Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cleaning Vintage Goodies

Cleaning stuff! Not the most fun thing, but its all part of the vintage biz. Old stuff is supposed to look old, but it shouldn't look dirty and broken.

I spend a lot of time cleaning stuff, Actually most of the cleaning I do is getting rid of the packing tape, stickers and wax crayon marks from the thrift shops doing. Thrift shops love packing tape! They most go through a roll every 5 minutes!

Here are some of my top cleaning supplies:

Bar Keepers Friend, or as us vintage sellers refer to it as BKF. This is a must have! I heard about it for a while and never got around to actually using it until last year. Why did I wait so long!? This product is best used on Pyrex and enamel ware. (pots, pans etc) I have been able to make blackened pots white! Seriously WHITE! I do not have before and after pics of anything. Mostly because my hands are so wet and full of chemicals that I don't want to touch my camera.

So what works for me is that I slightly wet the inside of my Pyrex (for example), then I pour in some BKF and scrub the bejeezus out of it. Then I rinse and soak in bleach cleaner (next pic) I think some people consider bleach a big no-no when it comes to vintage items, but honestly, I use it all the time with no issues. So after it has had the BFK and bleach treatment, if it still has some remnants, I give it another BFK treatment. Works like magic. I was floored the first time I used it, then I kicked myself for not using it earlier. I feel like I am an unpaid spokesperson for this product.

Yep, a bleach product! I use it and I am not ashamed. It works, I find this product is less abrasive than full on bleach, plus it comes in a handy spray container. I have even used this to spot treat vintage sheets (white ones, of course) It never ate through anything. Maybe I am pressing my luck, but I have used bleach for years with no problems. And it works great on vintage plastic toys.

Do I even need to tell you about Magic Eraser? It truly is magic. I'm not quite sure how this even works, but it does. This is good on almost everything. Get the smaller squares or cut the larger ones in half. You will get more use out of them.

I go through gallons of this! Goo Gone. Mostly to undo the packing tape frenzy that the thrift store employees do. I use this and an old credit card. Credit cards are softer to scrape with than a metal scraper which could damage the item by scratching it. I spray this on, wait a few minutes than scrape forever. This is my least favorite cleaning job.

This is a great little item for touching up little nicks and scratches in wood items. Wood stain marker, available at Lowes and Home Depot. I find that this color "Early American" is the most universal. It is light enough for the lighter wood products, and if you leave it on longer or do a second coat, it works well with darker wood too.

I know many of you also have some great cleaning tips and I would love to hear them!

Share the info!

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  1. Great tips, Tara! I use a lot of the same stuff. For fabric stains, I like to use slightly diluted lemon juice and direct sunlight. For vintage stank- that mildewy, been in storage 100 years smell- a wash in white vinegar often helps. If it's something that's machine washable, I dump in vinegar and baking soda for a fizzy yuck buster.

    1. I heard vinegar was a good cleaner. Ive never tried it.

    2. At first there is a smell, but it quickly dissipates.

  2. These are great suggestions! I have recently started shopping at my local vintage shops but passed on items that looked as if they would be too difficult to clean up. I love the fact that all the products mentioned are easily found in the grocery store saving me from having to make a special trip.

    Merilyn @ Sanford Company