T-shirt Rags

posted by Andrea | 10/30/2010

The other day, in the middle of one of my speed-cleaning sessions, I pulled a rag from our “rag basket” and realized we could probably use a few new ones. We had lots of “holey” rags, stained rags, dirty and grimy rags — it wan’t pretty!

I guess I just figure, they are rags…and I should use them until I can’t use them anymore, right?  At least I’m not using rolls and rolls of papertowel {see, I’m “going green”!!}

However, while many of you might head to the store to purchase a new set of rags, I went down to our bedroom and pulled out a few old t-shirts from my dresser drawer…

Yes, you heard me right — I get our rags from my dresser drawer!

In my opinion, t-shirts make some of the best cleaning rags. They are so soft, lint-free, AND cost-free! Plus, it’s a great incentive to clear some of the clutter from your closets and/or dressers!

So how to you make a t-shirt rag?

Easy! All you have to do is choose a t-shirt that has no screen printing on the back side. Then simply cut up the sides and around the arms. Then chop off the neck and the bottom. {for those of you who need a pattern, simply follow the dotted line!}

You can trash your t-shirt “remains” OR, you can cut a 12″x12″ square out of the fronts and use them to make a t-shirt quilt. {I have about 14 shirt-fronts; when I get to 16, I’m making a quilt…hopefully!}

Go Calvin College 🙂

OK, back to the rags:

Do I cut them perfectly each time?


Do I need a pattern so they are all the same size?


Do they still work to wipe up messes?


Are they MUCH prettier than plain white, store-bought rags?


So Pretty!

Then, once you have your new rags, you can go ahead and start cleaning your home, your fridge, your car, or whatever else is on your list the week.

Happy cleaning!


Filed under: LifeCleaning

Leave a comment


  1. L.L.


    I have like, about 8 t shirts and I wear them all. all. Where is a good place to get free t shirts or t shirts that cost no mote than $3? Goodwill here sells them for $4 which seems expensive to buy for rags!


    Rochelle Reply:

    Try asking at good will about the ones that are donated but not good enough to be sold. I did an internship at a clothing/food bank. Lots of times t-shirts weren’t put out because of the graphics or language on them, or they had a a burn hole in them. If they don’t have any available when you go ask if there is a specific time they stop sorting for the day and would be tossing the junk stuff. I myself don’t like our local Good Wills. They are crazy expensive.


  2. Money-Saving Tips for Spring Cleaning


    […] about to rip a t-shirt Hulk-style, simply grab a pair of scissors and cut it up for more original-looking rags than store-bought […]

  3. 12 (More) Why Didn’t I Think of That? Tips | Positively Splendid {Crafts, Sewing, Recipes and Home Decor}


    […] achieve glistening windows than with newspaper and a simple solution of vinegar and water.eleven. Make Cleaning Rags from Old T-Shirts @ Simple Organized Living Another great green cleaning idea to minimize waste: instead of […]

  4. Debbie


    Old T-shirts and especially old sweat shirts work great to make Swiffer sweeper cloths…..just cut size to match the disposable cloths (I usually cut a little bigger), then pop them onto the sweeper and when done cleaning, wash, dry, reuse!!!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Good idea Debbie — thanks for sharing!


  5. Liz E.


    You can call me crazy (it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard it! =D) but when I have cut up t-shirts for rags before I have been known to sew the cut edge (where the seam of the shoulder/arm pit area was cut) to make a “pocket” — leaving the pre-sewn edge open, obviously. This pocket is useful to slip over your hand and do quick dusting wipe-ups along furniture, baseboards, chair railing, etc. Then just toss it in the wash!


  6. Amanda


    My dad uses my old cloth diapers to shine his shoes. 🙂


  7. Debra Kapellakis


    I started doing this a few years ago. I was hoping no one would think I was weird. It is relief to see someone else doing it. lol thank you for sharing


  8. Jacqueline


    I LOVE this idea.
    I also use old white socks. I keep them in an empty cat litter bucket. There are always plenty, easy to use with bleach for nasty messes, and no problem to throw away when done. We always wind up with more old socks.


  9. Amy @ Positively Splendid


    There is nothing better than using something old in a useful way! I shared this idea in a round-up of great tips on my blog today. Thanks for the inspiration! http://www.positivelysplendid.com/2012/03/12-more-why-didnt-i-think-of-that-tips.html


  10. Candi May


    My mom always used Daddy’s old (but thoroughly clean) underwear to dust with. Same material.


  11. Chris


    I have also seen an old t-shirt made into a scarf. You cut the t-shirt across right below the arms, So you have a rectangular tube. Then you cut into the t-shirt like you do for a fleece blanket, I haven’t tried it yet but sounds like it would be a soft scarf.


    Andrea Reply:

    hmmm… I might have to try this too. It sounds like it could be a really cute way to re-purpose old t-shirts [and we have a lot of them around here!]


  12. Donna


    I am always surprised at how many people do not have rags. I don’t know what people do with all those old tshirts and towels — throw them away???? I haven’t made mine pretty like you suggested, but next time maybe I’ll get out the scissors instead of tearing them up 🙂


  13. Tiffany @ Home Grown Families


    And I just put a bunch of shirts in the bag to be donated…
    Thanks for the diagram. I need diagrams!


  14. Lona


    You would not do that with a Calvin shirt. I’m shocked. =O


    Andrea Reply:

    The Calvin shirt is for my t-shirt quilt…not for a rag! However, I did use the back of that shirt for a rag 🙂


    Lona Reply:

    Whew! I was worried… 🙂