top of page

Saving Cotton Shirts and Pillows

There are some items that we see a lot of at Intercept.

There are oodles of lovely cotton shirts suffering from underarm and collar damage. Once the good material is harvested and laundered, there are lots of cool things to be made with them.

A couple of ways that we upcycle them here are these great skirts by Jenny

and with the leftovers from those - baby's bibs, by Anne


If you're local to us and want to try your hand at patchwork, bunting, soft toys or have other ideas for 100% cotton - please contact us, we have enough to share!

We have a survey for people to fill out that would give us a good idea of your fabric needs.

Another of our great rescue stories was invented by Carmen, who saw so many pillows heading for the landfill and felt she had to do something!

(I feel like publishing a media release on how to wash pillows, as I feel people just go out and buy new ones instead. My method is at the end of the post - feel free to copy and share.)

Some of the pillow and duvet inners rescued by Carmen

Carmen takes white (damaged) cotton linens and makes them into new covers for the rescued pillow stuffing. She's made over 100 so far! That's a lot of fibre kept out of the landfill, but the other good part is that they are swooped up by families from the facility where we send a lot of rescued clothing and bedding to be distributed to the community.

Rescued pillows - now useful again

Some of the pillows are sold in the Whangarei Salvation Army Family Store too, plus some that are remade as cushion inners.

Look what Jenny has made with one of these inners to go in the Intercept shop with delightful rescued vintage table linen.

Anne's method of washing pillows

If you have a bath, you can wash several at once, otherwise a large laundry tub or baby's bath will work.

Dissolve approx 1/4 -1 cup of sodium percarbonate in really hot water (amount depends on the size of your tub). This can be bought in bulk from Bin Inn, if you are in NZ. It is an ingredient in nappy soak powders, so you could also use this.

Fill your bath/ tub with enough warm water to cover the pillows, turning them and getting them sodden. Leave them overnight, or at least several hours. Drain, then rinse by covering with cold water and pressing them. Drain and repeat. Leave to drain again and when they are no longer full of water, transfer to your washing machine. Put them on drain and spin, then hang them on your clothesline, out in the sun. Any yellowing and marks will be cleaned up in the sunlight.

As always, if you are in Whangarei, NZ and would like to volunteer with Intercept - we would welcome you, in whatever capacity you might be able to offer your help.

76 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page