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clothing racks at a thrift store

Do thrift stores wash clothes?

If you’re like most people, you probably associate thrift stores with secondhand clothing. But what many people don’t realize is that thrift stores also sell new clothes – sometimes still in the original packaging. That being said, used clothes are still exchanged and sold at thrift shops — and many people are left wondering, “Do thrift stores wash clothes?”

When you get home from the thrift store, can you immediately slip on your new shirt or should you wait until after it’s had a thorough washing? Let’s break it down.

Do thrift stores wash clothes?

Thrift stores are a great way to find affordable clothes, but many people wonder if the clothes are clean. The simple answer is that most thrift stores do wash clothes before putting them out for sale. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

First of all, thrift stores typically don’t have the same resources as commercial laundries. They may not have industrial-strength washers and dryers, and they may not be able to use harsh chemicals. As a result, some stains may not come out completely. 

Additionally, thrift stores typically don’t have the time or manpower to wash every item individually (or to the degree that they actually need to be washed). Because of this, you may only bring home a partially washed item from the thrift store.

Related Content: How to clean thrifted shoes

Why it’s better to wash thrifted clothes yourself

Before you wear any thrifted clothing item, you should always wash it (even if it has been washed by the thrift store employees). Although the item may look clean, you don’t know what it’s been through, and it’s better to be safe than sorry — especially since the former owner could have worn the clothing while doing a variety of less than savory activities. 

Generally speaking, washing thrifted clothing items as soon as you bring them home from the shop can remove all sorts of nasty things — such as musty smells, bacteria, dirt, grime, sweat, and who knows what else.

Keep in mind, however, thrifted clothing items are often much more delicate than new clothing items. As a result, it’s important to take care not to damage the clothing when you’re washing it. Check out our guide to washing thrifted clothes to pick up some solid tips. 

How to make the most of thrift store shopping

For many people, thrift store shopping is a way to save money on clothes, household items, and other necessities. However, thrift store shopping can also be a great way to find unique items and support local businesses. Here are a few tips for making the most of thrift store shopping:

  1. Explore different thrift stores in your area. There are often a variety of thrift stores with different specialties, so it’s worth taking the time to find the ones that best suit your needs. 
  2. Don’t be afraid to bargain with the staff. In many cases, thrift store prices are negotiable, so it’s always worth asking for a better deal. Thrift store items are often secondhand, so it’s important to make sure they’re in good condition before you take them home.
  3. Take your time sifting through items. Clothing items at thrift stores can be laid on top of each other in bins or closely hung next to each other on racks. Because of this, it’s much more likely that you’ll miss some pretty great finds. So when you visit the thrift shop, make sure you’re ready to take your time and pick through each item. That’s how you’ll find the best items and the best deals. 

Keep Learning: Old household items you can sell for good money

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