Okay - so you've gone on a major thrift haul and now you're not sure how to clean or prepare your great finds for wear. No problem! Here's some advice:
Always read the garment label for care instructions. If you don't see a label at the neckline, check throughout the inside of the garment along the seams.
If your garment doesn't have a label, use your best judgement. If the item appears to be made of a delicate material, use the hand wash or delicate cycle. If it's a material that should typically be dry cleaned (i.e. wool), dry clean it.
Did you know? The chemicals used in dry cleaning kills a lot of germs. You can also take fitted hats, baseball caps and some other hats to the dry cleaners to be cleaned. It's a great way to prolong the longevity of items and remove stains.
If you have a large pile of dry clean items, don't get too overwhelmed. dry cleaning can be costly, especially if it's heavier items or special fabrics and leathers. Take 5 minutes to prioritize your pile. What are your favorite items? What do you need or want to be able to wear as soon as possible? What can or can't you wear now? How much do you have in your budget for dry cleaning this week?
Tip: Prioritize your items and put them all in a bag and leave in the trunk of your car so that you have a pile readily available for drop off at any time.
Some thrifters opt to initially wash clothes with hot water and a cap full of Pine Sol or liquid Lysol and then do a second normal wash with laundry detergent and a tablespoon of baking soda (to remove the disinfectant smell). Others just was thrifted items as they wash other clothes, just as a separate load.
Leather wipes work great for leather accessories, shoes, purses and apparel. You can normally find them on the same aisle as household furniture cleaning products like Pledge. Leather conditioner is another great option. Some dry cleaners also clean or treat leather but it's normally costly. It may be worth the investment to do at least one initial dry clean and then manage upkeep on your own going forward.
Always keep a canister of disinfectant wipes on hand. These are great for wiping down nonporous items or non-plated jewelry.
You can spray plate costume jewelry with clear Krylon spray paint to avoid tarnishing. There are also products like Alchemy Jewelry Sealer (available on Amazon) that you can use to prevent tarnishing and skin irritation.
Clean earring posts with a cotton ball or cotton swab saturated with alcohol. If the earring backs appear old or super used, throw them away and just use/rotate some that you already have or buy a large supply of them from Amazon or a craft store (jewelry department) for less than $10. If the back appear to be in relatively good condition, soak them for a few minutes in a small bowl of alcohol.
Give it a try! Let me know how it goes! If all else fails, you can always pray over it!