How to remove smell from thrift store clothes

by | Jun 29, 2020 | Laundry Odors


Spending time at home in quarantine has given us all the opportunity to clean out our closets and reevaluate our wardrobe needs. As a result, thrift stores are well stocked with clothing and accessories. The spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has spanned across both spring and summer and may even take us into fall. If you’re in need of a wardrobe refresh with the change of seasons, but don’t want to spend much money, consider thrifting your next purchase. There is no need to fear the cleanliness or even the smell of your thrifted finds. We have a solution to make your thrift store purchase smell like new!

Why do thrift store clothes smell so bad?

The simple truth is that other people’s homes smell different from ours. Allergens such as pet dander, cigarette smoke, or even just poor ventilation or unique work environments can lock odors into clothing. When you bring these items into your pet-free, smoke-free home and the smell can become very prominent.  As humans, our bodies and sweat smell as well. It’s biology, but not a reason to avoid purchases previously worn clothing.  Some of the common smells that stick to clothing include pet odor, tobacco smoke, food and cooking odors, mold, perfumes, body odor, and even dry cleaning or washing machine residue.

common smells left in clothing

Clothing is often donated after months or years of use or storage, which can also build up smells from perfume, lotions, and daily wear and tear. Finally, shop storage can also be the culprit.  Thrift stores and their storage areas are full of clothing from hundreds of different households at any given time; these odors are transferrable between the soft fibers of clothing and accessories. The good news is that these soft fibers are also easy to clean for years of added enjoyment.

Is it safe to purchase clothes from the thrift store?

Of course! We recommend staying away from highly personal wear items or hard to clean products such as some undergarments and women’s swimsuits, but almost any item can be cleaned and sanitized for your use. However, if an item smells extremely soured or there is visible mold, beyond simple storage or well-loved smell, it may be wise to pass.  Additionally, we don’t recommend purchasing bed linens, pillows, or even stuffed animals from thrift stores as these items easily serve as homes for bed bugs and other microbes – regardless of odor.

remove thrift store smell

Clothing made from denim, leather, and other durable fabrics can often be found for much less at your local thrift store. Everyday clothing items such as shirts, suits, dresses, and slacks can be found at a fraction of the cost at thrift stores, many practically new.  Some thrift stores even dedicate special sections of the store to boutique or designer labels to further improve your chances of finding a great deal on clothing and handbags.

Even during a health crisis, it is safe to purchase your clothing from a thrift store. Proper cleaning will remove germs, viruses, and allergens from any clothing you may purchase that originated in someone else’s home.  Not only is purchasing thrifted clothing safe and affordable, but it is also better for the planet. Each year thrifted and consigned clothing saves tons of waste from our landfills.

Consider Enviroklenz Laundry Enhancer for extra cleaning power

No matter if you’re washing your own brand new clothing or eliminating someone else’s household or body odors after thrifting, you want the best possible cleaner to remove odors and allergens from your soft fibers. As thorough as dry cleaning can be for your suits and dresses that were purchased new, it is important to know those dry cleaning methods are often not deep enough to remove the set-in smells that can be eliminated through wet cleaning methods, including machine washing. Therefore we don’t recommend paying the expense of dry cleaning to attempt to remove smells from thrifted clothing; you’re likely to be disappointed with the expensive but lackluster results.

non-toxic laundry enhancer

If you’ve got some tough smells to remove from your thrifted, or even your own new items, the Enviroklenz Laundry Enhancer is just what you need to kick the smell for good. Pair this product with a favorite unscented laundry detergent and observe our earth mineral technology safely neutralize odors from the smelliest of clothing. Our laundry enhancer gives your regular detergent just the boost it needs to safely and completely eliminate smells without breaking your budget. Because you mix the enhancer with your own detergent, you only use the amount of product you need, when you need it.

Enviroklenz Laundry Enhancer is a safe and effective way to remove everyday odors from your laundry, including those more affordable thrift store or consignment purchases.

EnviroKlenz Logo White Transparent Background

Laundry Enhancer Liquid 

$14.99 – $24.99
laundry additive

Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level

No chemicals or masking agents

Works to remove chemical & malodors from all machine safe fabrics

Easy and effective application, used in conjunction with a non-scented laundry detergent

EnviroKlenz® Medical Disclaimer:

“Any information that is provided on this website is not for the use by any commercial or personal entity without expressed written consent of the blog author. The material and statements illustrated within this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases or medical conditions. Nor does the author in any way guarantee or validate the validity, totality, or efficacy of any claims and will therefore not be held responsible for the content of any claims. Always consult your medical physician for any specific medical advice or recommendations.”