30 Ways You can Re-use Pillowcases

August 8, 2011 14 comments View all articles in Re-Use-It

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.


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


Ellen on April 3, 2012 at 8:41 a.m.

After cleaning out a linen closet I ended up with way to many pillow cases and I just couldn't toss them out. So glad I took the time to see if I could find some ideas on the internet. Great ideas Thank you Ellen

Janelle on Aug. 28, 2012 at 5:36 p.m.

Fantastic ideas. Thanks for sharing

Evy on Jan. 30, 2013 at 6:54 a.m.

I have found alot of used for old pillow cases or even cheap ones in the camper. I found in a discount store 2 dog/cat l print, cases on sale So I just cut a small hole in the hem...pasted a small rope & now I have a great storage bag for dog chains and dog toys. Without even labeling I know that they are for the dog. I have also stored my pans in them so they don't slide. Tie tight & everything stays together ready for traveling . Even here at home I place all my summer shoes in one bag each pair is in a plastic newpaper bag, than in a case with a floral design. Gloves each in their plastic bag in the case with a winter design. Store & know where things are, they are clean protected and for what season. It works for me.

Sandy Moore-Furneaux on Aug. 2, 2014 at 5:53 p.m.

Find a local herper, herp society, or herp rescue group and donate them to them! They'll love you!

Rescue Coordinator
Oklahoma City Herpetological and Invertebrate Society

julie on Nov. 18, 2014 at 5:19 p.m.

One can use them at any store instead of plastic bags. Help to save the wildlife deaths from plastics.

Ruth McEwin on Jan. 18, 2015 at 10:32 p.m.

Anyone in or Near Adelaide South Australia - if you have pillow cases to spare - we need them at Zoos SA for Enrichment items for the Zoo animals. Just drop the clean pillow cases off at the Zoo - say they are for BEEZA and we will gratefully collect.
We are also after tiny cloth bags and large hession bags that have been used for food, chaff or coffee. Thank you. Ruth :) webchef007@gmail.com

MoBot on Feb. 12, 2016 at 6:29 p.m.

I use them to stuff blankets or bedspreads into. It keeps them clean in the closet and is similar in size to a sleeping bag, if you take them camping. I also use them to throw over a 5 gallon water bottle with pump when I go to multi-day festivals or camping excursions. It keeps the pump clean and if you use a flannel pillowcase, it protects from the Sun. http://www.amazon.com/Gallon-Water-Bottle-Hand-Pump/dp/B0014HZU3U

Brenda Holloway on May 10, 2016 at 9:53 p.m.

The following works well when you prefer to HOLD your cat when you visit the vet. Pull the open end of a pillow case (stretch knit cases work best) over the back of the cat's body and bring the open ends up just past the cat's neck. Place a rubber band (not tight - large enough rubber band to provide some slack around the neck) over the part of the case that covers the neck. Alternately, you can sew elastic near the open end of the pillow case. The cat can move his limbs but can't run away. You can hold and pet your cat in the waiting room without getting scratched and without the cat running if he is scared. If you use a rubber band, watch the tightness of the band. Good idea to practice this at home before using it for a trip to the vet.

Jackie on Aug. 16, 2016 at 11:36 a.m.

Wow! I am going to run right to my discard pile and grab back those pillow cases as you have given me at least 6 ideas I can use. Thank you! My favorite is using the bags in waste baskets. I have been trying to cut down on plastic bag use and would never have thought of that!!

Bere on Aug. 19, 2016 at 6:53 p.m.

I use them for storing sheet and towel sets. When I have guests staying overnight, all I need to do is grab one. You'll never have to deal with incomplete sets.

Kam Sahota-Middleton on Feb. 6, 2017 at 10:26 p.m.

Awesome ideas. Thank you. I love white bed sheets and with all of the beds we have I have collected many white pillow cases. I now have some fabulous ideas I would like to try. Wastebaskets, storing bedding for each bed but need to label them, storing shoes, laundry bags for travelling.. cheers Kam

Carol Harris on Feb. 17, 2017 at 8:13 p.m.

As per ideas seen on the net, I just used 4 pretty ones, with side edges sewn together so this formed four in a row, put a pillow in each and now have a slumber lounge or extra soft floor mattress for over night sleepovers.It was a great idea and took me 1/2 hr to make.

Diane Weissenberger on July 20, 2017 at 9:09 a.m.

I use pillowcases to line my kitchen trash can. We compost and recycle, so we rarely have "wet" trash in our kitchen can. All we do is carry the full pillowcase "liner" to the dumpster, dump into the can and throw it in the washer to be used again. Great!

drpvprabhakar on Dec. 19, 2018 at 8:18 a.m.

one can use them as storage covers for the suit cases of suitable size and keep them in the cupboards. They will not catch any dust . Keep few naphthalene balls in the suitcases.

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