How can I reuse or recycle … old bras?

Old brasI find it strange how attached I get to a couple of bits of cloth and a bunch of straps. Some bras I’ve worn to absolute death – until the underwire had been sown back in countless times and the elastic in the cloth is decidedly inelastic – and then I’ve been sad that they’re gone (turquoise bra – still miss you, sigh).

Other bras I own I’ve worn a good number of times but now they don’t fit – mostly because I’ve put on weight but also because I was less fussy about how well they fitted in the past so have a heap of bras that looked nice at one point but were completely the wrong size to begin with (purple lacy one, looking at you here).

Either way, the result is I’ve got a stack of bras that I can’t wear any more but that aren’t good enough quality to give away to a charity shop or the like.

Any ideas what I can do with them? Suggestions for what to do with any of their component parts (underwires, straps, fasteners, the cups themselves…) are welcome too.

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45 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … old bras?”

  1. Emma says:

    As a sales assistant in La Senza this same problem has also got me thinking. We did do a promotion last year where you could donate any old bras to the store and each gave you a chance to win a Ford Ka, but that’s not really recycling!!! I’ll get thinking about this.
    P.S Your website is a really useful find. Thanx!

  2. Sarah says:

    Donate them to charity! If they are in good condition send them here and they will be distributed to homeless women in the UK or overseas to countries where the cost of a bra can be too expensive for many women.

  3. dotCompost says:

    he, he, hanging baskets LOL

  4. bralover says:

    hi like would be it if I you in 50 € I give and get this bras?
    I collect bras, and already 1250 different models and I has love her/it/them all.
    therefore if you want to make something good for your bras or ask then has mail for me.
    greeting bralover

  5. If they have elastic, use them as slingshots.

  6. Michelle says:

    At one point, I saw a piece about an artist who was making a giant ball of bras and was looking for donations.

  7. GirlGenius says:

    They make good support for ripening fruit/veg like tomatos or grape fruits. Just hang them on the branches so they cradle the fruit in the cups.
    (I didn’t mean that sentence to be packed full of double entendres!)

  8. Anonymous says:

    how do i recycle my thongs?

  9. Another anonymous viewer says:

    Recycling old bras? A guy might be interested in getting them although he won’t admit it. I think it would be embarrassing for a guy to buy bras in a store filled with employees and customers. It would make more sense for him to get bras from one woman and minimize his discomfort. So bag them all up and give them to a guy who would like them. Or you could just wrap them up individually and give them to men as gifts.

  10. I just wrote a blog today about 5 neat ideas for reusing old bras. My favorite is to make a purse! Look at my blog and let me know if you have any more ideas.

  11. can ask would you bbw women would like to sell bras girdles panties $200 dollars the way the gas prices are and food prices are i was asking can you help buy selling them can reply to

  12. i was seeking bbw women would you like to make extra money selling bras girdle panties offer $200 dollars are there any women in kokomo.indiana area would you like to contact me can reply so we can chat

  13. Autumn says:

    Use them for scarecrows’ clothing. If our town can make a Chuck Norris scarecrow, I don’t see why you couldn’t have a ‘burlesque’ one!

  14. can ask any women would like to earn more money can buy old bras girdles corsets offer $200 dollars for old bras girdles corsets panties panty-hose any women can help asking fore favor

  15. Chris says:

    I am amazed women wonder what to do with old bra’s.

    The answer is sell them, old bras are in demand and are often hard to find since I guess people prefer to throw them away or give to charity.

    I would say ebay but they started treating it as adult stuff so ban the adverts.

  16. There was a programme on Radio 4 about the oxfam sorting place and they said that underwear gained the most money for their causes because underwear requires some skill and many components to be made properly so difficult to make yourself (but not impossible – I have seen somewhere a woman who makes pants from her old teeshirts) They sell them because there is already a second hand clothing economy in Africa and wherever they sell them and if they went in handing out bras etc willy-nilly the whole economy would collapse.

    • Meem says:

      I checked with the lady at the local Oxfam store who said no they don’t do this. I heard that you can give your old underwear (bras an nickers), bras go to Africa and knickers are recycled at a fabric bank. I think all Oxfam employees need to know if this is still a going concern or if it has been stopped. I hope not as its a good cause.

  17. Kristina says:

    If its still in good condition why not just add some material to it to make a top to wear?

    • Patty says:

      You know I’ve been trying to figure out how to do just that (adding fabric for halters) but I can’t seem to find any ‘How To’s’ online. It’s not as easy as you would think….

  18. Meem says:

    Yes, I just spoke to somebody at Oxfam who said they will take old bras, and if the shop cannot sell them they send them to a fabric bank, a company called Waste Savers. If they won’t take them you can ask them to call up the Oxfam head office and ask about the fabric bank programme.

  19. any women have any lingerie like to sell $200 dollars

    • sue says:

      I have a load of bras that are in good quality and just would be heartbroken to give them away anyone interested in making a small donation??

      • Helen Delasalle says:

        Hello,i pay 50p each for a good bra,must have label,i live in milton keynes,where are you, Helen.

  20. hi women are you having yard sale would have any old lingerie like to sell $200 dollars contact

  21. Olia says:

    Bra fabric can be made into a hot tea cosy for a teapot, since it already has spheric shape. :)

  22. Olia says:

    This fabric together with batting can be sewn inside baby’s or toddler’s hat to make it softer and warmer. Babies will appreciate such gentle touch.

  23. Olia says:

    Dancers and gardeners can make knee pads out of them.

  24. Olia says:

    The shoulder pads for certain clothing can also be made out of bras.

  25. Olia says:

    They can be turned into a summer or beach dress or lingerie, just add the bottom.
    They can also be worn as part of a bathing suite, especially colorful ones.

  26. Olia says:

    Give them as gift to your boyfriend in a box. When he’s away, they’ll remind him of you.

  27. Olia says:

    Use big bras to make fancy hats and berets.

  28. Olia says:

    Turn big bra cup into bottom of the bag. You can sew or knit the top part.

  29. bea says:

    they collect bras and recycle or redistribute them to shelters and internationally. Check out the website.

    • Christina P says:

      Thanks for posting this! I just went through my stuff and I have all these bras I am saving because they are too good for trash! I’m going to mail them out :)

  30. The 2nd Annual Bra Recycling Month is just around the corner. Last year, Bra Recycling Month brought awareness to Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness by offering women nationwide a chance to provide support for these causes in a unique way, while directly helping to re-shape a life. By recycling new and used bras to women in need in honor of breast cancer and domestic violence awareness, women and girls nationwide also brought attention to another cause, bra recycling.

    Bra Recycling is an economical and environmentally friendly way to give support to women nationwide that are breast cancer survivors or transitioning from domestic violence situations.

    Bra Recycling Month 2010 concluded with over 7000 bras recycled. This year, our goal is 10,000 bras recycled between October 1 and October 31.

    When you recycle your bras during Bra Recycling Month, we will reward you for your generosity by entering you into our prize raffle. For the 2nd Annual Bra Recycling Month, we have partnered with a number of businesses, including Sheila with Cookie Lee Jewelry, Jenneration Fix Inc., and Bra Tree, to provide you with great prizes. For a full list of prizes to be raffled off during Bra Recycling Month, please visit us at

    Clean out your drawers and help make this year’s Bra Recycling Month even better than last year!

  31. Chris says:

    To the OP, there is demand for old bras so the answer is sell them, especially bras where the elastic is worn out.

  32. ernie says:

    Clothes2U is an organization in the Vancouver Canada area that distributes clothes and much more free to people in need. They will be happy to take used underwear provided it is clean. www/


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