What to Do with Stained Clothing

Updated on November 21, 2012
A.B. asks from Portland, OR
11 answers


I am wondering what I should do with my kids' outgrown clothes that are stained? Does Goodwill take stained clothing? These are things that are in perfectly good condition, with plenty of wear left, they just have stains that I can't get out. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.....

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answers from Eugene on

I freecycle things that Goodwill doesn't take. www.freecycle.org

Others are often eager to take items that I might have thrown away.

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answers from Portland on

I must heartily disagree with the suggestions that women's shelters and clothing closets are a good place to donate stained clothes. I know it's meant well, however, these agencies are providing services to people who are having a difficult time as it is, and bluntly speaking, nobody wants to be down and out and wearing someone else's stained clothes. For folks whose options are limited, having to see your kid wearing dirty (yes, stained is dirty) clothes just makes you feel more discouraged. I know there's a mindset that we shouldn't be wasteful, but consider the dignified and humane aspect: many of the women who use these resources are trying hard to turn their lives around, and this may include leaving everything in the middle of the night to leave a dangerous home situation with nothing. This happens on a regular basis. For a child to have stained clothes as their ONLY option--That's heartbreaking to me...kids are more aware than we think. My rule of thumb is that if it's not good enough for my own family or to pass along to friends, I use it for housecleaning rags. Or you could ask friends if they want them for grubbies/messy art, where these clothes won't be what they wear to school and out and about. In that case, the stained clothes aren't their only choice, and that makes all the difference in the world.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Love Inc takes clothes to help out needy people too. Also, a place called the Sunshine Pantry in Beaverton. That way you will know they help people out.



answers from Portland on

If you are part of a faith community, there is probably a family your pastor-type person knows who could use a bunch of sturdy clothes. Local gradeschools might also be able to hook you up.

Also, you can just ask, other young families you might know. We inherit stuff from a family down the block, and used to inherit from two or three family friends where we used to live. About half of the families have asked that extremely awkward question, "Are you ok with used underwear?" My answer is "yes of course," some families (I presume) the answer would be "NO!" ... but I'm glad they asked.

I'm glad to hear from your first answerer that Goodwill type places sell stuff for recycling. I'd never heard that, and have avoided giving them Really Used stuff because I figured it just went in the landfill anyhow ... I'll have to look into that.

I do also have at least one friend who bargain-hunts at the Goodwill bin-sale outlet, where they dump all the missing buttons, stained, or dirty clothes into bins and sell it by the pound. She's pretty good at removing stains, so this works for her ...



answers from Seattle on

I would use them for play clothes or throw them away, If there not good enough for your kids, why would you give them to other kids??



answers from Seattle on

I have donated stained clothing to Goodwill, as well as bought used and stained clothing from Goodwill. A few of the things I've used have become Halloween costumes (cut up, dyed, glued and sewn) or cover-up smocks for painting. It's not the end of the world if something is stained in our house - it either gets re-invented, or worn around the house only (not out to special events or school). If something's too far gone, I throw it out - yes, in the trash! Or cut it up and use it for a rag.



answers from Portland on

Hi A.,

I have this problem myself. The Goodwill web site (link: http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about/howweoperate/don...) states you shouldn't donate "soiled items".

You could try contacting a local women's shelter to see if they have a need for such clothing. (That's also a great way to recycle your old clothing.)


answers from Seattle on

"Shout" has a stain remover for old stains and it works quite well.



answers from Seattle on

Play clothes for your kids. Your older daughter's clothes can be worn for knock around by your younger daughter. As the baby outgrows them, if they still have use, then you can donate them, but if you're not willing to put your daughter in them why would anyone else want to have their child wear them? Just because you've donated them doesn't mean people should or would wear them. There are organizations that will take used clothing that is no longer wearable for scrap, where they shred the clothing and recycle the fiber. That might be the Salvation Army, give them a call.



answers from Seattle on

If you think you may have any use for them in the future, box them and keep them - or you could give them to friends or family members. I received a bunch of clothes for my daughter from my sister and some of them had stains - but I mostly did not mind, especially on onesies or if the stains were not obvious...
I would however never spend money on used clothes with stains (though I do buy second hand clothing quite a bit).

Now organizations like goodwill actually don't collect your clothes to give them away, they sell them and use the money to support their programs. Donated items that are not resale quality will be sold in bulk, for example to be made into pulp for paper production - basically recycling.

You could also try to give them away on freecycle... just be specific about what condition they're in. Some people may not mind, others may simply reuse them for craft/art/sewing projects.



answers from Medford on

Goodwill does take stained clothes. One friend bought a stained kids' jacket and turned it into a jacket for her dog.

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