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How to reuse wire hangers

Wire hangers may seem cheap and wasteful, but there are many uses for them around the house. Here are 10 new purposes for wire hangers that you have accumulated in your closet or found at the thrift store.

Mini-trellis

Save money on your gardening supplies by making your own mini-trellises for your crawling vines out of old wire coat hangers. Simply stretch and shape the frame, unfurl the hook and stake it in the ground next to your pole beans or peas. This DIY from Homemade by Jade shows you how.

Non-slip wire hangers

One of the most obnoxious design flaws of wire hangers is that clothes always seem to be sliding off their slick frames. Elevate your wire hangers’ original purpose by upcycling into non-slip hangers. Simply wrap pipe cleaners around the top of the frame, from the corners upwards, until you have enough material to keep your clothes in place.

Shoe hanger

Are flip flops crowding the floor of your closet? Consider hanging them — and your other lightweight shoes — instead. These instructions from Hey Wander Blog will show you how to transform your wire clothes hanger into a handy shoe hanger to clean up clutter in your closet.

Magazine rack or book stand

Elongate the frame of a wire hanger into a rectangle and fold the end upwards to create a holder for your magazines or books. Bob Vila, renowned repair and DIY expert and former host of the home improvement television program “This Old House,” shows you how you can use the hangers to proudly display your reading materials on your walls using a nail or two, but you can also hang them on the handles of your door or cabinet in your bathroom for quick reading in a pinch. Home chefs can follow these instructions from Craft Cycle to make a quick book stand to help keep your place in your favorite cookbook or magazine.

Static remover

If the clothing you have on just won’t stop sticking to your legs and chest, run a wire clothes hanger between the garment and your skin. The static electricity that keeps drawing the fabric to your body with be transferred to the metal and will stop your clothes from uncomfortably clinging to you.

Wreath

Whether you are making a Christmas wreath or looking to get a little creative with your seasonal door display, save money on a store bought wreath by making your own using a wire hanger. This step-by-step from DIY Inspired shows you how.

Crafts hanger

As long as you are getting crafty, you might as well keep your crafts closet organized. Cut one end of the bottom of the hanger’s frame and slide rolls of tape or ribbon onto the bottom. Wire hangers also make a great storage rack for sunglasses, and there is no cutting required.

Drain snake

If your shower or sink drain is backed up, head to your closet for a quick fix. Unwind the neck and straighten the frame of the hanger, keeping the hook intact. Remove the drain cover and use your homemade drain snake to it fish out any hair or other nasty material that may be hiding out down there.

Bubble wand

You can use needle nose pliers to manipulate the shape of wire hangers in order to make fanciful bubble wands with unique shapes. This DIY from Sandy Toes and Popsicles illustrates how to craft particularly creative and colorful wands. Once they are ready, dip your wands into store bought bubble solution, or make your own using 6 cups of water, 1 cup of dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin (or, if you do not have that on hand, 1/4 cup of corn syrup).

Drawstring lead

When the string comes out of your favorite sweatpants or hoodie, it can seem like an impossible task to put it back. Don’t panic — unwind a coat hanger, tape one end of the stick to the coat hanger and push the wire with the string attached through the holes at either end of the hood or waistband. Once the string is poking through both holes, remove the tape and wire. If you want to take preventative measures, double knot the ends of the string to prevent them from passing through again.

Do you have any favorite upcycled uses for wire hangers? Share them in the comments below.

Sam Schipani loves pollinators, fresh herbs, and learning how to live more sustainably in small spaces. She has previously written for Sierra, Smithsonian, Earth Island Journal, and American Farm Publications.

Is your closet being overwhelmed by write hangers? Before you start throwing them all away, you may want to hang onto a few in order to get a little more use out of them.

1) Plastic Bag Hanger

Create a sack and slip a hanger through it. Fill this sack with plastic bags and use it to store those excess grocery bags.

Cut Out and Keep

2) Hang a Picture

Make sure the frames in your home are hung perfectly straight by using a wire hanger. Learn how it’s done below.

3) Hanger Holiday Card Holder

Tie a few wire hangers together to create this darling holiday card holder. Learn how to make it here.

4) Declog a Drain

Straighten out your wire hanger and tighten the hook and use this end to shimmy up and down your drain to remove any blockages.

5) Paper Towel Rack

Place a snip at the bottom of your wire and slip your paper towel roll through it. Now you have a hanging paper towel roll.

6) Make a Bubble Wand

Bend one end of your hanger into an “O” or other shape and dip the wire into a soap solution to create a bubble wand.

Sandy Toes and Popsicles

7) Hanging Planter

Reshape a hanger and secure the open ends to a rounded piece where a potted plant can sit to create a hanging planter.

8) Tape or Ribbon Organizer

Cut a piece out of your hanger and bend the ends into hooks so that you can open and close it. Use this to store your ribbons or tapes.

Silly Old Suitcase

9) Magazine Rack

Pull the bottom of your hanger and fold the bottom of it. You can place magazines in the folded portion and use the hanger to hang your rack in a convenient spot.

Artists Helping Children

10) Make a Wreath

Uncoil a hanger and straighten it out in a circular fashion. You can tie cut strips of fabric or glue other pieces around the wire to create your wreath. You’ll find a tutorial here.

Six Sisters’ Stuff

11) Marshmellow Roaster

Wrap a wire hanger around the end of a wooden stick and cut off the ends so that you have prongs. Place your marshmallows on the prongs to roast them.

12) Skimmer

You can make a pool or birdbath skimmer by rounding out a wire hanger and placing pantyhose or another netting over it.

13) Hang Flip Flops

Cut off the ends of your wire hanger and curl them upwards to hang your flip-flops.

Thank your dry cleaner for these free problem solvers.

So you know that wire hangers only lead to heartache when used for clothes, creating lumps and bumps in the worst places. But, you’re likely to have a treasure trove of these puppies sitting around awaiting their fate at trash day. Instead, make use of your hoard with these helpful tips.

1. Declog a drain.

Simply unwind the neck and fold the hook tighter to create a slim snake that gets the gunk out.

2. Support a feeble plant.

Limp stems can lean on a “trellis” made by an unwound hanger inserted into the dirt.

3. Make a wreath.

Shape the wire hanger into a circle, then get crafty. See Rustic Pig Design’s tutorial for making this scrap fabric wreath.

4. Skim debris off pools.

Keep bird baths, swimming pools, and other water features clean with a skimmer you make by shaping the hanger into a circle and stretching pantyhose over it.

5. Corral flip flops.

Compress the ends of the hanger, then bend up in a hook shape. Or, follow Epbot’s instructions for a slightly prettier option.

6. Fight static cling.

Run a wire hanger across two clinging pieces of fabric to break the static bond (this also works on your hair!)

7. Roast marshmallows.

With this tutorial from Oh Happy Day, the wrong end of a wooden spoon becomes a campfire staple with the help of a twisted hanger.

8. Store magazines.

Simply shape the bottom of the hanger into a square, then fold to create a nook for magazines. Hang it from an adhesive hook next to your bed, or wherever you like to catch up on reading.

9. Have fun with bubbles.

Stretch the hanger into an oval shape, then dip in the bubble mix for an afternoon activity with the kiddos.

10. Hang a picture with ease.

In this tutorial, a sharp end of a snipped wire hanger helps you mark the wall so you can hang frames right on the first try.

When committing to a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle, you’ll be doing quite a bit of upcycling — instead of trashing items that will just forever sit in a landfill, we can make more eco-friendly decisions by reusing what we already have, in lieu of throwing them in the trash. While reusing common disposable items like coffee canisters and takeout containers is easy, finding alternative uses for some “disposable” items, such wire hangers, isn’t quite as easy.

Although bamboo and fabric hangers are generally more sustainable options for closet organization, many of us are still stuck with wire hangers from our past and from the dry cleaner’s. It wouldn’t be environmentally friendly to toss them in the trash, which eventually brings them to a landfill. So, how do we upcycle those wire hangers? Keep reading for a few different ways to do so.

How do you repurpose wire hangers?

Wire hangers can be recycled or used to hang accessories such as purses, jewelry, or a tie collection, but if you’d prefer to repurpose them outside the closet, there are many creative ways to upcycle them, since they’re so malleable. For example, they can be used to hold rolls of paper towels — simply use wire-cutters to cut open one end of the wire hanger, bend it down to slip the paper towel roll on, and then bend it back up to keep it balanced.

Multiple wire hangers can also be used to make up the base of a wreath. For this, mold the wire hangers into a circular shape, then feed burlap fabric (or any other kind of fabric) through the wire hangers, bunching the fabric up. Decorate with a few flowers or a bow and hang the DIY wreath on your front door — no one will ever know there’s just a combination of wire hangers under there.

You can also upcycle wire hangers to make some pieces of home décor. Use pliers to help you mold wire hangers into circular twists, and continue twisting them until you have multiple layers of circles. It should end up looking like a rose. Then, after adding it to your collection of art and wall-hangings, everyone will ask you where you bought it from, despite the fact it was a surprisingly easy (and cheap!) DIY project.

Can you recycle wire hangers?

If upcycling and crafting simply isn’t your thing, that isn’t a problem, as you can opt to recycle hangers depending on where you live. According to Life Hacker, wire hangers can be put in the curbside recycling bin in a number of metropolitan areas, such as New York City. The best way to find out if your municipality accepts wire hangers in the recycling bin is to do some online research — don’t just toss them in the bin with no information on it.

On the other hand, if you aren’t able to put old wire hangers in the recycling bin, many scrap metal recyclers will accept them. You can use Earth 911 to search for scrap metal recyclers near you. Another option is to bring wire hangers to your local dry cleaners, as many dry cleaners will accept them and reuse them for distributing dry-cleaned laundry.

You have more time now than ever, though, to get a little crafty — that being said, we can’t wait to see what you make.

As a safe way to clean precious fabrics like silk and bulky items like your favorite down comforter, there's no doubt that dry cleaning is an invaluable service. But there's one little issue most every dry cleaning customer ponders, and that's what to do with all of those wire hangers. You could, of course, add them to the hanging rod in your closet, but the truth is there are better options for long-term storage. Wire hangers are flimsy, bending easily under the weight of sweaters, and they're notorious for slippage, causing your formal dresses to puddle on the floor.

Throwing away unwanted wire hangers isn't a great option, either. Tossing them in the trash means they'll end up in a landfill somewhere, which has obvious environmental implications. And even recycling is difficult—wire hangers can't go into the bin with other recyclables, they need to be specially recycled with scrap metal.  If you don't have any use for all of those wire hangers, reduce waste by bringing them back to the dry cleaner (they can often reuse them) or trying one of these creative ways to repurpose the humble item.

Clean out the drain.

To clear a clump of hair from your sink, shower, or tub, unwind the hanger and snake it down your drain. Pull out any gunk, toss it in the trash, clean the hanger, and save it for the next time things are backed up. 

Prop up plants.

Unwind the hanger and use it as a stake in the garden. It makes a great support for tomato plants and other weak stems. 

Create garden markers.

Straighten a wire hanger, then cut it into six-inch pieces. Label a wine cork with identifying information—cherry tomatoes, for example—and use the signs to mark seedlings in the garden. 

Reduce static cling.

To separate two pieces of fabric clinging to one another, run a wire hanger over the fabric. 

Tame your hair.

The same thing works for static hair. If your hair is standing on ends after removing a hat, run a wire hanger over stands to relax it.  

Make a wreath.

To make a wreath, twist the wire frame into a circle, secure the ends, then add flair of your choice—faux flowers and vines, fabric, pinecones, and more. 

Clean a bird bath.

Don't want to touch the icky stuff floating in your birth bath or fountain? Use the wire hook on the hanger to fish out leaves, sticks, and other debris without ever having to stick your hand in. 

Roast marshmallows.

If you can't find any sticks for the fireside activity, use an unwound wire hanger instead. Get it as straight as can be, then stick a marshmallow on the end. For added safety, curl one end around a wooden spoon and use that as your grip. 

Replace a drawstring.

If the string escaped from of your hoodie or sweats in the wash, there's an easier way to fix it than fiddling with your fingers. Straighten a hanger, secure the end around the end of the string, then push the whole thing through the garment until it comes out the other end. 

Make a terrarium.

In tending to your terrarium, use a wire hanger to nudge all those little bits of moss and fauna into just the right spot. 

Create a bubble wand.

Unwind a hanger, then twist the end into a circle or fun shape (like a heart). Dip the shaped end into bubble solution and slowly wave through the air for a sensory activity that the kids are sure to love. 

Hang ornaments.

Missing those little hooks your ornaments hang from? Use wire cutters to cut a hanger into two-inch pieces. Twist one end around your ornament; the other around the branch of your tree.

Stir paint.

Straighten a wire hanger, then shape it into a zigzag, leaving a few inches at the end straight. Insert the straight end into a drill. Place the stirrer into the paint can, turn the drill on slowly, and stir out any clumps before tackling your next DIY project. 

Corral paper towels.

Cut the corner of the hanger, slip a paper towel roll on, then hang the whole thing from a nail. 

Make a hanging lantern.

Wind a wire hanger around the mouth of a mason jar, then hang from a branch or hook to light up your backyard.