Shopping secondhand is one of the most sustainable ways to shop; it creates a more circular economy, keeping textiles 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 @onecrafdiygirl 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
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.
Next time you find some thrifted gems, whether you’re shopping at an online thrift store or a local Goodwill, 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!
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