DEAR SUN SPOTS: Following the philosophy of “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,” my family and I repair, reuse, repurpose and recycle much of what we consume. I hate to throw away any kind of fabric and have saved several boxes of denim, T-shirt, towel and sheet material. Worn out and/or stained towels, sheets and clothing become repair patches, cleaning cloths and craft projects.

I know the Humane Society can use old towels and blankets. I think the denim (which also has zippers that can be salvaged) could be cut into squares and sewn together into panels (to create, for example, sturdy pet bed covers). Sheets and T-shirt material could also be cut and sewn (and would make a nice padded insert for a denim-covered pet bed).

All fabric has been laundered, then stored in plastic bags. If anyone has the time and a good sewing machine and can give old fabric new life (especially if its new purpose helps a community organization), please call me.

If no one is interested in reusing old fabric, where can I take it for recycling? — Joanne D’Unger, [email protected], 524-5505

ANSWER: Sun Spots found an online post that said Goodwill would take old fabric as well as clothes, so she checked with Michelle Smith at Goodwill, who wrote:

“Goodwill serves individuals who experience barriers to employment. Every day, people come to Goodwill for guidance, support, training and jobs. Because of our shopper and donors, Goodwill is able to find further use for clothing and household items to create jobs and reduce waste in landfills. We believe in creating a healthy, sustainable community where nothing goes to waste — not a shirt, not a shoe, not a person.

“Our retail stores help to support our many programs that create healthy and sustainable communities. We accept gently used donations to sell in our stores. Clothing that does meet our quality standards is recycled into a product called Good Wipes (, which are wiping cloths made available in bulk quantity and for our shoppers in our stores. The rest of the textiles are recycled and sold to vendors who repurpose them for a variety of products. 100 percent of the textiles not sold in our stores are recycled.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: There may be many more than myself that would benefit from your answer here. What is the chemical that is used to clean clothing in used clothing shops? I like to shop at these stores, as I can often get good quality clothing for a low price.

However, there is a distinct, undesirable smell in them that I cannot seem to get out, even with washing several times and hanging out in fresh air. I have used fragrance-free laundry soap combined with Borax, baking soda and other such odor purifiers. Still the smell persists. What can you suggest? Thanks for your help, love your column! — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots doesn’t think that most used clothing stores have the resources to wash everything they get. She doesn’t know what store you shopped at, but according to Michelle Smith at Goodwill: “We ask that customers donate clean and washed clothing — as we like to say, if you would give it to a friend, we will gladly accept it!”

Sun Spots would be surprised if any used clothing is treated at the stores; it would be too expensive.

As for the smell, have you tried a bit of ammonia in the washer? That’s what Sun Spots uses for musty towels.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: About a year ago, there was a store in the Auburn Mall that sold bedspreads and religious items. When I went to visit it this summer, they were no longer there. Do you know where they relocated? Thank you for your help. — No Name, Fayette

ANSWER: Without the name of the store, Sun Spots can’t even look. Perhaps readers will be able to help identify it?

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Does anyone know what happened to the computer person that had a business at the Marketplace Mall? He was really great with computers, and I would like to find him. Thank you. — Lewiston reader via email

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

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