Garage sales and thrift stores are always popular places to pick up a bargain. However, with the pandemic still in the spotlight, you may bring home more than you had bargained for. Second-hand items can be notoriously hard to clean. And you might be unsure of how best to approach the task or if there are items you should avoid! The question becomes: How to clean garage sale and thrift store items? Join us and find out!
With how prevalent coronavirus concerns are nowadays, it is always best to start the process with thorough disinfection of your new purchases. This is the case even when you purchase things from a regular store. A garage sale and thrift stores present additional risk factors. Firstly, the items had been owned and handled before. And secondly, any number of visitors might rifle through the things without any limitations. This means that items you acquire through such a sale carry immense health risks. So, just as you would clean your home ahead of the holidays to protect your visitors, you need to clean any items you are taking into your home, as well.
Items to avoid
When trying to clean garage sale and thrift store items, you also need to know when to give up. Some are simply impossible to clean properly. Be it because they would be entirely ruined by the attempt to do it or because the risk of them carrying infections or even infestations is too significant. In fact, it is helpful to learn how often you should declutter your storage unit, so you can keep it junk-free and eliminate such risky items that you already own from it. There are three types of items to avoid:
- Stuffed animals. They can be infested by bed bugs, lice, and fleas. They are also often very dirty and caked with dust.
- Used or open makeup. Makeup that has been opened already is unsafe to use.
- Old appliances. It is impossible to safely give them a thorough wash, and you can’t know whether they work in the first place.
Boil items that can withstand it
One of the most reliable ways to clean garage sale and thrift store items is to boil them. This gets caked dirt and dust out of even the most annoying spots. And it also ensures an item is properly sterilized and safe from viruses and bacteria. The only annoying part is that it is often impossible to do it. You can safely boil most plastic, glass, metal, and even wooden items. But if there is paint or certain sensitive materials in the item’s make, you would ruin it in the attempt to clean it.
Isolate your items
Some items are simply impossible to clean through any advice we can offer. And yet, they would not present a severe threat to your health the way items we recommend you do not purchase would. A painting, for example, fits this category. After all, it would not come into direct contact with your skin or food. So, if you want to buy it, then the best way to handle it would be to isolate it for a while. You can read up on some cleaning tips for your storage unit to ensure a sufficiently clean space for your possessions and their isolation. And then simply put away everything for a couple of weeks. This should lower the chances of bringing any infections into your home.
Use highest allowed temperature for washing clothes
When it comes to cleaning garage sale and thrift store clothing items, things are, once again, a bit troublesome. You can try to douse them in cleaning alcohol, of course. But that is far more likely to seriously damage your clothing than to help. So, your only real option is to treat such clothes the way you would treat any of your clothing. Remember that it is still best to separate it from the rest the first time you wash it. And use the highest allowed temperature that the material can withstand. It is also advisable to avoid buying underwear or swimwear at such locations.
Scrub and pressure-wash carpets and similar
Carpets and similar items are a nightmare to clean, even at the best of times. Those purchased in a garage sale or a thrift shop are likely to be even dirtier than they usually would get. This means that you will need to wash them several times to eliminate all the grime and other potential dangers for your health. And they can represent a serious danger! Carpets can be a premier source of allergens in a home. And even carry a lot of viruses or bacteria, simply because of how fluffy and rarely cleaned they tend to be. It is also wise to look up mold prevention guidelines for homeowners after subjecting them to washing since they can be challenging to dry.
Use cotton swabs and cleaning alcohol
Finally, if an item is too delicate to withstand any other form of cleaning, and you want to both have it and ensure it is clean, use cotton swabs and cleaning alcohol. Simply dip the swab and gently rub away dirt and grime caught on the item. The process can take an excruciatingly long time. And if the statuette or similar has a lot of intricate detail to clean, it would take even longer. On par, in fact, with cleaning tasks that might be found on a seasonal deep cleaning checklist.
You should now know enough about how to clean garage sale and thrift store items. Just remember to always be thorough! Otherwise, it would not be worth the risk since your health should always come first.