Make Zero Waste Reusable Cotton Pads from Recycled Towels!

Zero Waste Reusable Cotton Pads tutorial by thisblogisnotoforyou.comZero Waste Reusable Cotton Pads tutorial by thisblogisnotoforyou.comZero Waste Reusable Cotton Pads tutorial by thisblogisnotoforyou.comZero Waste Reusable Cotton Pads tutorial by

Reducing waste with ecoconscious DIYs

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this little Sunday morning project! I’ve been trying to incorporate more and more Zero Waste strategies in our daily routine and be more conscious about waste reduction in my shopping decisions. Talking to my friend the other day, I told her that I’d heard about washable cotton pads and whether that wasn’t a bit too out-there to try. She laughed and said she just bought some on Amazon the other day and loved them. I loved the simplicity of the idea but was shocked how much money a bunch of terrycloth cotton pads cost online.

This is why I made my own recycling an old white towel. This was so simple and easy, it’s absolutely mind-blowing. I never thought of this before seeing the ready-made ones in shops. And you know what? You can make your own, too! Here’s how simple it is:

Materials: old towel or wash cloth, organza bag, scissors, overlocker & thread (or zigzag stitch)
Duration: 5 Minutes
Costs: Zero
Benefits: no waste, no more costs, recycling old materials

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As you can see, you need just very few materials for this project. By the way, if you do not have an overlocker, you can also use a simple zigzag stitch on your machine to keep the fabric from fraying. It’s a bit slower, but works just as well.

First, I cut off the woven edges of my towel. This is really optional. If you’re feeling a bit lazy and don’t mind looks too much, you can keep them and save yourself some overlocking time of those edges. The fastest way to do the overlocking is by cutting long strips of your towel and overlock these before cutting them into smaller rectangles. Finish all four sides and you’re done! It’s that easy.

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You will need a little organza or cotton bag to put the used pads in. Just let them sit in the bag and throw it in with your next wash. The bag also keeps the pads together in the washing machine. I found a cute wooden tray (IKEA) to put my new cotton pads in and it looks really pretty in the bathroom now! You could also just use a little box or porcelain plate to keep them together and keep them clean. Just as your towels, you can wash these with up to 95°C. If you use them dry on your clean skin, you can also use them to exfoliate.

This was just a whole 35€ cheaper than my friend’s alternative from Amazon and she got just 7 pads in total. I made about 50 and will give some away as my mum and sister are also keen to try this. Nice, right?

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What do you think? Do you feel like this could be something you might want to try? Do you have other suggestions for zero waste DIYs? Please let me know!



Happy sewing!


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14 thoughts on “Make Zero Waste Reusable Cotton Pads from Recycled Towels!

  1. I have made my own small face cloths for years. Mine are about 2 times larger than yours. I make them from any used terry cloth so that they exfoliate, I also make body wash cloths from used flannel items. I make my cleaning rags from every kind of used fabrics. I serge cleaning rags in red to show that they are those, I make coffee mug pads and drink pads and small napkins from various fabrics. I serge those to match the fabrics.

    1. Thanks so much for these suggestions, Mary! I’m mindblown by colour-coding the rags with different colour thread, although it’s such a simple idea! I will definitely try these as we still often buy cleaning wipes we throw away after a couple of uses. This is so much better! Thank you!x

  2. I have also used worn towels to make small sweat cloths at the gym, and kichen hand towels. I used biased binding to stop frayed edges and as an opportunity to practise mitre edging.
    I also practised using different stitches on my machine including lettering.

    1. That’s a cool idea! I always try to avaid bias binding as much as possible as it’s so fiddly. I admire your determination there!

  3. I use a squirt bottle to rinse first, then use cotton pads. Also made table napkins for every day use. A few pretty ones are guest towels. Keep some color coded ones in the kitchen to wipe up floor spills. Indoor cleaning cloths and outdoor cleaning cloths have different colored overcast. No more paper towels in the kitchen! I use large net bags to collect and wash them. Thrift stores are an inexpensive source of towels.

  4. I was just thinking that I was running low on cotton pads for eye makeup remover and not wanting to buy more… this is genius, and I already have an old towel I can carve up to make them. Love love love! With the holidays coming up they would make a nice stocking stuffer!

  5. The idea is great. I also often change old clothes and give them a new life. Let me use your idea and suggest to my readers on the blog in Poland. I threw out so many towels. Thank you for such a great idea.

  6. Nice idea! If you are lazy you can buy ready to use one. I recommed reusable cotton pads from EcoPanda brand. They come with nice looking bamboo storage jar, pads are made of oeko-tex standard 100 certified fabric.

  7. Fab idea. I made mine from an old towel and added a square the same size from an old cotton pillowcase with a funky pattern on so now they look pretty on one side too. I also made a little mesh bag from a net curtain offcut that I keep the used ones on so they all.get washed together and don’t go wandering off in the washing machine. Going to make some more as presents for Christmas and make a little zippered pouch to gift them in with a mesh bag for washing in each one too.

  8. I was going to just hand sew an edge and keep them in recycled jars for toner and make up removal just ran out of cotton pads and folding laundry was getting ready to throw a ragged towel into rag bin am going to try this.. I don’t have a sewing machine so any tips on hand sewing an edge to prevent fraying would be helpful thanks

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