Does Goodwill Wash Clothes?

Most people don’t know what Goodwill does to the donations they get, though it’s important to know what happens with them before items end up in your closet. When purchasing from this place, you may wonder if Goodwill washes its clothes.

Goodwill does not wash clothes donated to them. Their employees will use deodorizers and antibacterial chemicals to remove odors and other issues, but that is as far as they go. The vanilla scent people smell from these clothes comes from those products.

If Goodwill doesn’t wash clothes, why do they have a particular smell? How can you remove foul odors from second-hand clothes?

In this article, we’ll talk about that, and we’ll also discuss other thrift stores.

Does Goodwill Wash Clothes?

Most thrift stores don’t wash the clothes they receive, Goodwill included. In fact, they expect people to wash any piece of clothing before they donate them. Certain places used to wash clothes but stopped shortly after the turn of the 21st century due to budget reasons.

However, thrift store employees will check the clothes they receive. They’ll inspect the pockets to see if there’s anything inside and make sure anything they receive is up to a certain standard.

Should I Wash Clothes From Goodwill?

You should wash anything you get from Goodwill or any other thrift store. Goodwill won’t wash donations, no matter how they are received. Thrift stores are the same way. 

Still, no stores will accept something so bad that it’s unwearable.

Goodwill rejects donations daily. Employees know not to accept anything soiled or too smelly. However, that doesn’t mean you can grab anything off the rack and wear them as soon as you pay for it.

It’s always a good idea to wash anything you get from Goodwill or any other thrift store, no matter how good these clothes seem or smell. 

What Is the Goodwill Smell?

The Goodwill smell comes from deodorizers and antibacterial products. Goodwill employees spray donations to remove any lingering odors from the clothes they get. However, it is good to remember that spraying clothes is not the same as washing them.

Some believe Goodwill uses cheap laundry soap, but they don’t use any at all because they don’t wash clothes. They spray them with deodorizer and call it a day. If you feel like wearing Goodwill clothes off the rack, don’t. Wash them before you do.

When you get near clothes from Goodwill, you’ll often smell something similar to vanilla (but not quite the same). That scent comes from a generic spray employees use throughout Goodwill locations.  At the same time, some Goodwill stores use vanilla air fresheners, reinforcing that smell on clothes. However, most agree this smell is far from pleasant.

Although these sprays are not dangerous, wearing something with a weird odor can be troublesome. Because of that, it’s always a good idea to wash donated clothes before you wear them.

How Do I Get the Smell Out of My Clothes From Goodwill?

You can get the smell out of your clothes from Goodwill by putting them in the washing machine. Most donations may have a weird scent, but it is not difficult to deal with that. If putting the clothes in the washing machine doesn’t do the trick, DIY sprays may help.

After coming back from Goodwill with a bag of clothes, it’s best to hang everything you got outside to air them for a bit. After that, put them in the washing machine. If that doesn’t cut it, vinegar and baking soda will most likely do the trick.

However, the smell may linger after using vinegar and baking soda. In this case, you may want to use your own odor-eliminating spray or similar product.

If you’re wondering whether there are less invasive ways of getting the Goodwill smell out of your clothes, check my article about washing clothes without detergent.

Is It Safe To Wear Thrift Store Clothes?

There’s nothing wrong with wearing thrift store clothes if you take the necessary precautions. Check the clothes for any possible issues before taking them home, and give them a thorough wash when you arrive at your house.

You can wash thrift store clothes any way you want. Whether you use the washing machine or hand wash them doesn’t matter. Sometimes, foul odors will linger on thrift store clothes, even after putting them in the washing machine, so hand washing may be necessary.

How Do Thrift Stores Wash Clothes?

Most thrift stores do not wash clothes. Instead, they spray them with deodorizer products or something similar. Thrift stores ask people to wash clothes before donating them, though there’s no guarantee everyone does it.

Thrift stores are not a charity. Their owners want to make as much money as possible. For that reason, they stopped washing donations decades ago. Instead, they instruct their employees to spray their clothes, which is a much cheaper way of dealing with odors.

Are You Supposed To Wash Clothes Before Donating?

You are supposed to wash clothes before donating them. Goodwill employees don’t have the time or budget to wash the donations they get. However, they will not refuse acceptable donations if someone has not washed them.

It’s not mandatory for anyone to wash what they want to donate. Most Goodwill employees are happy to take anything you send their way. Still, they’re instructed to refuse anything that smells too bad.

What Can I Donate to Goodwill?

Goodwill stores will accept almost any type of clothing you want to donate as long as it’s fit for use. For example, you shouldn’t donate soiled clothes. Other than that, you can donate almost anything you can think of.

Did you know you can donate vehicles to Goodwill? That’s right! So, they’re more than happy to take anything from your wardrobe. Make sure you donate something other people want to wear, not something that’s one gentle breeze away from falling apart.

Final Thoughts

Goodwill doesn’t wash the clothes people donate. Employees spray them with deodorizer and antibacterial chemicals. Most will smell a weird vanilla scent on Goodwill clothes, which comes from the deodorizer and the vanilla air fresheners from these stores. You must wash clothes from Goodwill before wearing them.