How to Banish Thrift Store Smell from Clothes – The Ultimate Guide to Odor Removal Without Washing

Local Business


Besedky Team

How to Banish Thrift Store Smell from Clothes – The Ultimate Guide to Odor Removal Without Washing:Are you a thrift store enthusiast who loves finding hidden gems at bargain prices? If so, you’ve probably encountered the not-so-pleasant thrift store smell on your newly acquired clothes. But fret not! In this blog post, we will reveal the secrets to getting rid of that thrift store smell without having to wash your clothes. From vinegar and water, to baking soda and even newspaper, we’ve got you covered. Say goodbye to unwanted odors and hello to fresh-smelling garments. So, get ready to learn the tricks of the trade and bid farewell to that thrift store scent once and for all!

Understanding the Thrift Store Smell

For many, the thrill of thrift store shopping is finding unique, vintage, and affordable items. However, the lingering odor that often accompanies these second-hand treasures can be less than delightful. Before diving into deodorizing strategies, it’s important to understand what causes the notorious thrift store smell. Typically, it’s a mix of mustiness from storage, body odors, perfumes, and detergents. The key to neutralizing these smells is to tackle the bacteria and residues that cause them.

Vinegar and Water: The Dynamic Duo

One of the most effective and eco-friendly solutions for removing unwanted odors is the combination of vinegar and water. White vinegar is a powerful natural deodorizer and disinfectant. When mixed with water, it creates a solution that can break down odor-causing bacteria without the need for harsh chemicals.

How to Use Vinegar and Water Spray

  1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  2. Mist the garments thoroughly, ensuring you cover all areas.
  3. Let the garments sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Hang the clothing in a well-ventilated area for 24-48 hours, allowing the vinegar to disperse and neutralize odors.

Baking Soda: The Odor Absorber

Baking soda is another household staple that excels in removing odors. Its ability to neutralize both acidic and basic odors makes it versatile for various applications, including freshening up thrift store finds.

Using Baking Soda on Clothes

  1. Lightly coat the clothes with baking soda, focusing on areas that are most prone to odors.
  2. Let the clothes sit overnight to give the baking soda ample time to absorb the smells.
  3. The next day, shake off the excess powder from the clothes. If necessary, use a soft brush to remove any remaining baking soda.

Newspaper: An Unexpected Odor Eliminator

It might come as a surprise, but newspaper is incredibly effective at absorbing smells. Its porous nature allows it to soak up the musty odors that often set into clothing that has been stored for long periods.

How to Use Newspaper for Deodorizing

  1. Stuff the pockets, sleeves, and any other part of the clothing with crumpled newspaper.
  2. Place the item in a sealed plastic bag to create a contained environment.
  3. Leave the clothing with the newspaper for a day or two, periodically checking to see if the odor has diminished.

Fabric Refresher Sprays: Quick and Convenient

Commercial fabric refreshers like Febreze are formulated to neutralize odors on fabrics. They can be a convenient option for those looking for a quick fix.

Creating a DIY Fabric Refresher

If you’re inclined towards a more natural approach or just enjoy DIY projects, you can create your own fabric refresher with just a few ingredients.

  1. Combine 16 ounces of witch hazel with 10-14 drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake well to mix the ingredients.
  3. Spray the solution onto the clothing, avoiding any areas that may stain.
  4. Hang the clothing to air dry, preferably outdoors or in a well-ventilated space.

Baking Soda for ‘Dry Clean Only’ Clothes

For more delicate items labeled ‘dry clean only,’ washing or soaking isn’t an option. Baking soda comes to the rescue once again.

Deodorizing Without Damage

  1. Fill a small sock with baking soda, tying the end to keep the powder contained.
  2. Place the sock in a sealed garment bag along with the odorous item.
  3. Let the baking soda work its magic for at least 24 hours.

Vinegar as a Standalone Deodorizer

Vinegar’s utility extends beyond its use with water. It can also be used alone to revitalize thrifted items.

Spraying Garments with Vinegar

  1. Fill a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar.
  2. Spritz the thrifted item with a fine mist of vinegar, covering it evenly.
  3. Let the item sit outdoors to air dry, which should take about a day, depending on weather conditions.

What’s the Fastest Way to Eliminate Thrift Store Odors?

While all the methods mentioned are effective, using a vinegar and water spray is often the fastest way to get rid of thrift store smells. Spritzing the item with this mixture and then letting it air dry outside where there’s good airflow will expedite the deodorizing process.

Removing Bad Smells from Fabric

When dealing with stubborn fabric odors, there are other solutions besides vinegar and baking soda that can be used.

Additional Deodorizing Solutions

  • Vinegar Soak: Soak the clothes in a bucket of cold water with one cup of vinegar for up to 30 minutes.
  • Lemon Juice: The acidity of lemon juice can help extinguish odor-causing bacteria. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into your wash load.


Removing the thrift store smell from clothes without washing is not only possible, but it can also be done using ingredients commonly found at home. Whether you choose to use vinegar, baking soda, newspaper, or a combination of these methods, you can effectively freshen up your second-hand finds without subjecting them to a cycle in the washing machine. Remember to always test a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first to ensure that the fabric responds well to the chosen deodorizing method.

With these tips and techniques, you’ll be able to enjoy your thrift store treasures without any lingering odors. Happy thrifting!

FAQ & Common Questions about How To Get Thrift Store Smell Out Of Clothes Without Washing

Q: What is the fastest way to get rid of a thrift store smell without washing?
A: One of the fastest ways to eliminate thrift store smell is by using a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Simply spray this solution onto the thrifted item and let it air dry outside.

Q: Can you freshen clothes without washing them?
A: Yes, you can freshen clothes without washing them. Steaming is a natural and easy way to freshen up previously worn clothes. If you don’t have a steamer, you can achieve similar results by using an iron set to the “steam” setting and hovering it over the item.

Q: How do you get the musty smell out of jeans without washing them?
A: There are a few methods to remove musty smells from jeans without washing them. One option is to spray them with white vinegar or spritz them with vodka. Both of these substances can help eliminate odors.

Q: How do you get the smell out of cheap jeans?
A: To get rid of the smell in cheap jeans, you can mix white vinegar with cold water and soak the jeans for 30-60 minutes. Afterward, rinse them thoroughly with cold water. Once the jeans are fully dry, the chemical and vinegar odor will evaporate, leaving the jeans smelling fresh.

Q: Why do Goodwill clothes smell so strong?
A: The strong smell often found in Goodwill clothes is usually a combination of various scents, including household odors, perfume, fragranced fabric softener, and even mothballs.

Our Mission

Besedky is your comprehensive local business directory in the United States, designed to connect you effortlessly with local businesses and services. From finding the nearest restaurants and gyms to beauty salons and retail stores, Besedky offers up-to-date, accurate information on over 10.000 listings.

Discover more from Besedky - Your Trusted Local Business Directory in the USA | Free & Live Business Listings

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading