How Do You Get Rid of Thrift Store Smells

How Do You Get Rid of Thrift Store Smells?

There is nothing like the rewarding feeling you get when you snag a killer deal on a great piece of vintage clothing. But the deal you got isn’t the only thing that is killer. The odors permeating from your new thrift store clothes are reeking of a putrid smell of killer as well. If you are like me, I have a hard time wearing vintage clothes that contain past smells from the previous owners. Whether it be a strongly scented detergent that was used on the fabric or lingering body odors that have made their mark on my newly acquired wardrobe it can severely impact my eagerness to rock my new attire. After years of scouring thrift stores for hidden gems, I have perfected the ideal method of removing past lingering smells from my thrift store finds. And it will soon be revealed…

When the housing market crashed in 2007, Americans got thrifty! With new economic strains put on many families,  people became more comfortable with buying used. Thrift stores have been around a long time and not only are they great places to find furniture and decorations for your home, but they also make staying fashionable more affordable!

Indulging in fashion is always fun, and for many budget-conscious consumers, thrift stores are a fantastic way to get and keep their wardrobes stylish through ever-changing trends. For these nifty thrifters, part of the fun is staying within their budget goal. They enjoy the hunt for treasures among racks of used clothes because they know that fashion should be fun! It shouldn’t be a source of stress over breaking the bank.

Today, thrifting has even gone virtual. You can now buy used clothes online to keep up with your favorite fashion blogs. Many people have begun to use the internet to sell their previously loved garments to other people in their town via social media forums and local websites. Buying used clothes has become an engaging pastime in itself!

Saving money and recycling clothes is a positive shift, to be sure. However, the reality is that many of these preloved clothes are simply not sanitary. Most consumers know to wash their thrift store finds before wearing them, but sometimes these items may need a more in-depth clean. Just like anything imported, clothes from someone else’s closet come with someone else’s bacteria and germs and should be thoroughly washed and sanitized before hanging them in your own wardrobe.

So do you want to snag great finds at insanely low prices and continue to be healthy? Then you need to learn how to disinfect thrift store clothes and how to wash second-hand clothes effectively, and you’re in the right place!

Do Thrift Stores Wash Their Clothing?

Do Thrift Stores Wash Their Clothing?

First, to answer one of the biggest questions people have when they go thrift shopping is, “do the thrift stores wash the clothes before they put it up for sale?”. The answer is, it depends. Goodwill stores do not wash clothing but kindly ask that donors wash the clothes before they donate. This seems to be the case for many thrift stores who usually put their newly acquired clothes right on the shelf. So should you wash your thrift store clothing after you purchase them? Ultimately the decision is up to you, and your nose is the best resource to determine if a good wash job is needed before you wear your new clothes.

how to clean thrift store clothes

5 Ways to Deodorize Thrift Store ClothesSo what do you do when you find a piece of clothing that you just absolutely love but the smell is overtaking your nose every time you put it on? Some odors and smells can mark their territory on fabrics making it nearly impossible to get rid of with everyday detergent. When this happens we try to turn to DIYs and helpful tips from others stuck in the same boat to rid the smells out. But do these tips and tricks really work on your thrift store clothing?


One of the more popular methods that many thrift shoppers use to rid their clothes of lurking odors is by using vinegar. The best way to implement this process is by washing your thrift store clothes like you would wash any other piece of laundry and following that process by rinsing with a vinegar solution to try to repel the odor. However, the real question is does this process work? Vinegar is acidic and can be harsh on a variety of different fabrics that cannot handle the power the vinegar contains. You must also take into consideration that many clothing purchased at a thrift store has had a lot of wear and tear and may be extremely delicate when washing them. The last thing you want to do is ruin your newly purchased thrift store clothing by using harsh vinegar as a solution to harsh odors.

Fresh Air

The cheapest way to go around trying to remove odors from your thrift store clothing is by utilizing the powers of the sun. Letting mother nature works its magic may be just what your clothes need. The sunlight will help remove odors, but it may also have some negative effects on your thrift store finds. Intense sunlight can sometimes cause dyes to fade on the fabric, tarnishing the fabric and making your clothes really “look” like vintage clothing.

Baking SodaBaking Soda

Baking soda for decades has been known as the ultimate deodorizer for any harsh odors. Especially when it comes to your refrigerator where we faithfully place a box of baking soda to remove the nasty odors that accumulate in your fridge. Well, why couldn’t you use this natural deodorizer to deodorize your thrift store clothing? Applying baking soda into your laundry load could maybe do the job of ridding your vintage smelling clothing of the trapped odors in the fabric. However, be careful when using baking soda in your washing machine because issues can start to arise when you place the baking soda in the dispenser slot, so make sure you apply it into the tub of the washing machine rather than the dispenser drawer.


One of the more craftier methods of eliminating odors from your thrift store clothing is by using vodka. I’m sure you are sitting there questioning this method because I sure did too. This application is a gamble because you never have any idea how the fabric or dye in your clothing will react with this liquid. The logic behind using vodka is that the alcohol takes on an absorbent quality, having the possible power to neutralize the odor. Be careful when testing this method out, by picking a sample area to apply it to, airing on the side of caution is recommended for your thrift store gems.

How to Wash Second-Hand Clothes Properly

Washing preloved clothes with regular detergents is often not enough to thoroughly remove parasitic organisms such as mold or mites because some of those microorganisms are biologically wired to withstand harsh conditions for survival. A simple wash may not do the trick. You can’t always get the potential threat with normal laundry methods, but what you can do to clean thrift store clothing effectively is use strong reagents that are specially formulated to deal with pesky parasites.

There are many options on the market, but OdorKlenz is a natural, safe, and powerful detergent additive that stands out from the rest. Disinfecting thrift store clothes with OdorKlenz will kill parasites and other pathogens in one wash and completely rid them of that funky thrift store smell at the same time. It does not have a fragrance, which is an especially great feature for thrift store clothes – you want to be able to smell them carefully to be sure there is no residual mildew. If you are looking for safer cleaning products than the standard chemicals available, OdorKlenz is the perfect pick! We guarantee that our detergent can freshen up any pre-worn clothes in no time at all.

Tips and Tricks: 4 Ways to Disinfect Thrift Store Clothes

When buying vintage clothes, you may wonder if a simple wash is good enough. Well, first off, with OdorKlenz, you can be sure that your chosen treasures will come out of the wash funk-free. It is also the best additive for disinfecting thrift store clothes.

Still, just to be safe, you might want to take extra precautions and make sure that your bargain clothes won’t make you sick. Here are a few of our favorite tips:

  1. Avoid trying on clothes to see if they fit in the thrift shop before you get a chance to wash them. If you must try out the fit, try them on without taking your clothes off. When going thrifting, wear form-fitting clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or wrinkled. This takes a little bit of planning, but you will be glad you did!
  2. After you’ve washed the clothing, iron it out twice. The heat will kill off any stubborn pathogens that managed to survive the cycle. Though with the power of OdorKlenz, this truly is just a precaution.
  3. If you cannot iron the piece of clothing directly because of the fabric blend, try “shadow ironing” (a term for ironing out the material while it’s still wet with another piece of cloth over it for protection).
  4. For curtains or other non-clothing items, run them through the sanitize cycle on your machine (if it has one). We don’t recommend this for clothes because the extreme heat can drain color and do damage to your garments. It is ideal, however, for other fabrics, you may pick up at a thrift store!

 Will OdorKlenz Laundry  Work For Removing Odors from Thrift Store Clothing

A laundry additive can be the ideal solution for all your thrift store stench issues. When you are dealing with tough accumulated odors on your thrift store fabrics, detergent alone just can’t do the job. Most clothing that you purchase second-hand have been put through the ringer and need a little extra TLC. A powerful and effective laundry additive may be your secret weapon against thrift store clothing. The OdorKlenz Laundry Additive is the perfect additive to encompass into your washing routine because it gives your fabrics the added protection of fighting off odors and chemicals attached to your fabrics. This laundry additive utilizes a patented technology with all safe, earth-mineral ingredients that work to rid odors and chemicals from your fabrics. Hint- it is most effective when used with a non-scented detergent and used in warm water with a high agitation cycle. You will be amazed at the results!

laundry liquid additive N 7-29-16

Saying goodbye to thrift shop odors is possible and done by using a variety of methods to accomplish this task. So what method is the best? That is for you to decide!


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