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Second-hand: How are clothes washed and disinfected in thrift stores?

Second-hand: How are clothes washed and disinfected in thrift stores?
Second-hand: How are clothes washed and disinfected in thrift stores?

How are clothes removed, washed, disinfected and deodorized at thrift stores? Should you be afraid of bedbugs when buying second-hand clothes? Interview with the thrift shop behind Tucked and Untucked in Paris.

What sometimes discourages second hand resistant people are hygiene problems. However, thrift shops generally offer carefully refurbished clothes: washing, steam ironing to eliminate wrinkles, eliminate bacteria and kill what is needed, or even disinfectant products… to miss I spoke to Paris’ coolest thrift seller, Alex of Tucked and Untucked, to better understand how clothes in thrift stores are stripped, disinfected and deodorized.

To miss. How are second-hand clothes typically refurbished before being sold in thrift stores?

Alex. When we find clothes, they are reconditioned in different ways depending on their condition, their material, their fragility, etc. Generally they are washed and ironed, making the heat act as a disinfectant. We also use disinfectant products. We steam them again to clean them even more. And against odors we spray a mixture of half water and half vodka. When the clothes are in excellent condition, we simply disinfect and iron them. For the others we disinfect and wash them at home, and also iron or steam them. Our apartment is a real laundry room: we have three washing machines (laughs).

Additionally, we also partner with a family-run stain removal company, DJOSSYE, who offers the best advice and products for tough, hard-to-identify stains.

How common is it to alter/mend clothes before selling them at thrift stores?

It is quite rare because it is part of the selection work to choose pieces that do not need to be touched up or mended. But these are changes that can be made when faced with a very beautiful luxury piece. Recovering a damaged or torn sleeve is profitable. My life and work partner Geoffrey Mingot, who is a stylist, is capable of reconstructing a sleeve, for example. But it can take several hours, so you end up selling the item at a loss.


It's common for thrift stores to slightly alter old clothes for resale, but it's rarely as extensive as ours, thanks to my husband Geoffrey. It's rare to have thrift stores that are good bargain hunters, retouchers, dealers and communicators.

Is it common to come across bed bugs when shopping at thrift stores, garage sales, house sales, or even online?

I personally have never seen one, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. However, in second-hand markets it seems unlikely to me, because we wash the clothes, disinfect them and above all iron with an iron at more than 100°C so as to eliminate any bedbugs. We also seal our bags of used clothing for a long time, 1 to 2 months, which would deprive any survivors of oxygen. So there are several ways to kill them, if at all. In four years we have never received any complaints from customers.

  • Off-the-pants thrift store : 10, rue Tourneux, 75012 Paris.
  • Hidden thrift shop : 80 rue Claude Decaen, 75012 Paris.

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Source: Madmoizelle

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