What to Do With Old Leggings?

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Leggings, in general, do not last very long. They either wear out, lose their elasticity, or become torn. While your first thought might be to chuck them away, repurposing them would be a better option for the environment. So, what can you do with your old leggings?

What to Do With Old Leggings?

There are a number of things you can do with your old leggings that will give them a new life. Instead of throwing away your used leggings, get creative and repurpose them as headbands, hair ties, or knee-high socks. You can also use parts of it as a shoe dust bag, cleaning clothes, or a replacement elastic.

You do not have to be proficient at stitching to reuse your leggings, though sewing the edges will produce neater results. Most of these things can be made very easily by cutting the tights at precise locations. Below we elaborate on why converting your old tights into the following items is a good practice.

A woman with brown hair wears a pink headband and black turtleneck shirt while sitting near a brick wall

Make Headbands

According to statistics, around 85% of all textiles discarded in the US either end up in landfills or are burned. This is equal to tons of waste each year that leads to catastrophic environmental impact.

Therefore, instead of throwing away your old leggings, convert them into headbands. The stretchy and lightweight material of the leggings is ideal for keeping your hair off your face. Moreover, patterned, colorful tights can make the most beautiful headbands.

You can simply cut a one to two inches wide headband or cut your leggings in broad strips to make a braided headband.

Tip: You can also cut the tights into thinner strips and ask your kids/younger siblings to make friendship bracelets by braiding the strips.

Make Hair Ties

Hair ties are notorious for disappearing, and most of us buy them on repeat. Here is where your old black leggings come in.

Cut the cuffs of your leggings and use them to tie your hair. Since the fabric of the leggings does not unravel, you can also cut more strips to create multiple hair ties.

Make Knee-High Socks

Another thing you can make with your old leggings is a pair of knee-high socks, especially if only the top part of the leggings is damaged. However, this upcycle requires simple stitching skills to close the ends off.

Knee-socks pair well with knee-high boots and a sleek mini skirt. You can also wear them during winter as an additional layer under your bottoms.

Use Them to Store Shoes

If your leggings are beyond wearing in any form, you can use them to store shoes. The protective covering will prevent dust and debris from collecting in the crevices of your footwear and keep them in pristine condition.

Moreover, the soft fabric of the leggings will not rub against your shoes and cause damage, especially when you are carrying them in your luggage. This will help ensure that both your pairs remain together at all times.

A person wearing a silver bracelet is holding a blue bottle of window cleaner and white cloth near a glass window

Use Them as Cleaning Clothes

Most leggings are a blend of synthetic materials that are not biodegradable and do not decompose. However, these fabrics are very efficient at cleaning screens.

Hence, you can cut up your old black leggings in squares and keep them handy around the house for dusting your TV or computer screens and other surfaces.

Use the Elastic as a Replacement

Good quality leggings have robust elastics that do not break even after the fabric has worn out. Thus, you can extract the elastic from the waistband and use it in other bottoms with broken elastics.

Since it comes from your leggings, it will be the perfect size for your waist.

Tips on What to Do With Old Leggings

TipsWhat to do
Tip 1Make headbands
Tip 2Make hair ties
Tip 3Make knee-high socks
Tip 4Use them to store shoes
Tip 5Use them as cleaning clothes
Tip 6Use the elastic band as a replacement

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Leg Warmers Out of Old Leggings?

Yes, you can make leg warmers out of old leggings. Cut the bottom part of the old leggings a length that covers the area around your knee down to the ankle, making sure that the lengths are equal on both leg warmers.

Use a sewing machine or a needle with thread to sew the edges.

How Do I Turn My Leggings Into a Top?

You can turn your leggings into a top very easily. Start by folding your leggings in half. Smooth out any creases, take your scissors, and cut out a small round hole at the top of the inseam.

This will be your neckline, while each leg of the leggings will become your sleeves.

What Can I Do With Leggings That Are Too Small?

If your legging is too small, you can stretch them out using the following methods: Gently stretch your leggings while damp and use weights to hold them in the stretched-out state until they dry out completely.

Put on the damp leggings and keep wearing them until they dry out so they mold to your body dimensions. Soak them in a mix of baby shampoo and cold water to soften the fabric and cause it to relax.

How to wear leggings + how to find good quality ones ǀ Justine Leconte


Leggings tend to deteriorate quickly, so it is better to upcycle or repurpose them instead of disposing of them off and contributing to environmental waste. You can easily turn them into chic accessories or use them as a handy tool. All you need is a little bit of creativity and imagination.