Laundering Before Listing

I received a great question on my Instagram account the other day that I thought deserved a longer explanation here. (P.S. – If you’re on Instagram, follow me at @thriftflipper, or click the link on my sidebar on the blog!)

Laundering and shipping. From a newbie stand point I would to see what you do to get your items ready to ship and how you package them for shipping.

The shipping part I address here, but I want to go over the laundering part in this post.

Per eBay policy, all used clothing must be “properly cleaned and the listing must clearly state that the item is used.”

I usually wash and dry my clothing before photographing it, since it’s possible that a garment might look slightly different after being washed. I usually pre-treat any dirty spots with Shout (as long as it’s not a delicate fabric), wash on cold, and either tumble dry on low (if it’s cotton or synthetic) or lay flat to dry (wool, silk, or anything that might shrink).

A few tips:

  • Color catchers are a great extra precaution if you’re washing colorful garments. Throwing one in the wash will soak up any leaked dye that might ruin your other clothes. (This is especially helpful with dark-wash jeans.)
  • For “Dry Clean Only” clothes, you have a couple options: hand wash or use an at-home dry cleaner kit. I gently hand wash sweaters and some silks with a mild detergent, rinse, roll it up in a towel to remove excess water, and lay flat to dry. I’ll use a dry-cleaning kit on something like a blazer or a sturdy dress. I’ve been happy with both the Woolite and Dryel kits. I do NOT recommend using the kits on silk, though. I’ve done this before with a Kate Spade silk top, and it left splotchy grease marks all over it. (The horror!) Thankfully, a trip to the actual dry cleaners got the splotches out, but I won’t be taking my chances again!
  • I do not recommend using heavily scented detergents or dryer sheets when cleaning clothing. Some people are especially sensitive to fragrances, so it’s best to stick with fragrance-free products when possible.

I do love getting questions from readers. Please feel free to ask away, if there’s anything you’d like to know!


10 thoughts on “Laundering Before Listing

  1. Thanks for all your tips. I have sold vintage toys for many years on eBay but would like to move more into clothing. I loved seeing your eBay closet on Instagram. Hubby and I live in a small townhouse, and I realize that I can devote some closet space to clothing. Good to know it can be done in a small space too without overwhelming our living space!


    • Thank you! I would have no idea where to begin with vintage toys! There’s always so much to learn with eBay, isn’t there?

      I’m glad you like the closet picture on instagram. Before we moved into our current house a few months ago, I kept everything folded on one shelf of a storage rack in our bonus room. It was not nearly as organized, and having a whole closet devoted to eBay now feels downright palatial. 🙂


  2. Totally off topic, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU! After reading your blog from start to finish I decided to follow my heart and really curate my store. I have been trying to move away from clothes because most of the other blogs I read talk about what a headache they are. But I love thrifting for clothes!! Looking at old (vintage) knick knacks and mugs just isn’t where my heart is. I was able to find quite a few Anthropologie and UO label this week because I looked at items I wouldn’t normally look at (t-shirts, tanks, etc). And I just had a sale on a top I listed yesterday!! So excited! 🙂

    A little “about me” since I plan on checking back! I am a SAHM of one little girl. Ebay is perfect for me because I can work on it while she naps or sleeps (sleeping now!). I love the thrill of the “hunt” and passing on a great piece to someone else at a great price. Not trying to get rich, just trying to make a little extra to cover all of those expenses that pop up (hello, car insurance deductible) on a single income. We also follow Dave’s advice and are currently saving for a house. Thanks for sharing your journey!


    • Thank you for saying hi and introducing yourself, Joelle! I am totally flattered that you would take the time to read all my posts. I am really happy to hear that you’re going to dive deeper into clothing. I have been so happy doing so myself. I’m totally with you–I check out mugs, toys, books, etc every now and then, but it’s just not appealing to me at this point.

      And you sound just like me, minus one girl and student loan debt. 🙂 Do come back! I would love to hear how reselling is going for you. Please let me know if there is anything you’d like me to write about!


      • I would love to hear more about your listing process and what equipment you use (mannequin & camera specifically!). So far I have been using my iPhone and a piece of foam board for a white background. I REALLY need to invest in a mannequin, but the tightwad in me is screaming! Lol!


  3. I also launder all items coming in to my home for listing. But what about dry cleaning? I could easily go broke with sweaters,coats, dresses etc. Any suggestions?


    • Hello! The next to last bullet point in the blog post talks about Dry Clean Only items. I’ll avoid buying any stained dry clean items, but if they just need some freshening up, those kits work fine!


  4. It’s so funny that we’re all a little different. I only wash items when they have a weird smell. I haven’t gotten any complaints. If there’s a stain, I most likely just re-donate it and kick myself in the butt for missing it at the store (unless it’s a high dollar item).


  5. When I have purchased items at Goodwill for personal use, I have had a real problem laundering out the smell (what is that?). I would imagine that smell could be a real turnoff for a buyer. Do you have any tips for eliminating that “thrift store odor”?


    • Great question! Airing it outside usually does the trick. I just hang any particularly smelly clothes on a drying rack in the shade for about an hour or so.


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