Don’t Throw That Away!

First, find yourself a tall, clean garbage can, hamper (old or new), or other container big enough to hold a lot of worn-out towels, sheets, t-shirts, pillowcases, etc. Instead of throwing them away, recycle them! I’ve been building up a supply for probably over 25 years in an old hamper that belonged to my grandma and I’ve actually used them for an occasional water emergency. Then, because they are disposable at this point, you have the option of either washing them again or tossing them out, depending on the use. Whether you’ve decided to “bug-in” or have a “bug-out” location, you might want to have some old towels or sheets in times of crises. Here are some of the uses you might want to consider:


1. Cover windows for privacy or to block light (looking from inside out or outside in.)
towels_sheets2. Block door drafts. A heavier towel works better to block air coming in especially if the air is contaminated.
3. Cut towels to wash cloth size and use as washcloths, potholders, cleaning rags (for smaller messes) etc.
4. Cut up a bed sheet into smaller squares (around 6-7″ squares or whatever size you want) to clean a baby’s bottom or use as one-time rags when you’ve run out of TP. (For use with a portable potty, not meant to flush.) Hey, we’re talking survival here and it beats the pages of a mail-order catalog or foliage out in the woods.
5. Use a sheet or towel for a dog to sleep on.
6. Dishtowels
7. “Safe” place to hide valuables, food packets, etc.. When you create a “rag bag” – label the container as such. Then, hide some valuables or other survival necessities in the bottom and cover with old towels and sheets. A possible deterrent.
8. Thin towels or sheets: Make into place mats or dinner napkins for a quick clean-up after eating, especially for kids!
9. If you still have access to your car, keep some sheets / towels in the trunk to use on messy work under the car or hood; put on a picnic table wherever the road leads you; or put on the seat to gather wet sand, dirt, or dog hair.
10. Use for disposable menstrual pads (or at least, as liners for a pad.) Again, we’re talking survival situations, here. Think about it… what do you think women, generations past, used? For directions, go to: or do a search for other ideas. Remember this is when worse comes to worse. Keep them in a watertight bag. IF you choose to wash them after use, sun dry, if possible. Otherwise, sanitize them by boiling for at least 5 minutes. Completely dry. EVEN BETTER IDEA: STOCK UP ON THESE PERSONAL ITEMS RIGHT NOW or look into products like the Diva Cup, Keeper, or Moon Cup. Many women like using these even for normal, non-survival times. Others, do not, so try them out first. Don’t wait until there are no other options.
11. Sheets are easier to wash and dry than towels, so use and old sheet to line a sleeping bag. (Helps keep the sleeping bag cleaner – longer.)
12. Use a pillow case as a laundry bag or hold other pillow cases, sheets and towels if you have to bug-out quickly.
13. In a survival situation, who cares if your towels and sheets have some holes or stains? Use them as you would now.
14. Picnic blanket in the yard, in the house, anywhere you might think is safe.
15. Disposable or washable baby wipes.
16. Roll up a towel or sheet to use as a neck or back support.
17. A white surrender flag. (You may want to surrender over and over again! 🙂 Or, “throw in the towel!” Take your pick.
18. Make a “Need Help” sign for your yard, tucked into car doors, or other.
19. Torn into strips, you can make a headband if you’re hot and sweaty, a belt, or a blindfold. Can also be used like a bandana to cover your nose and mouth.
20. Packing material especially for breakables.
21. Wrap a towel or sheet around your hand to break a window and sweep away glass.
22. Creative fun for bored or scared children. Imagination is the key! A super-hero’s or magician’s cape. A mock blanket to snuggle. Make a tent. Individual mats for a reading area, and so much more.
23.  Medical Uses: stop a bleeding wound, use strips as a wrap to hold gauze in place, use as a splint or a triangle sling.
24. Towels: Use as an insulator if you’re trying to keep something hot.
25. A sheet or towel help when moving heavy furniture, large potted plants, or other objects. Just place under heavy object and drag it from one location to another.
26. Grab a sheet or large towels when you have to quickly gather things up – “grab & go” if boxes or bags aren’t available.
27. Soak up water from an over-flowing toilet, leaking hot water heater, or leaking emergency water bottles/containers.

NOTE: If you plan to reuse your towels or sheets, wash as well as you can and then hang them in a well-ventilated place to completely dry between uses to avoid mold or a smelly dampness – if your dryer is not available. Thick, heavier towels will be harder to wash and dry, but not impossible.


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