The worst part of thrift is trying to get rid of the thrift store smell in your thrifted items without washing them a million times.
Thrifting is a great way to find unique and stylish pieces without dishing out a ton of cash. The downside though? The cat lady stench that is usually embedded into fabric.When I first started thrifting, I had no idea how to get rid of it of the smell or make the clothes feel soft to touch. I’d wash thrifted clothes 3-5 times on long wash cycles to no avail. Finally, I found a method that has yet to fail me.
There’s so many places to thrift her in NYC but a couple of my favs are Housing Works Buy the Bag thrift( I got a ton of dope stuff for $25–you should definitely read about this AMAZING thrifting experience here). I also love L Train Vintage that has a few great locations throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.
My foolproof method to get rid of the thrift store smell in thrifted clothes, takes very little effort and a trip to the dollar store.
What you will need:
- White Vinegar
- A spray bottle
- Fabric Softener
- Dryer Sheets
- Mesh Laundry Bag (optional)
- Spot Treatment
- A bag or open space
- Patience (but, really)
Step 1: Prep Clothes With Vinegar Before Washing
After carefully inspecting the items one last time to see if they are even worth cleaning up, spray your clothes with white vinegar. I like to spray the vinegar vigorously all over the clothing and let it hang up in an open space or in a bag. I’ve tried this method with pure white vinegar and diluted (with water).
White Vinegar helps to neutralize/ get rid of the thrift store smell a.k.a. cat lady stench, acts as a disinfectant and softeners with the fabric.
Step 2: The wait
Let the clothes sit overnight for best results. I usually let the hand on the shower rod.
Step 3: Wash Day
Wash the thrifted clothes based on the recommendations given on the tags of the items. If you suspect that items are made of gentle fabric, wash them in a mesh laundry bag on the gentle cycle option. You can use whatever laundry detergent you prefer but be sure to use a liquid fabric softener/conditioner as well. My fabric softener of choice is Suavitel. It smells AMAZING, really softens your clothes and is really cheap.
FYI, if you think the thrifted clothes need to be disinfected a bit more, wash with hot water if you don’t think it would be damaging to the clothes.
Step 4: Drying?
DRY TIME! If you choose to dry your thrift clothes, put the dryer on low or on high for a short period of time (trust me, I shrunk a wool scarf by not doing this). Use dryer sheets for this for the same reasons as the liquid fabric softener. Suavitel also has some AMAZING dryer sheets for the low and your clothes will smell amazing…FOREVA
I totally get how that thrift store smell can turn you off from thrifting entirely. However, spending a few dollars at your local dollar store or on Amazon can totally change that. Happy Thrifting!