: If you've ever had to wrap a basketball or an odd-shaped piece of art, you know ordinary wrapping paper tends to rip, tear, and generally look awful. All you have to do is place the gift in a pillowcase and tie it closed with a ribbon. If your old pillowcases are too ugly, consider tie-dying them or using stamps to improve their appearance.
Store your sweaters: Avoid the mustiness of plastic containers and the moths of closets by putting your sweaters in pillowcases for seasonal storage. The fabric will allow them to breathe and they'll stay free from dust.
Protect hanging clothes: Protect a garment you know you won't be wearing for a while by covering it with an old pillowcase. Just cut a hole in the top and slip it over the hanger and clothing.
Protect leather accessories: Leather purses or suede shoes stored on a shelf will get dusty and scuffed. Save yourself the time and hassle next time by storing infrequently used leather items in pillowcases.
Machine-wash your delicates: Sweaters and pantyhose can get damaged or pulled out of shape during the spin cycle. To protect these garments during washing, toss them in a pillowcase and close with string or a rubber band. Set the machine to the delicate setting and add the soap.
Machine-wash stuffed animals: Place your child's stuffed animals in a pillowcase and put them in the washer. The pillowcase will make sure they get a gentle but thorough washing. And if any of the parts fall off the stuffed animals, they'll be caught in the pillowcase so you can reattach them after they dry.
Use as a traveling laundry bag: Stick a pillowcase in your suitcase so you can toss in your dirty laundry as it accumulates. When you get home from traveling, just empty the pillowcase into the washer and throw in the pillowcase as well.
Make a chew toy: Roll a polyester pillowcase lengthwise into a thin “snake” and tie three knots in it, one at each end and one in the middle. Your small dog will now have a tug-of-war-worthy chew toy.
Make keepsake prints: Use a plain cotton pillowcase as a canvas and have family members make their hand- or footprints on it with tempera paint. Use a laundry marker to write the date and names. Then frame or mat the whole thing as a piece of memorabilia.
Use to store newspaper: Put recyclable newspapers in an old pillowcase so you don't get newsprint on your hands when you drop them at their final destination.
Use as packing material: Cushion your china and other breakables when you're moving house by wrapping them in old pillowcases before placing them in boxes.
Line waste baskets: If you use wicker baskets as garbage bins in your bathroom or bedroom, old pillowcases make great liners. They look better than plastic bags (so you don't have to buy them), they're better at catching small items, and they're washable.
Use them as patches: If the fabric is still sturdy and you can find one or two unstained squares, use an old pillowcase to make patches for your jeans or a quilt.
Donate them: Homeless shelters and second-hand stores are often looking for extra bedding.
Make a soothing hot pack: Cut an old pillowcase into thirds, the long way. Then sew them into tubes, leaving one end open. Fill them with long cooking rice and sew up the open end. Put one in the microwave anytime you need a hot pack or give one away as a gift.
Store tubes of wrapping paper: Sew down the middle of an old pillowcase to make compartments for storing tubes of wrapping paper and to prevent them from unraveling.
Make a shopping bag: Follow Martha Stewart's instructions to make your own shopping bag or beach bag out of a pillowcase.
Quick Tips: Use an old pillowcase to…
- Make your own handkerchiefs or neckerchiefs
- Make a bandana
- Make mismatched cloth napkins
- Cover your hot water bottle
- Collect leaves and grass cuts
- Make doll dresses or bedding
- Cover your ironing board
- Store flour
- Make cleaning rags
- Protect and cover your baby's changing table