How to Inspect, Clean and Care Thrifted Clothes


Thrift shopping offers a sustainable and affordable way to refresh your wardrobe. However, properly cleaning thrifted clothes is essential for maintaining hygiene and ensuring they last. In this article, we’ll discuss how to inspect, clean, and care thrifted clothes.

How to clean thrifted clothes

Inspecting Your Thrifted Clothes

Before washing, examine each item thoroughly:

  • Check for holes, tears, and loose seams. Repair or mend these issues before washing to prevent further damage.
  • Inspect for stains, odors, or other signs of wear. Make a note of these areas, as they’ll require special attention during cleaning, for instance if they have blood stains.
  • Look for color bleeding, particularly in brightly colored or patterned items. This may indicate a need for separate washing or color-catching sheets.

Removing Stains and Odors

To treat stubborn stains and odors, follow these steps:

  1. Pre-treat stains by applying a stain remover or laundry detergent directly to the affected area. Gently rub the solution into the fabric and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Soak in a vinegar solution for persistent odors. Mix one part white vinegar with three parts cold water, and soak your clothes for 30 minutes to an hour. The vinegar will help neutralize and break down odor-causing bacteria.
  3. Rinse the clothes thoroughly in cold water to remove the vinegar and any remaining residue.

Washing Thrifted Clothes

Wash Thrifted Clothes

Once your clothes are pre-treated and soaked, follow these steps to ensure a thorough clean:

  • Sort your laundry based on color, fabric type, and washing instructions. This will help prevent color bleeding and damage to delicate fabrics.
  • Use the right detergent for the specific fabric type. Delicate fabrics may require a gentle detergent, while heavy-duty cleaners are suitable for sturdier materials.
  • Set the water temperature according to the care label instructions. In general, use cold water for colored garments and warm water for whites.
  • Choose the appropriate wash cycle based on fabric type and level of dirtiness. Use the delicate cycle for fragile items and the normal cycle for everyday wear.
  • Add fabric softener during the rinse cycle to soften and reduce static electricity in your clothes.

Drying and Ironing

Ironing Clothes

Proper drying and ironing techniques will help maintain the shape and longevity of your thrifted clothes:

  • Air-dry delicate items by laying them flat on a clean, dry towel. This will prevent stretching and damage caused by high heat.
  • Use a drying rack or clothesline for regular items. This is not only eco-friendly but also helps preserve the fabric’s integrity.
  • Iron your clothes according to the care label instructions. Use a low heat setting for delicate fabrics and a higher setting for heavier materials. Always iron garments inside out to prevent damage to the outer fabric.
  • Steam garments that are prone to wrinkling, such as silk or linen. A handheld steamer can be a great investment for maintaining the appearance of your thrifted clothes.

Storing Your Clean Thrifted Clothes

Storage Clothes Hangers

To keep your cleaned thrifted clothes in the best possible condition, follow these storage tips:

  • Use appropriate hangers for each garment type. Wooden or padded hangers are ideal for preserving the shape of structured items, while slim, non-slip hangers work well for lightweight clothing.
  • Fold heavy or stretchy garments to prevent sagging and misshaping when hung.
  • Store clothes in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated space to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Use cedar blocks or lavender sachets to repel insects and keep your clothes smelling fresh.


By following these tips, you can ensure your thrifted clothes are clean, well-maintained, and ready to wear. Proper cleaning and care not only extend the life of your second-hand garments but also contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly wardrobe. Embrace the art of thrifting and enjoy the unique and affordable fashion finds it has to offer.