How can I reuse or recycle wire coat hangers?

wire_hanger.jpgWe’ve covered the nasty cheap plastic good-for-little coat hangers you get given (usually whether you want them or not) at clothes stores but Elizabeth Phelan wants to know about other types:

I have lots of wire hangers and nicer quality plastic hangers (not the ones they give you from the retail stores). Do you know where I can take them to have them recycled or reused?

I’d see if the local charity shops could use the better quality ones and I’d keep some wire ones around the house for those emergency prodding and poking situations that require a sturdy bit of thin wire – but that wouldn’t be suitable for Elizabeth’s “lots”.

So any suggestions? Elizabeth lives in Northern California so location specific recycling points would be great – but if you know somewhere outside that locale, feel free to add it in case it’s of use for someone else.

(Photo by Capgros)

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39 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle wire coat hangers?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    Make a water-witching (dowsing) tool. Take two coat-hangers and bend into 90 degrees, making one “arm” twice as long as the other. Works great and even a novice can do this!

  2. Delusion says:

    Use them to make funky mobiles and wind chimes :)

    Or wrap the frame in material (stretchy tights material is good for this) and fill with herbs etc that have past their sell by date – walla! Instant “air freshner” for your cupboard.

    Ok so this will get rid of ONE but you could make one for every cupboard…and for your friends :P

  3. stpolly says:

    You can take them to the dry cleaners and they will reuse them.

  4. fuchsoid says:

    They make good frames for seasonal wreaths of dried flowers or leaves. Or (if you were in Britain), for the dreaded Blue Peter Advent crown.

    I can second the suggestion of dowsing rods – the bent wires work best if you put the end you are holding into an old plastic pen tube. This lets them rotate freely and allows you to reuse two things at once.

    • Anonymous says:

      Never knew there were two people so stupid as to believe in water witching. This is 2011–no longer the dark ages.

      • Anonymous says:

        A-hole it is real they are devining rod’s ……if you believe in god … you believe in satan ……satans demons controll those

      • Anonymous says:

        next they’ll try to get you to believe the earth has a magnetic field! stupid is as stupid does.

  5. Karlie says:

    If you have enough, you could use the wire to make a trellis frame for climbing plants. You might even come up with a design that doesn’t require you to un-twist the hangers.

  6. paperlady says:

    Elizabeth, call your city or county sanitation or recycling department. Here in southeastern U.S. we have recycling centers that accept certain types of plastic and metals. Some will even pay a small amount for metals! Good luck.

  7. Alex Gogan says:

    My gran used to always knit around them in wool and then they were brilliant (still have loads of them in great condition). The added benefit was they didn’t mark the shirts the way the wire hangers on their own did.

  8. jamie smith says:

    how can i reuse a coat hanger i thort to my self, hmmmmmmmm
    i know i can use it to scratsh the fungus in my hairy but crack!

  9. Carlos Z says:

    use them as thingys to put marshamllows on and make smores

    • Alex says:

      Good lord, don’t use a metal coat hanger for this! Who knows what kind of coating they put on them so they don’t rust. That will evaporate onto your marshmallow and you’ll eat it. Not good for you…

  10. Tony Williams says:

    I once used one in combination with a bit of piping and some cardboard to rescue my girlfriend’s gold ring from a closed recycling bin she happened to lose it in.

    They also make really good paint stirrers when you’re decorating the house.

    But I have so far failed to find a use for the other couple of hundred I have cluttering my house. I suppose some kind of deranged sculpture would also be possible.

  11. Kara says:

    I use wire coat hangers to make wings! Cut off hook, bend the rest to desired shape, cover with interesting hosiery or tights. They make good lampshade and candle holder forms, too.

  12. I am looking for wire hangers for an art project.
    If you give me yours, that could be nice way of recycling them.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Nyla Vollmer says:

      My husbacnd received his uniforms weekly from a uniform company and they don’t want the hangers back. I have lots.
      I would love an idea to use them. Willing to share with anyone!

  13. I work for a company called Wannabeco. We have worked with UK dry-cleaners to design a paperboard replacement called the Becohanger. It is made from recycled card and paper material and is totally biodegradable. We supply these to dry-cleaners for free because we sell space on the hanger to brand sponsors. Do take a look… All the best Alex.

  14. matchbookhymnal says:

    I bent mine into a toilet paper holder. It’s heart-shaped. You can also bend them into other shapes to use as trellises for small vine plants.

    We use them to unclog drains and toilets as well, but that is a less glamorous use. :)

    You can bend them into pegboard hooks. You can even do customized shapes for different tools.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Insert them in a money plant pot n let the creeper grow on them, join more of them n change the patterns across the walls..

  16. PainChaud says:

    I guess one could bring them to a metal recycling place.

  17. Steve says:

    TV Aerial

  18. fashion frenziie says:

    the metal hangers could have been taken to the scrap metal places… also u could make sculptures,, fashion hangers by pimpin the wire hangers n much more you can get various info from google on what to do will ur old hangers…x


  19. Lauren says:

    Children’s consignment sales only use metal hangers and I am always searching for metal hangers during these times of the year. You could donate them to these sales. They are usually held in the spring and fall. To find one in your area search this website…

  20. Nigel says:

    Wire coat hangers can be used for so many things.

    Cut into 6 inch lengths and form S shapes butchers hooks. Make sure you cut the metal at 90 degrees to prevent cuts.
    Keep one inside your car in case you loose your keys if u cannot get in with it a passer by may well be able to.

    In the garden use lengths to brace or scarf wood together hold in place with fence staples or make your own staples
    out of the hangers!

    Bend a few together to make a round flat mesh and you can use it as a simmer plate to go under your saucepan or a steamer to go into your wok (wash them first!)

    wrap a piece of straightened wire around a thick screwdriver and you have a good coil spring I have used these as sleeves for umbrellas in photography before.

    Make a simple door handle for your shed or green house just bend into shape and form rings at the ends so that you can screw it in place.

    Ideal for making light shades bend to your desired shape and just add card or paper.

    The car ariel must be the favourite. Just stick it in the hole where the retractable one broke off and pull up to make a diamond shape… simples!!!

  21. Maria Sanchez says:

    You can take a Wire Coat Hanger and turn it into a baby hanger to hang toys and such

  22. Tomomoko says:

    How can I reuse and recycle wire?
    And do you know recycle sysytem of wire indestry?

    Thank you

  23. Maureen Kelly says:

    takethem to the thrift shop

    • I help a tiny bit at our local charity shop and we usually have more hangers than we can deal with. I did notice at a big superarket near me that they had a coathanger recycling box, whether it was just for their hangers I don’t know.

      I have also noticed at the scrap yard I buy my metal from that they had a hook mountain of the metal from plastic hangers and have been trying to think of something to do with them.

  24. David Mach is a scottish sculptor who works with unusual materials including a series with coat hangers

    Davd Mach, scottish sculptor who works with unusual materials including hangers

  26. Judi Johnsey says:

    I am interested in help recycling a metal hanger to use as a boot hanger for my hip waders, I don’t want them to dryrot.

  27. Hunting Wabbits says:

    If you bend it into a circle, leaving the hook, tear a hole in about 100 sandwich baggies (without the ziplocks) and tie them all around until you have a wreath. Tie a ribbon around the hook and ta-da! Cheap and cute Christmas wreath!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Usually I take wire hangers back to the dry cleaner – almost the only place I still get them from

    On the other hand I was thinking of buying a pair of ‘Grand Pa Fire Fork’ (

    But I think it would be easy enough to make them out of wire coat hangers –

    I haven’t tried it yet but I will next time I get a suit cleaned.

  29. Dave says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. The one I’ve always liked is from the movie THE BLUES BROTHERS: bend the sides in to make about a 45-degree angle and then scrunch it down a couple inches. Voila! You’ve made a toaster for your fifth burner. Of course there’s the what am i cooking into my toast that’s on these hangers problem…Dave

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