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How to Clean Used Clothes So They Look Brand New

Want your thrifted clothes to look good as new? Use this guide to learn how to clean used clothes in four simple steps.

how to clean used clothes
Written by
Angelica Pizza
Shopping secondhand
is one of the most sustainable ways to shop; it creates a more
circular economy
, keeping
out of the landfill. And we're in luck:
Secondhand fashion is trending
everywhere. But how can we clean thrifted clothes so that they're good as new?
While shopping secondhand may be an eco-friendly way to fill your closet, it's true that preowned clothes need to be washed. Some are vintage and come with stains, and others just need a quick refresh. Either way, you'll want to clean your thrifted clothing before wearing it.
Marissa Zingg, the creator behind
on TikTok, has the
perfect tutorial
to get you started. In just four steps, she's able to transform her thrift finds into pieces that look brand-new. Here's how you can clean thrifted clothes in just a few minutes.

How to Clean Used Clothes

how to clean used clothes
This tutorial can be used on almost any secondhand clothing item. According to Zingg, the vintage clothes she found at an estate sale came with decades' worth of "smoke stains, damage, and overall grime."
Here's a step-by-step guide that goes over how to clean used clothing to remove stains and freshen them up.
What You'll Need:
1. Spot-clean any stains with a stain remover. Zingg uses OxiClean, but you can also try a home remedy for stain remover. Try using baking soda, white vinegar, or even dish soap to remove stains.
2. Next, fill your bathtub—or even a large bucket—with warm water and add Borax, a household detergent booster and cleaner.
3. Soak the clothes you thrifted in the water and Borax. You'll see the water change color almost instantly—that's all the dirt and bacteria leaving the fibers.
4. Repeat as needed. It's likely that just one bath won't be enough to get all the dirt out of your vintage clothes. Soak your clothes a second time, or until the tub water is completely clear.
5. When the water is finally clear, your clothes are squeaky clean and good as new! Zingg noticed the vintage shirts were stain-free and looked brand new after soaking. And yours can be, too.

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The Takeaway

Next time you find some thrifted gems, whether you're shopping at an
online thrift store
or a local
, be sure to clean them. This not only makes the clothes fresh and clean, but it also prolongs their lifetimes.
Taking care of the clothes you own helps keeps them out of the trash—and gives you the opportunity to wear them indefinitely!