Removing Thrift Store Smell from Clothing?

How do I remove the thrift store smell from clothing and the store?

By LuAnn Patterson from TN


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August 31, 20090 found this helpful

Wash with a bit of borax as well as detergent or baking soda (1/2 cup)if you don't have borax. If they are sweaters, hand wash carefully with liquid dish detergent, put in a little white vinegar in rinse water, dry on towel then air out somewhere for few days , or dry on towel on something in the back yard in the shade...grass would be good, but make sure it's shaded and put on towel.


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September 1, 20090 found this helpful

Put vinegar in rinse water. I buy a lot of clothes from thrift stores and vinegar gets rid of the ordors.


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September 1, 20090 found this helpful

I buy almost everything from thrift stores so I am trying to figure out what a "thrift store smell" is?

I have worked in 5 of them, and they are cleaned nightly, the clothes are gone through by trained employees who only keep the best. Donations from smokers are generally bundled to donate to shelters or sent to other countries.


I guess I have been lucky because I have never gotten anything from a thrift store but good, clean, and "ready to ware" clothes, from stores taking my money for 40 years now.

December 30, 20160 found this helpful

Or you may just not recognize the odor. It is rather distinctive and musty. Like someone that doesn't wash their clothes often. Yuk


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September 1, 20090 found this helpful

Sorry, PoorbutProud. Thrift store clothes do, indeed, have a special scent all their own. It reminds me of my grandma's attic, and it doesn't seem to matter what store they came from or how clean it's kept.


I always wash my purchases before I wear them - and since joining TF, I've learned to add a little white vinegar to the rinse. Works for me.

September 4, 20090 found this helpful

If they need to be dry cleaned, try Dryel sheets. You can find them in the supermarket with the laundry products. They come with a big zip up bag and special sheets. You place a few garments in the bag with one of the special damp sheets, zip it up and put it in the dryer. It makes them smell beautiful and they are all fresh and clean. When they come out, they're very slightly damp but you hang them up and they're like new. Sometimes they have coupons on line. Good luck.

September 4, 20091 found this helpful

Mix a cup of "Borax" and a 3 tablespoon of "Dawn" (dish washer detergent) soak your cloths for a couple hours, rinse and put them in the washer



September 13, 20090 found this helpful

Put a jar of Fresh-Wave air freshener in the closet where clothes are.

September 19, 20100 found this helpful

Baking soda in the wash cycle and vinegar in the rinse cycle did not work for me. Instead I used Nature's Miracle Stain and Odor Remover and it worked. It is sold online and in most pet stores for $10 a bottle. I shook the bottle well, poured it into a large stainless steel bowl and put my infant's clothes in to saturate.


Once completely covered I wrung them then washed as usual. I thought of this because it always works on getting cat pee out of things so figured it would work on thrift store stench and it did!


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January 2, 20170 found this helpful

I think the smell you are referring to is just mildew from clothes being stored improperly. It reminds me of the smell of used bookstores. The musty odor should just wash right out. I wash everything I buy as soon as I get home. If you have items that take special care (like leather, wool or silk), you may need to hand wash them or even take them to a dry cleaner. As I hate to pay for dry cleaning, I rarely purchase clothing items like this.


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January 2, 20170 found this helpful

I purchase items from thrift stores and thrift stores do have a an odor among the store. When I purchase any item from the thrift store, whether it is clothing ceramic caskets Linens even furniture, when those items arrive at my house I'll wash them immediately, clothing I wash in the washing machine weather vinegar or if it's white so I bleach them and then dry them either in the dryer or outside on the clothesline the fresh air to flow through the Garment. Any household items I put through the dishwasher whether it is a pot ,a pan,utensils and even baskets I will run through the dishwasher. Furniture is cleaned first with soap and water and lightly then dried and then a furniture polish is used on the furniture to thoroughly clean it.


Furniture drawers sre taken out of the furniture piece and clean thoroughly with a bleach solution and then set outside to dry and then replaced in the furniture piece. Purchase leather shoes from the thrift store, I clean the leather with a soap and water solution first, and then use leather polish on the shoes, the inside of the shoes are washed with a mild bleach solution and allowed to dry and then inner soles are placed within the shoe, tennis shoes are put in the washing machine to soak in Lysol, then washed normally with washing powder detergent. Handbags purchased at a thrift store are difficult to clean, especially the inside. Maybe consult a dry cleaner about cleaning a handbag.

April 21, 20170 found this helpful

That smell is disgusting and impossible to remove yet some folk just cannot smell it.The smell is probably why the clothes were given away in the first place.It will quickly pervade the rest of your clothing and other fabrics curtains etc and I refuse to let anyone who stinks of this unique odour near my house.I had to throw every bit of my kids clothing out after they slept over at a funky house!Absolutely disgusting.

February 3, 20180 found this helpful

It's kind of a sickening sweet/sour smell like no other. doesn't matter which store, all smell like the same. Sunshine and vodka work - sounds like vacation : ). Mist with straight vodka and Hang outside in the sunshine


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