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Can Coat Hangers Be Recycled? (Plus 9 Ways to Repurpose Them)

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Although many recycling facilities will not accept them because they tend to get caught in the machines, wire coat hangers can be recycled.

Most facilities also will not accept plastic coat hangers because they are made from multiple plastics and are more difficult to recycle. It’s best to check with your local recycling facility before placing them in your curbside recycling bin.

Although most recycling centers won’t take coat hangers, there are still a variety of options to consider before just throwing them in the trash.

In this article, we’ll provide you with nine ways to repurpose your old coat hangers, from donating them to making unique crafts to novel storage ideas.

Read on to see how you can use your old hangers for more than just hanging clothes.

1. Scrap Metal Facilities

blue wire coat hanger on dirty white background

While most recycling facilities may not have the proper equipment to deal with the wire coat hangers, scrap metal facilities usually have no problem accepting them.

The machines and processes of recycling and melting down scrap metal more often deal with hard-to-handle types and shapes of metal.

Some scrap metal places might even pay you for your coat hangers if they are made with steel.

2. Donate Your Coat Hangers

Instead of just tossing your old wire or plastic coat hangers into the trash so they spend the rest of their days sitting in a landfill, consider donating them to your local dry cleaners or consignment shop.

Small businesses like these require a lot of coat hangers because they handle a lot of clothing. Any budget cuts they can make are appreciated.

Check with your local churches and shelters as well. While these are not clothing shops, they made have need of them for hanging up coats and clothing items donated for distribution to the less fortunate.

3. Create a Drain Snake

man using drain snake to unclog sink

Do your shower and bathroom sink drains get clogged with gobs of hair and other nasty things? Use those old wire coat hangers as a drain snake.

Simply unfold and reshape the hanger so that it can reach into your drain. Leave a hook on the end to fish out the gunk and voila! Your drain is clear.

4. Out in the Garden

If you are a green thumb and grow climbing plants in your gardens like snow peas, morning glories, or green beans, you can make your own trellis out of wire coat hangers.

Reshape the hangers and weave them together to make a structure for your plants to climb so that they have support and you don’t have to go out and buy another product.

Use wire hangers to create unique garden edging or twist them to make plant markers for your garden. If you are looking for an upcycled garden decoration, use wire hangers to hang lanterns made from tin cans amongst your plants.

5. Useful Kitchen Tools

view of kitchen towel in the kitchen

Coat hangers can be useful in the kitchen by serving as a paper towel holder. Cut off part of one side to open it up and slide a roll of paper towels on; then hang it anywhere in your kitchen for mobility and convenience. You can also use the same concept for your kitchen towels.

You can also use old coat hangers to hang up herbs to dry. Simply clip the sprigs of herbs to the hanger with clothespins and hang them up in an out-of-the-way place to dry.

6. More Than Just Clothing Storage

You may have enough hangers for your clothes, but you can also use them to store other items. Clip the bottom off of a wire coat hanger and curl up the ends for convenient flip-flop storage.

Wire coat hangers can also be reformed to hold books or magazines and hung on the wall. Many other accessories can be stored on clothes hangers including ties, belts, jewelry, and eyeglasses.

Hang a wire coat hanger on the wall upside down and turn out the hook for easy key storage in your entryway. Or hang some up the same way in the bathroom for extra towel hanging space.

7. Get Crafty

Wooden hangers toned living coral color on light pink background

The sky’s the limit when it comes to being creative with art. You can use old coat hangers, whether wire or plastic, to create unique sculptures or statement pieces for your home. If you want to be a little more functional with your crafting, use a hanger as the base to create a mobile.

Get into the Christmas mood by stretching a wire hanger into a circular shape and threading ornaments around it to create a festive holiday wreath.

Additionally, you can store your craft supplies on hangers including thread, ribbons, sequins, lace, and more.

8. Outdoor Uses

Use your old wire hangers to create unique bubble wands. Shape the wire into different forms and have a giant bubble-blowing party with a simple soap and water concoction.

If you have a pool, then you know how annoying it can be to constantly fish leaves and dead bugs out of the water. Make life easy by slipping a pair of tights over an old clothes hanger for an easy pool cleaning tool.

9. Static Neutralizer

Never worry about static cling again! Keep an old wire coat hanger handy to stop static from clinging to your clothes. Tights, wool sweaters, and even hair tend to build up static electricity, especially in dry air.

Neutralize the static so you don’t shock yourself, by running the wire coat hanger along any of these items.


Although you technically can recycle old wire and plastic coat hangers, a lot of recycling centers will not take them either due to their tendency to jam up the recycling machines or their makeup of multiple hard-to-recycle plastics.

However, there are other options for your old hangers besides the trash can including donation, craft projects, and out-of-the-box storage ideas.