Thrift Store

How to Clean Thrifted Clothes in 2024

Thinking of buying preloved clothes or you’ve already bought clothes from the thrift store and you’re now wondering . . . How to clean thrifted clothes?

No worries . . . I got you!

So, what are preloved clothes anyway? 

One of the things I love about going to thrift stores is all the goodies that I find. As a plus-size mom, I know how challenging it is sometimes to find cute and comfortable plus-size clothes, well that’s one of the reasons I love going thrifting. 

So preloved (aka second-hand clothes) are gently worn clothes that have been worn by someone else. These are also referred to as second-hand clothes.

Honestly, I LOVE thrifting! Mostly because you can find almost any and everything at the thrift store.

My favorite clothes to buy from a thrift store are:

  • Baby clothes
  • Kid’s Clothes
  • Maternity Clothes
  • Plus Size Women’s Clothes

When you buy pre-loved clothes . . .

  • find unique pieces that you can find at a restoral store 
  • save the planet by reusing what’s already here and available
  • find a variety of sizes that actually fit
  • save money because you’re paying a fraction of the price 

Do you need to wash second-hand clothes?


Because second-hand clothes come from all different sources, you can never be too sure where they’ve been or what they’ve come in contact with. Even the ones that look clean and/or are brand new with tags . . . You just never know.

Plus, during this pandemic, you can never be too cautious.

It doesn’t take much to clean and sanitize thrifted clothes so always make sure you was second-hand clothes as soon as you bring them home.

tips & tricks: How to clean thrifted clothes

  • Follow the label instructions
  • Separate clothes according to quality, colors, and fabric type 
  • Keep the clothes separate from everything in your home until they are cleaned and sanitized
  • Use scent boosters should you like that kinda thing

Side Note: Don’t do what I’ve done and damage some of the clothes before you get to wear them.??‍♀️

how to clean thrifted clothes

4 ways to clean & Sanitize thrifted clothes

Which method you choose to clean your thrifted clothes really depends on you and how dirty the clothes are. For me, I don’t buy second-hand clothes that are too dirty however some items may carry germs and bacteria. I like either one of these options but it really depends.

1 – Quick & Easy Method

With this method, you’re gonna wash a load of the thrifted clothes as normally would however you’re gonna add white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle. Add about ½ cup white distilled vinegar [depending on the size of the load] during the rinse cycle. Then dry at the hottest but the safest temperature in the dryer.

2 – Laundry Stripping Method

Just depending on you and how dirty the thrifted clothes are you may choose to go with this option. If you are really considered about the cleanliness of any second-hand clothes that you buy, this cleaning method will put all your concerns at rest for sure.

What is laundry stripping?

Laundry stripping is a really effective cleaning method that’ll remove all kinds of built-up [ex. soil, laundry detergent, fabric softener, etc] in your laundry. This usually involves you using a cleaning solution and soaking the clothes anywhere from a few hours to overnight.

I have been stripping my laundry for years – especially my kid’s cloth diapers. I haven’t in a while but when I do buy second-hand cloth diapers, I always strip them because I can never be too sure how well they were taken care of.

3 – Prewash Method

This method is a pretty simple option. You’re basically gonna add a load of clothes, add Lysol laundry sanitizer and start a rinse cycle. Once the rinse cycle finishes then wash the clothes as you normally would. Throw them in the dryer at the hottest [and safest] temperature.

4 – Steam & Go Method

You’ll need to take each item and run a steamer over every part of it. After which, you would wash a load of the thrifted clothes as you normally would. Throw them in the dryer at the hottest [and safest] temperature.

Using a steamer will usually get rid of germs and bacteria however I don’t think this method is the most effective. Mostly because you may have a steamer than doesn’t get as hot as it should, you may miss sections on each item, etc.

Next Steps

As long as you clean and sanitize them, there are so many benefits to buying second-hand clothes. Either one of these 4 ways to clean thrifted clothes will work.

Please be sure to drop a comment below and let me know which method you’re gonna use.

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