Consignment Best Practices: Cleaning Tips

We’re sharing strategies for consignment success in our Consignment Best Practices Series. These are general guidelines - please always check our Consignment Page for current information.

Due to the volume of consignment we process, we do not clean, steam, iron or otherwise fix your items. When consignment orders are process and entered into our database, they go directly to our sales floor. To maximize the number of items we accept, it's important to review all of your pieces for cleanliness.

Prior to bringing in clothing, make sure your items are recently cleaned & pressed if necessary (items excessively wrinkled will be rejected). Here are some of the most common problem areas with potential remedies:

Dawn Ultra Soap


For just about everything, my first go-to is Dawn Ultra Gentle Clean. This is especially great for fine fabrics such as silk or chiffon. I have used this successfully for all the problem areas listed below! As described in this video, you can generally put the soap directly onto the stain, gently rub it in, let it soak, rinse out and wash piece as usual. I like to mix with just a bit of water. For fine fabrics, after cleaning stain, rinse with room-temp water and air dry.

deodorant stain


Deodorant build-up & stains are often overlooked unless you are specifically looking for it. Remember to look at both the outside and inside of the arm pit area. I have successfully cleaned with Dawn for fine fabrics, but if you have sturdier fabrics or a fair amount of build-up, try the following trick, as shown in this video:

  1. Pour baking soda on the stained/ build-up area
  2. Pour white vinegar on area. Allow vinegar to react with the baking soda
  3. Lightly scrub with brush to remove built-up deodorant
  4. Wash per garment instructions

Other suggestions I've seen including dryer sheets & vinegar have not worked well for me.

oil satin


We've all been there - mid-way between your plate and your mouth - oops, there goes the food! Oil stains are also just about as hard to detect as they are common. Definitely take a close look at the chest area of your clothes with a bright light to detect oil stains.

For oil stains Dawn is the best option, even the regular blue version works well (use ultra gentle for fine fabrics). The heavier the stain, the longer you should let it soak. If you really come across a stubborn oil stain, try the steps outlined in this video which include "activating" the stain with WD-40, brushing with baking soda & then using dish soap to clean.

makeup stains


Make-up often transfers to your tops when you're taking them on or off after applying make-up. Taking care of these stains immediately is going to save you a lot of time trying to get it out later. The most common recommendations for different types of make-up include:

  • Foundation: spray rubbing alcohol & wipe off with a rag or apply & rub-in shaving cream, rinse it out, and wash as normal.
  • Lipstick: carefully dab off excess with paper towel and use dish soap similar to an oil stain.
  • Powder/ eye-shadow: remove excess powder with tape, careful not to rub the powder into the garment. Then use normal cleaning methods, pre-soak if necessary.

Because of the high oil content in most foundations & lip-stick, Dawn remains a great option!


We are trained to find stains and have much better lighting than most of you have in your home, so never feel bad if we find stains that you didn't see yourself. However, the more you can find & treat stains before bringing items in, the faster the consignment process will be!

We will do our best to let you know where stains are found on your clothing, and if we might take the item if the stain is gone, but we cannot point out every stain or defect.

Lastly, because we're all humans, after all: please take a look at the inside crotch-area of all your bottoms, because **even when washed** we'd like to avoid those unpleasant surprises.