We've found the best ways to clean your brilliant charity shop finds

Found a diamond in the rough? Here’s how to turn those slightly scruffy second-hand buys into star pieces.

Updated

gray sofa with blanket and colorful cushion

At Cleanipedia we love a charity shop bargain. Unfortunately, even the most sensational discoveries can be thwarted by an unsightly stain, or simply look sad after years of grime and dirt build-up. But all is not lost. With these smart cleaning tips, you’ll be turning even the most sullied items into the highlights of your home.

Found some fab second-hand curtains? Here’s how to clean them

Curtains are the bad boys of dust and pollution accumulation. All that hanging around makes them magnets for dirt. The good news is that most curtains are machine washable – just make sure to set a delicate wash and cold water. Fine fabrics such as lace will be better off being hand washed. If velvet drapes are your thing, the safe option is to dry clean. For a more in-depth look, check out our guide to curtain cleaning methods and products.

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The best way to clean a sheepskin rug

Tackling a genuine sheepskin rug may appear daunting, but they are relatively easy to wash. The important thing to remember is that you are not just working with wool, but the leather backing as well. If the rug is old (15-20 years), then it’s probably best to leave it alone as the aged leather may crumble if it gets wet. Otherwise, a gentle brushing followed by hand washing in lukewarm water should see the rug back to its former, fluffy glory.

Cleaning children’s toys

Charity shops can be a gold mine for kid’s toys, but you’ll want to ensure they are sanitary before letting the little ones loose on them. Most soft toys, such as teddy bears, can go in the washing machine — use warm water and regular detergent — and finished in the tumble dryer. Top tip: if you’re worried about mites nestled in the fur, put the toy in the freezer overnight.

Wipe wooden toys down with a cloth soaked in white vinegar. Hard plastic, like Lego, is good to go in the dishwasher (put everything in a laundry bag to keep it together), while softer plastic that might melt at high temperatures needs a soapy hand wash. Add vinegar and baking soda to the water for an extra touch of sanitising.

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Removing stains from upholstery: it can be done

Yep, it is possible to remove stains from furniture upholstery. First up, you need to vacuum the fabric to get rid of dust and any pet hair. Then, use a cleaning solution on the offending mark. Try dabbing with a laundry detergent and warm water solution and allow to dry. If after a couple of goes the stain persists, call in the big guns and use a commercial cleaner. Top tip: the dabbing process may need to be repeated a number of times over a few days, but your patience should be rewarded with fabrics that are bright and fresh-looking. Looking for more tips on upholstery cleaning? Check out our guide.

Put these tips to work so that next time you are trawling a charity shop you’ll know you won’t have to pass on a piece just because of a troublesome stain.

Originally published