How to Make Thrift Store Finds Feel Brand New

Do you ever hauled the hell out of a thrift store only to get home and find your fresh new finds smell a little funky, have an sexy sweat stains and an unidentifiable…. weird… vibe about pre-owned goods?

Well let me fix your problems. Today I am sharing how I make my op-shop finds feel brand spanking new and smelling delightful *like me).


Choose wisely

There are some things that no amount of tailoring, mending, bleaching or cleaning is going to fix. Don’t buy them.

When thrifting it is important that you really look at the item. Believe me I have been in the bargain haze and purchased 26 items for $100 and thought I had invigorated my whole wardrobe… then I get home and realise that it doesn’t fit, it has horrific sweat stains or holes in the stitching…ahh.

Some brands are just not meant for a 2 person life span – that is most high street, chain store brands. Sportsgirl, Dotti or Bardot. Unless you really love the piece and can really make it work, it is probably passed its used by.

Takeaway: Avoid the bargain buzz, check your item closely while you are still in store and try them on before purchasing.

thirft store soak

Spray and Soak

This could be the step you are missing!

Firstly I spray any visible stains with Vanish Preen Oxi Action Fabric Stain Remove*r and leave them in a pile for 20 minutes so the concentrated stain removing can get right in there real good.

I then fill a bucket with cold water and Vanish NapiSan Oxi Action Soak* (I just add a half a cap full into a bucket of cold water) and pop the item in there, swirl them around a little to ensure they are all in knee-deep in the soak, and leave for 2 hours.

Takeaway: Soaking is the most important step – its get rid of any stains you haven’t noticed or any funky op-shop-like smells.

Want More Stain Removal Tips? Click here.

thrift store wash


Once the items have been soaked for a couple of hours drain the water and throw the item in the wash.

I use a gentle detergent on the daily cycle (depending on your item, follow instructions like the ones here).

Want More? How to care for every fabric you own is HERE

Takeaway: well duh you’ve got to wash them.

(Please note that most thrift stores don’t wash clothes before they sell them – my friend Bob once wore a shirt straight after purchasing and Emma said;

‘Eww are you wearing that without washing it’

‘Yeah its okay but Savers washes it before they sell it I’m sure.’ Bob responded.

I injected, ‘I used to work at Savers and that’s just not true.’

That’s the take home.)


If it’s sunny outside hanging them in sunlight will air them out and the sunlight kill thoroughly dry them with a dry heat that just feels better I think.

If it’s not sunny or it’s going to take days to dry them outside pop them in your dryer until thoroughly dry.

Take away: Sun dry if you can, tumble dry otherwise – but make sure they get 100% dry to avoid bacteria growing.



If the fabric allows iron the item.

This allows you to see the final shape of your item and it gets out any remaining residual ‘this is not mine’ smells (which will totally gone of after the Vanish soak anyway) but I do this step mostly for my peace of mind.

Take away: You can see the piece in full, and it looks nice and new.


Mend, Tailor or Don’t Buy

There are some finds that you just can’t walk past – vintage Scanlan and Theodore (true story), a slightly-too-wide dress, or an ill-fitting but high quality pair of of the perfect trousers, and that’s when we need to consider tailoring or mending.

First things first, if you know you are not going to get to a tailor or find the time to mend them yourself, don’t buy them. Let someone else give them the love they deserve, they will become clutter in your life and a drag on your mind.

If you are one of the lucky 2.6% of people that have found their perfect tailor who makes epic adjustments, knows your style and you can go back to again and again; well please pass on their number. If you aren’t, and you love looking great in clothes, it’s a good idea to start having a look around.


Want More Advice on How To Find A Good Tailor? Click here

Takeaway: As soon as possible after purchasing mend anything that needs fixing for takes it to a tailor. If you wait too long, you simply won’t do it.


I like to make my own draw liners (let me know if you want a tutorial) because I get that everyone had there own smell I just like to think I have some power over what my smell might to be other. And spoiler alert, it coconut flavored.

It’s nice if my clothes all smell the same, and like me. So I always store my new picks in my draw or closet right away so the first time I get it out, it’s in pristine condition, and smells like me, like mine.

Thrift store image

I hope this list helps you with making your thrift store feel brand new and like yours, and you get a million wears out of your new and unique piece.

What is your best tip for Thrift Shop clothes? Mending? Cleaning?

Love ya,

simple crown


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