Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cleaning Your Thrifted Finds: Tools from the Dollar Store


The best thrift store bargains often come with dirt, grime, and stains. You have to dig to the bottom of decades-old boxes to find your sticky prize! A damp cloth or soak in warm water is usually sufficient, but sticky old tape glue, permanent marker, grease pins, and stubborn stains sometimes take extra effort.

I thought I'd try out some dollar store tools to clean up my vintage finds. They're pictured above and include a Quick Eraser (generic "Magic Eraser"), Goo Gone, and two cute nail brushes.


A lightly moistened Quick Eraser scrubs off annoying price stickers and residue with ease. It's perfect for cleaning up hard plastic vintage items, but be careful using them on painted glass and tin. It can scrub the paint right off the item! 

Goo Gone is good for cleaning up residue from very stubborn old tape and labels.You can use it to "polish" glass or plastic and get it nice and shiny like new. As a bonus, it leaves a clean citrus scent behind. Yum!

The cute little nail brushes are good for scrubbing dirt and crime that gets between grooves and general cleaning. I think I'll try using them on my nails next because they get filthy when I get down and dirty hunting fr good vintage!

You don't have to pay a lot for tools to clean your vintage finds. Just shell out 1 to 3 bucks at the dollar store. What do you use to clean up your vintage finds?
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30 comments:

  1. AMEN on Goo gone!! I hate those stickers they put on merchandise at the thrift stores, and sometimes they are VERY stubborn, but it works after letting it set a minute or two. I am a book lover and was always disturbed when they put the sticker on the spine of the fragile old books. Sometimes it would damage the book when I tried to remove it. But I have found that putting a little goo gone on the sticker and letting it set for a while takes care of that!! Also LOVE the magic erasers!!!

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    1. I hate when they use stickers, permanent marker, and grease pens on vintage books. For shame!

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  2. I didn't realize you could get all those at the dollar store. I've got to start shopping the dollar store more often!

    Thanks for sharing your tips :)

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    1. I'm not sure how the generic magic erasers compare to the name brand ones. I may have to test and find out...but these $1 2 packs work well!

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    2. Crumble a little faster, but not fast enough for me to pay for the name brand!

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    3. Ah ha, thanks for the tip!

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  3. goo gone or a hair dryer. i should pick up one of those erasers too.

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    1. The erasers do a good job with stickers!

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  4. Just the other day I was thinking I need to buy some goo gone. I usually use dish soap and water. I also buy "Never-Dull" and "Wrights" silver cream polish for my silverplated items. The "Never-Dull" smells though so I wouldn't suggest it on anything that you would eat off. I normally use it for brass items, brass lamps, etc.

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  6. Simple Green! It works great on anything for general cleaning (and it's non-toxic).

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  7. I use a lot of good ole baking soda. I like Simple Green as well.

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    1. My reseller friend uses Simple Green too. I was using some lavender scented "all natural" biokleen stuff since it was all I had in the house at the time for a while. Worked fine!

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  8. Thanks for the tips, and as Rachael said a hair dryer does wonders for removing price labels on paper.

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  9. I use glass cleaner a lot to clean up metals and items with an enamel finish. It's strong enough to remove dirt, yet won't destroy a finish.

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  10. Rubbing alcohol to cleanse books - light amount on a cloth cleans off fingerprints and grime on any book (not on cloth though-best those with shiny surfaces and book jackets). We used it in the used bookstore I used to work at.

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    1. Oh, nice tip! I'll have to try this one, I have plenty of rubbing alcohol on hand.

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  11. Haha to scrubbing the nails! I like my junkin' downright dirty, Van. I always worry when I walk into a store and it's too clean. LOL. We'd get along just fine.

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    1. You really do have to get down and dirty to get the best stuff for the best prices!

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  12. Love your blog, Vanessa!

    I use the Goo Gone to clean the dust jackets of books. Just wipe them with a cloth with a little Goo Gone and then wipe it off with a slightly damp cloth and a dry towel if necessary.

    My crystal and glassware I clean in warm water with a bit of dish soap and vinegar. The vinegar keeps any dish soap residue from being left behind on the glass so they really sparkle. If the glass or crystal is a cut glass, I dip a toothbrush into the water and then into a dish of baking soda and then lightly scrub the cut areas with the toothbrush. (The baking soda and the vinegar mildly react and does wonders for cleaning out the crevices). A quick rinse and dry and ta da!

    I own an antique, vintage and next-to-new furniture and home decor store so have acquired quite a few trick-of-the-trade.

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  13. I'm a big fan of denture cleanser to get the insides of bottles and thermoses shiny clean. It's cheap and non-toxic! I've never purchased any at a dollar store, but I bet they sell it.

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  14. Love this! One of my best pleasures "after the hunt" is cleaning things up & bringing them back to beautiful. Great tips above - I've made notes! I love the magic erasers too & use them a lot but to reiterate the above, use caution! I used one to try to get some black scuffs off a beautiful, shiney vintage Samsonite luggage piece and dulled the areas I used it on which looked almost as bad as the black scuffs :- ( Also would like to add another GREAT Dollar Store find called "Awesome" - a liquid cleaner that REALLLY get's the toughest stuff clean. Great blog!
    ~Vickie~

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  15. These are all great tips!! Thanks for sharing everyone!

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  16. If you ever buy anything that you feel has value, a rookie mistake is to clean it.
    Dirt, dust, all the gunk, tells the age and what it's been through.

    However if you're going to use it in everyday life and enjoy it, by all means clean the heck out of it.

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  17. These local cover cleaning organizations are giving the best and in addition viable cleaning method for your own covering prerequisites. Quality Property Care

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