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How to make pre-loved clothes feel like yours

You never actually own a garment; you are only caring for it until the next owner. Here are some ways to spruce up pre-loved clothes and make them feel like yours.

4 ways to get rid of smells in second-hand clothes

Perhaps you have bought a garment where the previous owner has used a sharp smelling fabric softener. Or it might reek of sweat. Many vintage items can also attract a foul odor after being stored in a closed-up, poorly ventilated space. To get rid of unwanted odors, please try these four methods:

Hang outside to air for days

This is ideal for clothes that only smell a little used, or for wool garments.

Soak in white distilled vinegar

Garments that smell extremely unpleasant can be saved if you give them a bath with water and white distilled vinegar. Tap up water in the tub, or a bowl, and add 1 dl of white distilled vinegar. Let the garment soak overnight and follow up by washing it in the washing machine.

Wash with Odor Control Detergent

For synthetic or cotton items we recommend you wash them with a detergent that breaks down the sweat molecules. Our Odor Control Laundry Detergent does exactly what it says. We developed it especially for sweaty workout clothes (synthetic clothes smell unpleasant after being worn just once) but it’s also perfect for second hand clothes that smell a little too much second hand. Not to be used on silk and wool though!

Spritz with Fabric Spray

The quickest and easiest way to spruce up garments and disguise stale odors is by spritzing the garment with our Fabric Spray. It will leave your clothes with a subtle but lasting scent of rose and musk. However, don't try this on extremely delicate clothes, like vintage silk, or other types of fabrics that should not be exposed to water.

How to clean a dirty label

Second hand clothes that are in overall good condition might feel unfresh if the brand label in the back is dirty. The label is easily soiled by sunblock or foundation.

Residue from sunblock:

  • Pretreat the stain with liquid detergent: Pour the detergent on the label and gently dab with a sponge or rub the label
  • Wash in 30ºC with liquid detergent (hot water, powder detergent or stain removers might make it permanent)

Residue from foundation:

  • Pretreat the label with a fat dissolvant; clear washing up liquid
  • Let it soak, then rub gently or dab with a sponge
  • Rinse the label or wash the whole garment

Bed bugs or other vermin in second hand garments

Some might argue you shouldn't buy second-hand textiles since you are at risk of bringing home bed bugs or other vermin. Nonsense, we say! First and foremost they are pretty rare, second, the problem is easily solved. Put your vintage garments in the freezer (-18ºC) for at least three days. Bed bugs are also killed when washing in minimum 60ºC, but far from all clothes can withstand those temperatures and washing programs. After the freezer you can wash your garments according to the instructions in the care label.

Wrinkled and misshapen clothes

Clothes that have been washed pre-sale (recommended, of course), might have lost their natural shape. This is especially true when it comes to clothes made of viscose, since they tend to shrink a lot when washed, or wool garments that are also easily deformed. Steam through the whole garment thoroughly before judging whether the fit is actually bad or that the garment is just a little bit abused from the washing. Read more about unshrinking garments.

If garments have been washed with the wrong detergent

Don’t be afraid of buying second-hand garments made of wool and silk, even though they require special care. The enzymes in a regular detergent will gradually eat the proteins in the wool. You’ll notice that the garment is full of small holes. Most wool garments will survive one mistreatment. Silk fabrics will become dry and fragile if washed with regular detergent. If the fabric feels brittle, it’s an indication that the garment has been mistreated.

There is no miracle cure for wool and silk garments that have been repeatedly washed with the wrong detergent, they have to be retired and dropped off at the recycling station. If you find a silk and wool garment that is in decent shape, be sure to wash it with our specialized Delicate Laundry Detergent.

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