Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thrifting 101-Thrifting is Dirty Work

*I went to finish this post and after reading through it realized it's been sitting here for 7 months. No biggie right? Anywho, here's my disclaimer: everyone is on the mend (after all, it's been 7 months), but my house is still dirty. So what.

It's been a while since I've done a thrifting 101 post.  In my defense I have been a bit busy.  My hubs had back surgery and after spending all my energy doting on him (haha) for two weeks, the kids and I got sick.  I literally spent 4 days in bed.  When I crawled out from under the covers I was tempted to light a match and burn the house down.  Disgusting.  That's what happens when momma gets sick.  Nothing.  Nothing happens.  Everything was left as it was before you got sick, only now there are layers of crumbs and laundry and dishes and filfth on top of the filfth.  Now that I have dug myself out of the filfth I thought I would write about some handy things to have on hand to get rid of the filfth of thrifting.  
First off-some things to keep in mind...thrifting isn't for clean freaks.
  • Thrift stores can be dirty.  Wash your hands when you leave one and you will see how dirty.
  • If you can't get to a bathroom keep some sanitizer on hand (no pun intended).
  • Even flipping through the racks stirs up dust, dirt, mold, etc.  I know it's gross, but think about it, some of these clothes have been stored, some have been in attics, damp basements etc.  
  • Wash your stuff as soon as you get home (if possible), but it hasn't killed me to leave it untouched for weeks in a laundry basket or bag...just in case you were wondering.
  • When buying furniture check for fleas.  Yes fleas! Especially at garage sales.  I will say in my many years of thrifting I have yet to find any...just heard stories. Check under cushions and if you see anything questionable pass.  If it's a gem and you can't pass it up, you can always clean it and spray it before bringing it in your home.  I know that sounds gross, but if you have animals you know it's not the end of the world. 
 I wash everything in my washing machine unless it's 100% wool or Rayon.  I use the handwash setting for silk, slips, sweaters, or anything delicate.  I hang dry most items like dresses and things that are delicate and dry anything that's cotton or polyester.  Most of them have been washed and dried 100's of times before.  Watch out for Rayon.  It will shrink like crazy!  Use your best judgement.  I have ruined a thing or two I wished I had just dry cleaned.  I have also dry cleaned items I should have just machine washed ie., Burberry Trench-the exterior can be machine washed.  I found this out when dry cleaning didn't get out the stain.  

Second-Some essentials to have on hand:  
Magic Erasers 
Clorox wipes
Spray and wash
Soft scrub

This is how gross the water was after handwashing a bunch of silk bow ties.  Disgusting!

 A lot of the stores around here use a grease pencil to mark things, I hate it.  Magic eraser makes it come right off...but be can also take off beautiful paint and stain. Also try Acrysol or Soft Scrub.

Fels Naptha Soap: amazing stuff, great for removing stains, and can be shredded for homeade detergent
Magic Eraser: don't use on skin.  It can burn.  But it can remove sharpie from a lot of surfaces. It can also remove design always test this first!
Palmolive: I use this religiously, it's what my mom used and she is super smart.
Acrysol: removes stickers, sticker residue, and those stupid black grease pen marks that thrift stores use.
Soft Scrub: works great and can be diluted (will do another post on this genius miracle worker). I use this to clean suitcases.
a razor blade and toothbrush: nuff said.

That's it! Happy Thrifting...and happy cleaning your junk.  It's not the most fun...but well worth it.



  1. Definitely familiar with this myself! For some reason, the dirtiest thing in my usual thrift store seem to be the clutches. I always have to hand wash them pretty well at home because they're all sticky and gross. Other than that, I've had pretty good luck!

  2. As a fellow thrifter, I so agree with your post. I would never buy used upholstered furniture (that is on my "don't buy used" list).
    I've also done that - washing something when I should have dry-cleaned it, but at the least the loss is only a few dollars.
    Popped by on the blog hop - give me a visit some time at

  3. OMG, my kinda of blog! Love this stuff.

    Greetings! I'm doing my hopping (from the TGIF BLOG HOP) and just hopped on yours - I'm a new follower now and hope you will follow me back. Have a great weekend.

  4. Yay! I'm glad you did this post. I'm bad about leaving stuff I got in my car though and not getting around to washing it for weeks(or months).
    Thanks for sharing your cleaning tips. I always wonder about fabrics and cleaners to use.