The Extra Step You'll Want To Take When Washing Clothes From The Thrift Store

It's a known rule that you should wash all your thrifted clothes the second you get home or at least before you decide to wear them. Most of the time, secondhand stores don't wash donated clothes, so they hang on racks until someone buys them. In addition, the folks who donate their clothes don't always wash them before donating, either. So, the clothes may sit in bags, boxes, or containers for days or weeks, giving them odors, bacteria, and bugs. While many of us do our due diligence in washing our thrift clothes, there is one extra step you should take beyond your typical detergent and fabric softener: add baking soda or distilled white vinegar to your items the first time you wash them.

While shopping at secondhand stores reaps many benefits for the environment, like making clothing more sustainable by giving clothes a new home instead of sending them off to landfills. Some thrift stores also donate money to charities, so you get to help your community. Even though shopping at thrift stores has its perks, taking preventative measures by washing your clothes with extra cleaning products to deodorize and thoroughly clean your new clothes will prevent you from getting sick or bringing unwanted smells and bacteria into your home.

Use baking soda or vinegar to deodorize clothes

There will be a few clothing pieces that you'll need to dry-clean if you can't throw them in your washing machine, and you should take them to the dry cleaner right after you shop to prevent them from sitting in your closet for days. You should wash machine-safe clothes with hot water and a high dry heat setting to kill bacteria, bugs, or bugs' eggs.

You can use baking soda or distilled white vinegar to deodorize your clothes. Baking soda is ideal for neutralizing odors. Because odors are made up of either acids or bases, baking soda's chemical properties help to cancel each other out. When applying baking soda to your thrifted clothes, turn them inside out, lay them on a towel or old linen sheet, and sprinkle it over them. Leave the baking soda on for a few hours, then wash your clothes as usual.

You can wash your clothes with baking soda or add white vinegar for an extra deodorizing boost. Distilled white vinegar is gentler than other kinds of vinegar and has a low acidity level, but it eliminates odor and chemical residue better than anything else. Plus, it softens clothing, which benefits thrifted clothes that sit on racks for a long time. After the baking soda has set, wash your clothes with a ½ cup of distilled white vinegar for a small load or 1 cup for a larger load.