How to Clean Thrift Store Clothing

Posted On Thursday, October 21st, 2010
Filed Under: How To, Thrift Stores

So you’ve followed my thrfiting tips and scored some amazing finds, but now what? How do you sanitize items like clothing, shoes and accessories once you get them home? I’ve come across some thrift stores that are cleaner than others, but you always {always} want to clean items before wearing them. You never know how many people wore the item before you and you don’t want that stale smell that some second hand clothing can have.

Check out the easy tips below on how to clean your thrifted items.

Clothing:
Simply follow label instructions and treat them as you would a perfectly new garment. If the items says ‘dry clean only,’ then you want to do just that. There’s no point in wasting your money by destroying a garment due to improper care. I know some people who feel all thrifted items should be dry cleaned, but I think this is completely unnecessary and it can get a bit expensive if you’re an avid thrifter like myself. Drop the load in the laundry machine, dry on the highest heat possible and you’re good to go. For delicate garments, hand wash with a product like Woolite and lay flat to dry.

Accessories:
For earrings, rings, necklaces or bracelets, wipe them down with rubbing alcohol and let dry before wearing.

Shoes:
Wipe the inside and sole of the shoe with rubbing alcohol and/or with those handy Lysol disinfectant wipes. *Test the rubbing alcohol out on a small section of the shoe to make sure it doesn’t affect the material*

Do you guys have any other tips to cleaning your thrift store finds?

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18 thoughts on “How to Clean Thrift Store Clothing

  1. I am your neighbour from up north Canada, and went thrifting for the first time this weekend with my boyfriend(eyes rolling). We tried Goodwill was not able to find anything so we went on to another store. On our stop to Value Village we came into some luck.

    I scored a Fendi light jacket for $24.99 and he got a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoe for $29.99 in purrrfect conditions. Oh I was so happy, my first time out and score big time.(Was not able to load the pic)
    I know the prices are not dirt cheap like those you are able to fine but I thought they good. What do you think?

    • Those prices are awesome! I’m even more impressed you got your boyfriend to go thrifting with you 🙂 Men can be a bit resistant!

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  4. For coats that are dry clean only, I usually put them in a pillow case with a dryer sheet and put them in the dryer on high for 20 minutes.  They come out smelling great! Better than dry clean smell. 

  5. How do you clean your clutches?  I’ve found some great ones even a calf hair but I can’t seem to get that smell out of them.  I put dryer sheets in them, sprayed them with Febreeze but they still have that odor.

    • I never buy anything that has a serious odor to it, it’s way too hard to get out. I’ve always just cleaned my clutches by wiping them down with an alcohol free baby wipe. 

  6. I have heard that you can place your items in a bag and put them in a deep freezer for a few hours to kill bugs.  I do this with my purchases and then wash them and toss them in the dryer.  I guess as extra insurance to make sure everything is dead.

  7. Have you try using white vinegar as a antibacterial?  From what I readied from the great world wide web, white vinegar is good disinfectant, paired with baking soda, it can disinfect and deodorizer .   

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  9. Adding vinegar to the washer is beneficial in the sanitizing process, and will help take most scents out without leaving behind a vinegar smell.

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