How to recycle clothes, shoes, and other textiles

October 9, 2018

Winter is coming….and that means pulling out your cold weather clothes from under the bed or the back of your closet.  As you decide what to keep or throw in your wardrobe, we recommend not just disposing your old clothes into the trash.  There are other things you can do with your textiles that will keep you in-style and eco-conscious.



The examples below, of green actions you can take, apply to textiles. So the next question is, what is a textile? Textiles include:

  • clothing
  • belts
  • shoes and sneakers
  • purses and pocketbooks
  • linens (towels, sheets, blankets, bedspreads, comforters  (no mattresses!)
  • rugs and carpets

Donate to your favorite charity

Donate clothing, shoes, and other textiles that are in good condition to your favorite charity. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center and DEP maintain lists of local organizations that accept usable items. You may donate other textiles like linens, fabric and furniture covers to your local animal shelter/rescue, including the Montgomery County Humane Society. Contact your favorite charity to confirm their needs.


Clothing Pile Donation

Drop off at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station

Use the Frederick Road/Route 355 entrance to the Transfer Station and follow the signs to the Textile Recycling Area (look for the blue boxes located next to the Book Shed).

Drop off clothing, shoes, and other textiles at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station. We accept clothing and other textiles that are dry and free of mildew—place materials in a closed plastic bag to keep out moisture that could cause mildew. The Transfer Station partners with a local non-profit that collects, sorts, and makes usable materials available to Goodwill and other thrift stores. Clothing that is in poor condition and no longer wearable are recycled. Items with mildew cannot be reused or recycled—throw those materials away.


Rugs and Carpets

Rugs and carpets can be donated for reuse or disposed of in the following manner:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts area rugs (under 11 feet in length) in new or excellent condition for reuse
  • The Loading Dock accepts new carpet
  • Community Forklift accepts area rugs in good condition (must be clean), as well as new, manageable sized rolls of carpet (on a case by case basis)
  • Old rugs and carpets that cannot be reused may be brought to the Transfer Station as trash. If you receive County-provided curbside trash collection, you may request a bulk trash pickup for rugs and carpets that do not fit in your trash can. Please add smaller rugs to your regular household trash.

Carpet Padding

  • Carpet padding can be recycled if taken to: DC Foam Recycle Center, 3761 Commerce Drive, Suite 406, Baltimore, MD 21227, 410-247-7777


County-provided curbside recycling collection

We do not collect clothing, shoes, and other textiles for donation or recycling as part of County-provided curbside recycling collection. Please do not add these materials to your recycling bin or cart.

5 comments on "How to recycle clothes, shoes, and other textiles"

  1. Terri Slavin says:

    I would like to learn where I can recycle old flannel shirts that have frayed collars – definitely not suitable for wearing – but the fabric on sleeves and “body” of shirts could be re-used?

    Is there a textile/cloth recycling center i Montgomery County?

    I know there used to be one at Shady Grove Transfer Station – the only ones I have seen there recently are for wearable clothing.

    Most Sincerely,

    1. Ruthie says:

      I keep my old flannel shirts and night gowns to use for wrapping gifts (instead of buying single-use wrapping paper). Many of them are in cheerful winter colors, so they’re great for the holidays. I used pinking shears so the edges wouldn’t fray, and tie them with ribbons.

  2. Cat says:

    Thanks for reaching out! You may drop off clean and dry clothing, regardless of condition, to the textiles drop off at the Shady Grove Transfer Station. The non-profit that we work with will separate wearable from non-wearable clothing and recycle the non-wearable clothing.

    1. Jonathan E. Hardis says:

      How can I cut out the middleman? What organization collects old, worn, torn textiles for recycling, as opposed to reuse? Trust me, anything reusable is donated to the Interfaith Clothing Center. I’m looking for recycling, specifically, for torn underwear and socks with holes.

  3. Deborah Cohn says:

    Can I recycle kitchen/bath scouring pads made from plant materials (e.g., rayon made from bamboo cellulose, viscose made from trees, other cellulose household products) assuming they have been cleaned through the dishwasher or laundry and are dry? Should these be added to yard waste or dropped off and Shady Grove at the clothing/shoe bin?

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