Home Tips & Guide The Mystery of Goodwill Clothes: Does Goodwill Wash the Clothes They Sell?

The Mystery of Goodwill Clothes: Does Goodwill Wash the Clothes They Sell?

Introduction: Goodwill is a popular thrift store chain where people donate used items like clothing, furniture, books, and more. Shoppers can find great bargains at Goodwill, but some wonder about the cleanliness of the clothing. Does Goodwill actually wash the used clothes before selling them? Let’s find out.

The Mystery of Goodwill Clothes: Does Goodwill Wash the Clothes
The Mystery of Goodwill Clothes: Does Goodwill Wash the Clothes

The Mystery of Goodwill Clothes: Washed or Not?

The Donation and Processing Procedure When clothing and textiles are donated to Goodwill, they go through an organized process before being placed on the sales floor. Here are some of the steps:

Donations are sorted

Clothing is sorted by category like shirts, pants, jackets, etc.

Stains and damage are removed

Heavily stained or damaged items are filtered out.

Clothes are loosely categorized

Similar items are grouped together by size, style, etc.

Clothes are steam-cleaned

Goodwill uses industrial steamers to remove odors and freshen up garments.

The Steam Cleaning Process

Instead of using traditional washing machines, Goodwill relies on steam cleaning. Here’s why.

It’s faster

Steam-cleaning is much quicker than conventional laundering.

Saves water

Steam uses less water than washing which is more eco-friendly.

Gentler on fabrics

Steam is less likely to damage or shrink clothes.

Removes odors/stains

The heat kills bacteria and lifts stains from fabric.

No detergent residue

Steam leaves no detergent smell or residue on clothes.

While not as deep a clean as actual laundering, steam-cleaning offers an efficient way for Goodwill to freshen up used donations.

Should You Wash Items Again?

While the steam process removes odors, some recommend washing thrifted clothes again yourself. This ensures:

It reaches high temperature

Home washers use very hot water for germ killing.

Detergent removes all residue

Laundry detergent further disinfects.

Clothes are thoroughly rinsed

All soap and particles are washed away.

You inspect for stains

Check for any stains that may need pre-treating.

For peace of mind, consider doing an extra wash yourself. But rest assured Goodwill takes steps to clean and sanitize all used clothes before selling.

Here’s your Goodwill washing checklist

Always wash or dry clean all Goodwill clothes before wearing them. This ensures any lingering dirt, dust, or allergens are removed.

Check for specific care instructions on the label. Follow these directions for washing and drying to avoid shrinkage or damage.

Consider using a fabric softener. Goodwill clothes might have been sitting for a while, so a softener can help revive their feel and scent.

Air dry items when possible. This is gentler on delicate fabrics and reduces the risk of shrinking.

Remember, washing your Goodwill finds is crucial for hygiene and comfort. But don’t let this deter you from exploring the amazing deals and unique finds Goodwill has to offer!

Beyond the wash: Be extra cautious with items that might have been exposed to pets or allergens. You may want to skip those altogether if you have sensitivities.

Keep an eye out for any potential defects or stains. Goodwill usually prices accordingly, but it’s still good practice to double-check before purchasing.

Embrace the adventure! The thrill of finding a hidden gem and giving it a new lease on life is part of the charm of secondhand shopping.

The verdict: While Goodwill clothes might not be pre-washed, the potential savings and thrill of a bargain are often worth the extra washing steps. With a little caution and care, you can transform that thrift store find into your next favorite wardrobe staple.

So, happy hunting, thrifty friends! Remember, a little love and a good wash can turn yesterday’s castaways into tomorrow’s treasures.


Goodwill does not use traditional laundering to clean donated clothes. Rather, they utilize industrial steamers that remove odors and freshen up textiles efficiently. While not deep cleaning, it offers a universal approach to processing high volumes of clothing. For extra protection, you can always re-wash thrifted clothes once you bring them home. Either way, giving used clothes new life keeps them out of landfills.

Don’t forget To

Share your own Goodwill washing tips and hacks in the comments!

Spread the word about the joys of responsible fashion and shopping secondhand.

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