Old pillows are hard to recycle. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of DIY projects and upcycles that use them!
It’s time to switch out your pillow. Again. It’s lumpier than a sack of dead mice, you’re not too sure how it became that
color and it’s a pain in the neck, literally. You’ve been waking up with neck pain from it. But while it may not be fit for bedtime any longer, don’t be too hasty with throwing out your pillow. Experts say you should replace your pillow every six months
, so knowing how to reuse your old pillow will help cut back on a lot of waste. From draft stoppers to Halloween costumes, you’ll be surprised by what you can do with an old pillow.
Remember to wash
Before you reuse your pillows, make sure to wash them. They can accumulate oil, dirt and dust. You can just throw them in the washing machine, even though it seems like they may come out a sopping, ruined mess. A good method comes from the blog Life the Green Way
. Wash pillows in hot water, add a half-cup of white vinegar (nature’s all-purpose cleaning wonder) and wash/rinse on a normal cycle. Dry on low to medium heat.
Make new pillows
Often an old pillow will be stained and look gross, so harvesting the pillow for its fluff is a good way to reuse it in many cases. You can cut the pillow open and pull out the fluff to use in new pillow sewing projects. This would be great for decorative pillows, which don’t have to be the most comfortable for lying on. That way, it doesn’t matter if the fluff isn’t exactly the freshest.
There’s a whole world of DIY decorative pillows out there. And you can go full bore on upcycling. Cut out your old favorite t-shirt, sew it into a pillow shape and stuff it with old pillow stuffing
. Use old pillow stuffing and pillowcases in these tied, huggable pillows
. Grab an old sweater out of the closet, and make this classy sweater pillow
. This is the perfect opportunity to reuse your old pillow and clean out the closet.
Breathe new life into stuffed toys
It’s the fate of many a much-beloved stuffed toy: Eventually, the seams will probably wear out, stuffing will come loose and your child’s favorite friend will need a trip to the toy ER stat. Or the stuffing will lose its texture over the years, and you’ll end up with a deflated toy pal. You can use your old pillow to give these toys a stuffing transfusion with the most basic of sewing skills. There’s a great tutorial for fixing stuffed toys here
Make new dolls and toys
There are thousands of doll and stuffed animal DIY projects out there that require stuffing. If you’re the sewing and artsy type, this may be a great hobby to pursue. In addition to reusing stuffing, you can reuse other fabrics, as well. Or try using sustainable cotton. This could truly be a fun, sustainable pastime to fill the weekend with. And who knows, maybe your projects can sell at craft fairs. Plus, they’ll make perfect gifts as the holidays start creeping up on us. You can find a directory of doll and plush toy projects here
Use the stuffing for Halloween costumes
With Halloween quickly approaching, it’s a great time to have some stuffing lying around from pillows. There are so many costumes out there that require stuffing. For instance, this no-sew spider web costume takes tube socks and stuffing
. This adorable kids pumpkin costume requires stuffing
. There are also costumes like this elephant getup
that require stuffing in the truck. The possibilities are endless.
Reuse pillows in other parts of the house
Just because you wouldn’t necessarily sleep on it doesn’t mean you can’t use the pillow in other parts of the house. Need something to protect your knees in the garden? Just pull out the pillow. Want a cushion for sitting on the floor in other parts of the house, say, while watching a movie? Old pillows.
Pillows would especially make great additions to play areas. Kids can use them to make pillow forts and feature them in whatever wild imaginary game they’ve created this week. Maybe this week your old pillow is a rocket ship.
Repurpose the pillow for your pet
Pillows can be used to keep furry friends comfortable or even entertained. For instance, the easiest thing to do is just toss the pillow on the floor. Your pet probably isn’t too picky. For instance, our dogs curl up on smaller decorative couch pillows they dragged down onto the floor when no one was around, despite the large Tempur-Pedic dog bed we have in the room (no nice things for us).
Here is where reusing pillow stuffing could come in handy, as well. There is a great tutorial on a no-sew pet bed here
. Just substitute the batting with the salvaged stuffing from your old pillow. Then there’s also this classic sweater pet bed that is all over Pinterest
. It only needs an old pillow and a sweater, with a little sewing required. Your pet may even like homemade beds better because they smell like you.
You can also find tons of homemade dog toy tutorials, like this no-sew heart dog toy
. It calls for using fleece as the stuffing, but you can also use the stuffing from old pillows. Just make sure to supervise your pet when giving them stuffing-filled toys.
When in doubt, you can also donate pillows to animal shelters or rescue groups. They could use pillows to keep the animals comfy.
Protect against drafts
Doors starting to get drafty this time of year? This project
uses stuffing and old socks to stop under-door drafts. The craft even calls for dried popcorn to keep the draft stopper weighted down. Basically, you just put popcorn in the socks, add the stuffing and attach the socks together with needle and thread or fabric glue. Easy!