a laptop, phone, and books on top of a white carpet

Repurpose, Reuse: A New Life for Your Old Carpets

You’re typically left with plenty of scrap material after replacing something that’s broken or old. You throw out an item if no amount of fixing can save it. But what if this material was just old but still in perfect working condition?

You repurpose it. You find creative ways to recycle it because it’d be a waste of perfectly good resources if you were to throw it away. The same principle applies to carpets that are made from synthetic and natural fiber. You can reuse old carpets because they’re durable and versatile. And you can find many uses for them in your home.

More Than Just Covering Floors

The easiest way to reuse carpets is to make an entirely new one. You can cut strips from several old ones, sew them together, and create a new area rug. It can even inspire you to design your own floor coverings instead of buying pricey pieces.

You can also make coasters out of smaller scraps of old rugs. They keep liquid from spilling onto the surface and they’re great at absorbing liquids. Or you can repurpose these scraps as rags. The scratchy surface of a carpet is perfect for cleaning tough grimes on your sink and bathroom tiles.

Another way to repurpose your old carpets is to build them into scratching posts for your cats. Get a thick piece of wood and wrap your old carpet around it. Fasten the ends together, and make sure its wound tight.

You can make the most of an entire carpet by using smaller pieces as furniture cushion. You can place them under the legs of your sofa or table so that when you avoid scratching bare floors when moving them around. Repurposing your old floor covering this way would be helpful if you live in an apartment building with poor acoustics; you don’t have to disturb the tenants below your floor when rearranging your furniture.

Another creative way you can use your old rug is by sewing it over the worn covers of your ottoman. The rag’s colorful or graphic design can add a whole new aesthetic to your furniture.

But before you do any repurposing or reusing, make sure you’ve prepped your carpet.

Recycling Old Rugs 101

Vacuuming a dirty carpet in house

You need to have your carpet cleaned. Carpets can trap dirt and debris, so it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. These irritants can cause allergies and deteriorate the material further. A thorough cleaning will also improve the smell of the carpet. After years of use, it’s only natural for the floor covering to take on a variety of scents. This is especially true when you have pets or kids.

Next, decide what you need. Does your cat need a new scratching post? Or do you need a new cover for your ottoman? Think about the purpose for recycling your carpet to determine which ones you can reuse or repurpose. Carpets come in different textures; some may be better as decorative elements while others would be more useful for soundproofing.

Every year, Americans throw away about 4 billion pounds of carpet. Although they represent 3.5 percent of waste materials that end up on landfills, reducing discarded carpets can still help. You not only help save the environment, but you save on costs, too.

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