The Resellers' Ultimate Guide to Stain Removal
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OneShop Team
1 min read

This is a common reseller horror story: Sourcing something "perfect" only to come home and find a stain that somehow managed to escape your hawk eye the first time you saw it. You cannot return it anymore, and yet you're not confident about listing it. So, what's a smart seller thing to do?

Note that this dilemma is not exclusive to resellers who source from thrift shops. Even those who sell their own pre-loved items have to deal with stained clothing, shoes, or bags. With that in mind, we are tackling tips that may help erase either longstanding or fresh stains. Read on and take what would be applicable in your case.

Before we go into specifics, here are some general tips to get you started.

  • Identify the type of stain (or the closest to it) if you can. We know this is not always possible for thrifted items, but it wouldn't hurt to take a closer look and assess the stain for a proper course of action.
  • Consider the fabric or material of the stained item. You may want to take extra care in treating stained clothing made of delicate fabrics and shoes or bags made of leather. Make sure the product you are using can be used on the material with the stain.
  • Take action immediately. Even though there may be an urge to bury the problematic piece under a pile of clothes, you would want to deal with it now. Whether it's an old or new stain, the best time to treat it is as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.
  • Try spot cleaning. For fresh stains on your clothes that you intend to save and sell in the future, firmly press a clean piece of white cloth or paper towel on the area to absorb excess liquids or pigment (from red wine or lipstick, for example). Be careful not to rub beyond the stain to avoid spreading it. If it's a special fabric that needs dry cleaning, take it to the cleaners right away after blotting. Otherwise, make a paste out of baking soda and cold or sparkling water. Treat the spot with this mixture before carefully washing the entire thing.
  • Stock up on reliable stain remover essentials. It's good to have Tide To-Go or similar effective stain remover sticks for a quick fix. These may not magically erase the problem area all the time, but it's a fine first aid if you're on the go. If you often source and list leather items, consider investing in special products that are proven to work wonders on this material so you can easily reach for it if needed.
  • Use bleach with caution. While bleach may initially sound like a good idea to "hide" the stained spot, its strong formula could do much more harm than good. In some cases, treating the area with bleach may be possible as a final step – when there are only tiny traces of the stain, and you want to brighten and refresh the clothing (which, according to its wash care label, must be compatible with bleach). You may want to pick a small inconspicuous area such as an interior seam to patch-test to make sure it's safe for the fabric. The same goes for using rubbing alcohol to remove the stain.

Stain-specific removal tips

Below are a few tried and true methods to remove specific stains from clothing:

  • Wine and bright-colored juices. Aside from baking soda, you can also try white wine (if treating red wine) or blotting ice-cold or carbonated water with salt. Some experts suggest an additional step for stains that don't appear to budge: rinsing the spot with hot water and white vinegar. If you don't want to take the DIY route, there are stain removers dedicated to wine stains you might like to try.
  • Coffee and Tea. Old black stains caused by these liquids may be lifted by a soaking solution composed of warm water and a bit of dishwashing liquid or white vinegar (or both). Rinse with cool water before laundering with care.
  • Sweat marks. For those pesky pit marks, try blotting with water and a bit of baking soda or hydrogen peroxide (a gentle bleach) using a cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse with cold water and dab on some acid such as lemon or white vinegar. Leave the treatment on for up to 30 minutes before the final rinse.
  • Blood and tomato-based sauces. Hydrogen peroxide may do the work here as well. The edges are usually the last to come off, so follow the procedure for sweat marks and repeat the steps if still needed. Avoid drying it with hot air unless the stain is completely gone.
  • Lipstick. If it's a fresh stain, try putting a piece of clear tape over it. Press gently before peeling off. Next, choose from rubbing alcohol, dishwashing liquid, or even hairspray to mix with water. Rinse the stain spot with cold water.
  • Ink. Try liquid laundry detergent or nail polish remover for more subtle stains like ballpoint pen lines and dots. For harsher ones like those from black markers, soak in milk for an hour to overnight.
  • Oil and grease. Blot the stain with baking soda or dishwashing liquid without water. It's important to work on a dry area when treating grease or oil stains. Leave the solution on for a few minutes. Same with blood, avoid drying with hot air if the stain is still there.
  • Stains on leather clothing, shoes, and bags. As mentioned earlier, investing in a tried-and-tested product made especially for leather would be best. You may also give gentle cleansers such as baking soda, cornstarch, liquid laundry detergent, or dishwashing liquid a go. Mix with water and blot with a clean cloth, paper towel, or gently brush with a small toothbrush.

If, by any chance, the stain remains stubborn after trying one or more of the tips, you may still try to list it but be sure to disclose this in the description and photo. Your potential buyers need to know this and decide for themselves if they want to pursue the purchase. Consider pricing the item lower accordingly and make sure the flaw is communicated with your buyer.

A smart way of listing

It's a relief to know that a stain, even a stubborn one, could be removed and still be sold, especially if you list it on two or more reselling platforms.

While you can cross-list manually, this will take a lot of your time and effort. Not to mention the trouble that could arise from mix-ups. In a rapidly changing selling environment, cross-listing is becoming the best way for resellers to take back control – but only if you automate it.

OneShop's intuitive listing features include Smart Autofill, auto delisting, and duplicating listings. It also lets you schedule listings up to a week in advance. With its Smart Listing Prices, you can even have a different price for each marketplace calculated automatically to take different selling fees into account.

Though impressive features, these are not the best yet, as OneShop continuously comes up with new ways to improve the listing process with updates and exciting features regularly. Using the app just gets better and better.

If you're looking for the perfect automation system to help you succeed in online reselling, OneShop is here for you. Visit OneShop to learn more, or directly sign-up here to start your 7-day free trial today.

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