Clean Clothes and Sheets

What to Do With Old Sheets

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As a prepper, you know the value of being prepared for any situation. Whether it’s a natural disaster, power outage, or societal unrest, having the right supplies can make a significant difference in your ability to weather the storm.

One often overlooked item in a prepper’s arsenal is old sheets. While you may be tempted to toss them out, there are several practical ways to repurpose old sheets.

A good thing about trying to recycle those old bed sheets stored in your linen closet is you don’t have to worry about thread count or other “quality” issues. Sheets seldom wear out, they may just get some stains or start to lose their color. Being able to reuse them can save you money, particularly if you can use them for other things you need.

Today, I want to talk about what to do with old sheets.

What to Do With Old Sheets

1. Emergency Shelter

When disaster strikes, having a reliable shelter is crucial. Old sheets can be transformed into makeshift tents or lean-tos, protecting us from the elements. By attaching the sheets to trees or other sturdy objects, you can quickly create a temporary shelter in a pinch. This can be especially useful if you’re forced to evacuate and need a quick solution while waiting for more permanent accommodations. What You Need in Your Evacuation Shelter Bags

2. Bedding for Temporary Guests

In emergencies, it’s not uncommon for friends or family members to seek refuge at your home. Having spare bedding available for these unexpected guests can help ensure their comfort. Old sheets can easily be turned into makeshift bedding by folding them and placing them on top of a mattress or as sleeping bag liners. This is especially true if the sheets happen to be flannel. A simple act of hospitality can go a long way in times of crisis. Tips for Taking Your Medication During a Crisis

3. Bandages and Dressings

In a survival scenario, access to medical supplies may be limited. Old sheets can be cut into strips as fabric scraps and used as bandages or dressings for minor wounds. Sterilizing the fabric and securing it tightly, you can provide temporary protection until proper medical attention is available. It’s important to note that this should not replace professional medical care, but can serve as a stop-gap measure in an emergency. First Aid Kits-What You Need To Survive

4. Filtering Water

Clean drinking water is essential for survival, and in a disaster situation, it may be in short supply. Old sheets can be used as a filtration system to remove sediment and impurities from water sources. Layering the fabric and pouring water through it, you can create a DIY filter that helps make water safer to drink. Remember, this method is not foolproof and should only be used as a last resort when no other options are available. Also remember, this approach doesn’t remove harmful bacteria or viruses. Strategies for Conserving Water in an Emergency

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5. Garden Mulch

As a prepper, you likely understand the importance of self-sufficiency and growing your food. Old sheets can be repurposed as garden mulch to help retain moisture, control weeds as a weed barrier and protect delicate plants from extreme temperatures. Simply cut the sheets into smaller pieces and lay them around your plants. This sustainable approach not only conserves resources but also promotes healthier plant growth. 10 Great Reasons To Try Raised Bed Gardening

6. Insulation

In colder climates or during power outages, maintaining warmth becomes crucial. Old sheets can be used as insulation to help retain heat in your home. By hanging sheets over windows as curtains and dropped over doorways, you can reduce drafts and conserve energy. Placing layers of fabric between walls or under carpets can provide extra insulation. This simple yet effective method can help keep you and your loved ones warm and comfy. What to Use for Insulation to Stay Warm

You can also use them as a temporary barrier from the cold by using them in exterior doorway thresholds where there may be gaps. This also applies to window frames that may not fit tight. Take some small pieces of the fabric and use a screwdriver blade to stuff them into the wider cracks.

7. Dust Covers

If you have valuable items such as electronics or tools, protecting them from dust and debris is essential. Old sheets can be repurposed as dust covers to shield your belongings. Drape the fabric over equipment or wrap it around fragile items, this can prevent damage caused by dust buildup. This is particularly useful for long-term storage or when working in dusty environments.

They can also be draped over your furniture to keep dust, dirt, and debris from collecting and possibly damaging the upholstery or leather.

8. Pet Bedding and Toys

If you have furry friends, as part of your preparedness plan old sheets can be repurposed as pet bedding. Cut the fabric into appropriate sizes and use them as cushioning for your pets’ beds or crates. This provides comfort for your pets and helps protect them from cold floors or rough surfaces. Having spare old bedding for your pets ensures their well-being during uncertain times. What to do With Your Pets in an Emergency

You can also repurpose those sheets into pet toys. Take strips of the sheets you’ve cut with your sharp scissors and then tie them into knots as a new dog toy. Your dogs will love to tug on them or return them as fetch toys.

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If your pets like sleeping in a crate or other animal shelter, consider using your old sheets to cover them when napping or for a good night’s sleep. In stressful situations, our pets like to know they are safe and well-protected.

9. Cleaning Rags

Keeping your living space clean and hygienic is crucial, especially in survival situations where access to cleaning supplies may be limited. Old sheets can be cut into smaller pieces and used as cleaning rags for various tasks. From wiping down surfaces to mopping up spills, the absorbent fabric of old sheets makes them ideal for household cleaning. Toss them in the wash after use, and they can be reused multiple times. How to Use Old Clothing for Emergency Preparedness

I find I use more paper towels than I’d like. Sheets that are cut into smaller pieces can be used in their place. They can also be used to make cloth napkins and dishcloths. Some time ago I wrote a post about making your own “personal cloths” to be used in place of feminine napkins each month.

If you have a small painting project planned, rather than purchase a fancy drop cloth, consider using an old sheet or two instead.

10. Crafting and DIY Projects

Old sheets can provide a source of inspiration for creative projects. From crafting homemade tote bags, pouches, reusable bags for shopping, and sewing clothing or patchwork quilts, the possibilities are endless. When you repurpose old sheets, you not only reduce waste but also tap into your creativity and resourcefulness. This can be a therapeutic and productive way to spend your time during emergencies or downtime. Modern Uses for Pinecones

Some other DIY ideas, particularly for your kids, would be to make some fun tents and play forts out of the sheets. In stressful situations, it’s great to let the young ones play and safely entertain themselves.

If you’re handy at sewing, you can use your sewing machine to make other DIY crafts including aprons, bed pillows and shams, picnic blankets, shower curtains, throw pillows, and rag rugs.

11. Donate the Sheets

Some people would be glad to put your old sheets to work. Your local homeless shelters are always looking for bedding they can put to use. Rather than throw the sheets away, put them in the bins at a recycling center. Some non-profits send used textiles overseas to be used in third-world countries to make rugs, clothing, and other useful items.

More Tips

Final Word

Don’t underestimate the value of old sheets as a prepper. Old sheets have the potential to be valuable prepper resources. Now that I’ve outlined what to do with old sheets, I’d love to hear what you do with your old sheets so I can share your ideas with my other readers. May God Bless this World, Linda

Copyright Images: Baby Sheets Depositphotos_48522075_S by Kitchbain, Clean Clothes and Sheets Depositphotos_460752396_S by TheFarAwayKingdom

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20 Comments

  1. Little sewing and the make decent deer hanging bags. Normally it’s a cheesecloth but we’ve used these before

  2. Sheets are greate for backings on quilts, too. When my husband was young, his family used them for quilt backings all the time. Alot cheaper than yardage fabric! It’s going for $14 – $16 a yard now and quilts take a good 4-5+ yards for backing…ouch! My sister lives in the Sacramento area and has a pool. In the summertime, she sets up a makeshift outdoor shower for rinsing off after swimming. She used PVC piping for the framework and set up a privacy screen with, you got it, old sheets! It works great!

  3. Great ideas! I would just caution on the idea of using them for insulation under carpet… a neighbor’s house caught fire( no one hurt, but took some repairs to be livable) when they found the cause– someone had used newspapers for insulation way before it was her house and a way later installation of under floor heating heated them over and over until they were like char cloth, then they caught fire easily. Another neighbor lost a house to fire due to a heater cord being run under a rug and overheating. Please everybody just stay safe!!!

    1. Hi Jan, portable heaters cause so many fires in Utah, they scare me if left unattended. Newspaper used to be used as insulation, yeah that would be a fire hazard for sure. Great tips! Linda

  4. So many uses for large pieces of cloth on a farm or homestead… First that comes to mind for me is bandages. Large animals don’t tend to get little wounds. Sheets can be folded to make large compresses, cut or torn to make long bandages–and they’re about the ONLY thing to make spider bandages for joints (never tried it, but I’d bet a spider bandage would work on a human knee or elbow as well).

    If you press cider or perry, a sheet makes a good pomace bag!

  5. This was fascinating to read. I’ve only thought about maybe four or five of the items on this list. I’m always so happy to find new ways to repurpose things. Your writing is clear and concise. Thank you for the info!

  6. Old sheets can be cut up into squares to be used as pee cloths when toilet paper becomes scarce. Save the paper stuff for number two.

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