How To Clean Thrift Store Clothes Properly

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If you’re a fan of thrift shopping, you know the thrill of finding a hidden treasure at a fraction of the cost. But before you rock that vintage jacket, it’s important to understand how to clean thrift store clothes properly. Of course, there are many thrifting tips out there. But today, I will share some tips and tricks to help give your secondhand finds a fresh start.

According to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, approximately 16-18% of Americans shop at thrift stores during a given year.

This number has grown 7% a year for the past two years, with over 25,000 stores in the US. On average, thrift store shoppers save nearly $150 a month or $1,760 annually by buying secondhand items.

Thrift clothes in a laundry box in front of a laundry machine

Methods of Cleaning Thrift Store Clothes

When it comes to cleaning thrift store clothes, there are various methods to choose from. The most common methods include machine washing, hand washing, and dry cleaning. Hot water can be used to disinfect clothes, while baking soda can act as a natural deodorizer.

The gentle cycle is recommended for delicate clothing items. Soaking clothes in an activewear solution can also be effective.

Ultimately, the best method for cleaning thrift store clothes will depend on the specific fabric and the condition of the item.

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Machine Washing Thrift Store Clothes

Machine washing thrift store clothes is a popular and convenient option for many people. It is important to sort the clothes before washing them to avoid any color bleeding or damage to the fabric.

Delicate items should be washed using the gentle cycle with cold water to prevent shrinking or stretching. For non-delicate items, a regular wash cycle can be used.

Adding vinegar to the rinse cycle or swapping out detergent for vinegar can help sanitize and freshen up thrift store clothes.

However, it may be necessary to pre-treat with stain remover before washing for tough stains.

Overall, machine washing is a great option for cleaning thrift store clothes quickly and efficiently.

Hand Washing Thrift Store Clothes

Hand washing thrift store clothes is a great option for clothing items that are delicate or have specific care instructions.

  • To hand wash thrift store clothes properly, fill a large sink or basin with hot water and add a gentle detergent.
  • Gently agitate the clothing items in the water and let them soak for about 15 minutes.
  • Then, rinse the items thoroughly with cool water and gently squeeze out any excess water. Finally, lay the clothes flat on a clean towel to dry.

Hand washing thrift store clothes is a great way to prevent any damage from using a washing machine, ensuring that the clothes are properly cleaned and cared for.

Dry Cleaning Thrift Store Clothes

Dry cleaning is another method that can be used to clean thrift store clothes properly, especially for delicate fabrics or those that cannot be washed with water. If the label on the garment specifies “dry clean only,” it is best to stick to that recommendation.

Dry cleaning also helps to remove any deep stains or odors that may be trapped in the fabric. However, it can be expensive, so it's best reserved for items that are truly worth the investment.

For items that cannot be dry cleaned or for those who prefer a more cost-effective method, there are other options, such as machine washing or hand washing.

It's important to remember always to sort the clothes beforehand, treat any stains with spot cleaning, and use gentle detergents and cold water to preserve the quality of the fabric.

Hot Water Wash to Disinfect Thrift Store Clothes

Hot water is a simple yet effective way to disinfect thrift store clothes before washing them. Using the hottest water temperature that is safe for the garment, either hand wash it or put it on the regular cycle in the washing machine.

However, it's essential to note that hot water can shrink or damage certain fabrics, so the water temperature should be checked with the care label. If in doubt, it's better to stick with hand-washing or use the gentlest cycle with cold or warm water instead of hot.

Hot water washing can help to eliminate any bacteria or harmful germs that may be present in previously owned clothes, leaving them feeling and smelling fresh again.

Using Baking Soda to Wash Thrift Store Clothes

One effective method of cleaning thrift store clothes is using baking soda. This common household item can work wonders on both removing stains and eliminating odors from your thrift store finds.

Add a tablespoon of baking soda to your regular laundry detergent when washing your clothes. Alternatively, you can create a baking soda and water solution and soak your clothes in it before washing.

Baking soda is perfect for refreshing vintage or secondhand clothes without causing damage.

So, if you want to clean your thrift store clothes thoroughly, try using baking soda as a natural cleaning agent.

Ladies looking at a thrift items in a store

Hot Water for Cleaning Thrift Store Clothes

Hot water can be a powerful tool for cleaning thrift store clothes. As mentioned earlier, it can be used to disinfect clothes and kill any germs or bacteria that may be living in them. However, it is important to note that not all fabrics can withstand hot water.

It is best to check the care label on each item before washing. If possible, opt for a hot water cycle to get the most thorough cleaning possible. Adding a few tablespoons of laundry detergent directly into the washing machine tub can also help with deep cleaning.

Remember to be mindful of your water usage and only use hot water if it is safe for the fabric. When in doubt, stick with cooler water temperatures to avoid damaging the clothes.

Using OxiClean to Clean Thrift Store Clothes

Another effective way to clean thrift store clothes is by using OxiClean. This powerful cleaning powder can remove tough stains and odors from clothes without damaging the fabric.

Simply fill a large plastic container with a gallon of water and add the OxiClean powder according to the instructions on the label.

For best results, spot-clean any stains on the clothes before submerging them in the bath.

After soaking for about an hour, rinse the clothes thoroughly with clean water and wash them as usual.

OxiClean is especially useful for cleaning white clothes or items that have yellowed over time. This method is unsuitable for delicate fabrics, so check the care label before using OxiClean.

Gentle Cycle for Delicate Thrift Store Clothes

When it comes to delicate thrift store clothes, it's best to use the gentle cycle setting on your washing machine. This will ensure that the clothes are cleaned without causing any damage or shrinking.

It's important to use a gentle detergent as well. If you're unsure about a garment's fabric, it's best to err on the side of caution and hand wash it instead.

Using the gentle cycle, thrift store clothes can be cleaned effectively while preserving their quality and longevity.

Soaking Thrift Store Clothes with ActiveWear Solution

Another effective method of cleaning thrift store clothes is by soaking them in an activewear solution. This biodegradable detergent is designed to remove odor and dirt from sweaty workout clothes, making it the perfect solution for thrift store finds with funky smells.

To use, pre-treat any stains with a stain remover, then fill a bucket with warm water and add three cups of washing soda and a scoop of the activewear solution.

Let the clothing soak for a few hours before removing and washing it as normal. This method is gentle yet effective and will leave your thrift store finds looking and smelling fresh.

Thrift clothes hanging in a metallic bar with text "How to clean thrift store clothes properly" above

Tips for Successful Cleaning of Thrift Store Clothes

In conclusion, cleaning thrift store clothes properly requires special attention and care. Multiple methods effectively remove dirt, bacteria, and musty odors, from machine washing with hot water and color-safe bleach to hand washing with disinfectant detergent.

Other viable options are soaking thrift store clothes with activewear solution and using OxiClean. It is important to carefully read the care label and select the appropriate cleaning method for each piece.

Drying outdoors in the sun or on a delicate cycle with excess time can help prevent damage to fabrics. Remember, diluting soap and using mild dish soap for hand washing can help preserve the integrity of the clothes.

By following these tips, you can confidently clean thrift store clothes and add unique, vintage pieces to your wardrobe.

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