Girl in bed

What to do with old bedding

You’ve bought some lovely new bedding. Perhaps a new duvet to snuggle up in over the winter months; or a new duvet cover and pillow cases to replace the set that was becoming worn with use. Perhaps you just fancied a change. But what can you do with the old bedding instead of throwing it away?

Surely there must be more environmentally friendly ways of disposing old bedding, rather than just dumping it in the bin or taking it to the local tip to end up in landfill. I’m sure most of us have been guilty of doing this at some point!

What alternatives are there? We’re increasingly becoming more environmentally conscious, so it’s important to reuse and recycle wherever we can.

In this blog, I am going to provide you with options for recycling old bedding, as well as ideas for re-using and re-purposing old bedding. Here’s how you can play your part in making a difference.

Where can old bedding be recycled?

  1. Find out if your local council collects old bedding and bed linen to be recycled. Many local council’s kerbside collections will accept textiles for recycling. You will need to check what is allowed where you live. Go to your local council’s website to check.
  2. Drop off your unwanted items at local recycling points and clothing and textile banks in supermarkets and local council car parks. Some councils are innovative in terms of what they recycle and will accept old duvets which they will be used for energy recovery (for example, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority).

There’s a really useful website by Recycle Now  to help guide you. You can search by where to recycle and pass on your unwanted items for re-use by a specific item e.g. Textiles. You’ll then be given different textile options (clothing, household linens and shoes & bags) then input your postcode and the options for recycling nearby will appear.

Do not fly tip any textile items near recycling centres. Check that the items you would like to dispose of will be accepted first. It is possible old bed linen would be accepted, but duvets and pillows would not. Please check first.

  1. If you have an old feather filled duvet or pillow case, you could put the inner contents (feathers) into your compost bin as they will, over time, biodegrade down into mulch. Please note the external fabric and any buttons and labels will not be biodegradable. You will need to remove these and dispose of these elsewhere.

Can old bedding be re-used by others?

  1. You might also wish to donate items to charity and re-use organisations either in-store or using bags that come through the door. The Charity Retail website will help you find your nearest charity shop. Some charity shops will accept clean duvets and bedding. If you plan on donating in-store, please check first that they will accept what you’d like to donate. Don’t just dump the items in bin liners and leave outside the shop.
  2. If you have an old duvet that is new or very lightly used, you could pass it on to friends or family. You could even try and sell it or offer it for free on a website such as Freecycle or Shpock.
  3. Local animal rescue charities or animal shelters often take donations of duvets, pillows, blankets and towels. Local vets sometimes do as well. You can search online to find your nearest. The RSPCA is a good starting point.
  4. Local shelters for the homeless may be grateful for donations of duvets, bed linen and blankets. You can search online to find your nearest.
  5. Old duvets make great bedding for pets, who really won’t mind if an old duvet is a bit shabby. If you do not have a pet of your own, ask your pet owners friends if they can make use of it.

IMPORTANT: It goes without saying that you will need to check your items would be accepted before donating, as many organisations will not accept old duvets or pillows. If you don’t check, they will then have the headache of disposing the items instead of you and it would go to landfill.

Other ways to put old bedding to good use – re-purposing / up-cycling

There are many ways you can be creative to re-use unwanted bedding items in your own home. Your old items can still spark joy in your home by finding a re-purpose for them.

  1. You can use the filling from old duvets to stuff cushions and stuff toys. You can give them a new lease of life by re-stuffing them. You could even use them to make a draft excluder.
  2. Old sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases can be cut up and used as cleaning cloths. After all, this is what generations before us used to do “in the olden days”.
  3. Old towels make excellent cleaning cloths as well. They’re also very useful for mopping up water should you have a flooding incident in the home.
  4. Use old sheets as garden protection. An old sheet is a great way to protect your plants on a cold winter’s night.
  5. Reuse pillows and old duvets as a pet bed. Your bedding may be too old for you, but your pet is sure to love it. If you don’t have a pet, ask one of your pet owner friends if their pet(s) would like this. You’ll probably find they’ve never thought of this.
  6. Give an old sheet to your pet. They’ll love having something that smells of you and they can cuddle up in it. This is really helpful for any animals suffering from anxiety.
  7. Keep some old bed sheets in a drawer for building dens and forts. This is great fun for kids on a rainy day. I have fond memories of doing this as a child.
  8. Save your old bed sheets for use as a picnic blanket or to sit on when watching your child play cricket. You can also use them when camping or to cover a table when eating al fresco.
  9. If you are good with a needle and thread, you can reuse patterned fabrics to make blankets, cushion covers, and even reusable shopping bags from a pillow case. (I’m hopeless, so I’m in awe of anyone who can do this.
  10. Use old sheets to protect surfaces and objects when redecorating the house. They’re much easier to manoeuvre than the horrible plastic sheets you can buy to do the same thing. More environmentally friendly as well. I have some old throws from my student days that I use for this at home. They work wonders and I’m still using them some 2o years or so later.
  11. Use an old white sheet or duvet cover as a projector screen for watching movies or a sporting event. This can be used inside the home or in the garden. You could have your own outdoor cinema evening with friends.
  12. Use old bed sheets for children’s activities such as painting or arts and crafts to protect your flooring and furniture.

Linen Quarter’s bedding

All of our fitted sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases are made from 100% organic cotton. Organic cotton is biodegradable, which means you can simply put your old Linen Quarter bed linen into your composting pile or bin once it has become too worn and old. For the fitted sheets, you will just need to remember to remove the elastic and labels and dispose of these separately. For the duvet covers you will need to snip the buttons off and remove the labels; for the pillow cases you will need to snip off the labels. To minimise space in a compost bin, cut up the sheets into smaller pieces and add them over time. It’s as simple as that. Buying organic cotton means you are already making a difference.


Hopefully we have provided you with alternatives to increasing the world’s landfill with your old bedding. There are many ways you can put them to good use by reusing and recycling them. You can feel proud knowing that you are doing your bit to look after the environment we all live in. Be part of making a difference! And remember, when your buy Linen Quarter’s bed linen, it’s biodegradable, so you will not need to explore ways to be more environmentally friendly.

If you have any creative ways you have reused your old bedding, please let me know.

Thanks for reading

Sara x

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