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How To Clean Pre-Owned Inventory
To clean or not to clean is a good question. For the most part, I clean, generally people buying pre-owned merchandise want nice items that don't look dirty and used, although there are exceptions, such as people wanting items that have that broken-in look. On the other hand, there are some items that a good cleaning could decrease their value.
Should I Clean Items For Resale?

To clean. Other than items that fall into the "do not clean" area, I clean everything I sell, my buyers receive clean merchandise that looks like it is worth the price that they paid. Not cleaning is a big mistake made by many people. Most of the used items that I buy to re-sell, I purchase for a very low price because the sellers did not take the time to clean what they were selling, so the items looked old, used, dirty, and unappealing. I clean the items and increase their value enough to make a good profit over what I paid.

Not to clean. Some items just should not be cleaned, because cleaning removes the intrinsic and aesthetic value of the item. Cleaning an old coin to make it look shiny and new removes the history and natural beauty of aging. In the case of some coins, such as copper coins, cleaning removes the "patina" and can severely devalue the coin. The same principles apply to other metal items, such a vintage jewelry, cleaning some classic pieces can decrease the value.

"Patina" definition:

Additionally, cleaning some materials improperly, especially with abrasive cleaners can leave fine scratches in the surface, remove finishes, spot and stain, and damage delicate materials. I won't tell you how many items that I have damaged learning this lesson.

*Note: This page of cleaning tips is general information, how to clean an item is unique to each item and this article can not address all types of cleaning. You should research each individual item before cleaning it to find the safe and proper way it should be cleaned. Do not apply my cleaning methods to your items without doing the proper research to learn how to clean your particular items.

How To Clean Articles

eCommerceBytes - 10-03-12 - Dust Bunnies in the Box: How Do You Clean Your Products?

Good Housekeeping - Cleaning & Organizing.

How To Clean Stuff - Cleaning blog with questions and answers.

LivingOnADime - Cleaning Tips.

Suzanne a. Wells - 5 Ways to clean coffee mugs for resale.

Your Ultimate Guide to Removing Permanent Marker from Anything - FREE Printable
Do a Google search for more surfaces.

Cleaning Ideas

Armor All: Old rubber and plastic can get a bit stiff, and a shot of Armor All can really help put some life back into old rubber and plastic. It can make smooth plastic a bit shiny.

Dawn Dishwashing Soap: For greasy items, Dawn soap my be your answer, it is great for cutting through grease.

Febreze: I seems to me that Febreze dries fast, and generally without staining some fabrics that water might stain. Febreze also can be used to help with stale odors on some fabrics. Frebreze is often my fav for cleaning fabric items.

Goo Gone: It a product to remove sticky residue, retail stores use it to remove shelf labels. The drawback that I have found is that it can smear the sticky goo around, so be careful to keep your rubbing restricted to the target area to be cleaned. Goo Gone.

Grease Stains on Clothing - I have not tried this, yet. WD40 and baking soda.

Heat Gun: These (and hair dryers) can be used for removing labels. Heat Guns.

Lighter Fluid: Sticky tape residue and some grease spots can be removed from some surfaces with lighter fluid, but test it on a small spot first, it is a strong chemical, and from my experience, it can harm some plastics.

Nail Polish Remover - Can help clean lots of things, including the rubber side/soles of tennis shoes.

Paper Towels: We all love paper towels and I go through them fast, but one thing to remember about paper towels is that they are abrasive, so you might want to consider using a soft clean for things that are easily scratched. Paper towels can also leave lint that can be hard to dust off some fabrics.

Scotty Peeler Label & Sticker Removers: I discovered these years ago when I was a retail merchandiser. Retail stores use them for removing shelf labels. Scotty Peeler Label & Sticker Removers.

Suede - Sometimes an eraser can help remove stains and spots.

Toothbrush - Is a go-to cleaning tool. My cleaning supply box would not be complete without a toothbrush. A toothbrush can clean in corners and crevices, and can really dig that dirt out.

Tupperware can be hard to clean, one idea (I have not tried) is to use water, soap and a tiny bit of bleach, and then microwave until water solution just begins to boil.

Water - Water sounds like a pretty straight forward way of cleaning, but think twice before cleaning with water, water can spot and actually stain some fabrics and leathers. On the other hand, gentle cleaning with water and soap can be a good way to wash dirt from hard surfaces like metal, without damaging the patina or natural tarnish of some metals, but remember not to rub, as the dirt on the item will be abrasive.

Windex: Did you see the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", in the movie the father, Gus, uses Windex for everything "Here, put some Windex on it!" That could apply to cleaning inventory for re-sell. Unlike water, Windex dries quickly and has ammonia for better cleaning; however, Windex does have added color, so be careful using it on things that it might stain. I rarely spray Windex directly onto an item, I generally spray a paper towel or cloth so that it is lightly damp and use that to clean items. Many paper-type products today are made with a glossy coating which is easy to wipe clean with a paper towel, lightly damp with Windex. I clean things such as glossy paperback book covers and glossy boxes with a damp Windex cloth, when I clean items for re-sell, I clean even the outer box, so everything looks as clean as possible when the buyer receives it.

Zippers - Many things will help to get a zipper running smoothly, wax, waxpaper, and when cleaning purses with leather condition, I rub my cloth with the cleaner along the zipper and that usually does the trick.

How to get a baby clean! LOL
Posted by Mabel Katz on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

While we are discussing cleaning...
How to get a baby clean! LOL
Posted by Mabel Katz on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cleaning DVDs & CDs & Game Discs

Selling DVDs and CDs is popular, but they often have scratches when bought used at places like garage sales. Movies and music and games can have good value if they work properly, so many people clean and polish them to remove the scratches. I personally didn't have much luck, but I only tried it once, many years ago, with poor results. Hopefully CD/DVD cleaning systems are better today.

To find cleaning systems, just do searches at places like Amazon and eBay. Read the reviews.

YouTube - Scratch Out! CD or DVD repair / XBOX / Playstation / Wii...

YouTube - DIY Disc Repair - Fix Scratched Games, DVDs and CDs...

YouTube - JFJ Easy Pro Disc Repair CD DVD Cleaning Amazon eBay Selling Tool Review How To...

YouTube - Aleratec DVD/CD disc repair plus review...

Purses: I clean a lot of purses. When I sit down to clean purses, I have a box of cleaning tools, which include: A leather cleaner and a leather conditioner (although I rarely use the cleaner, if a leather needs that much help it is probably beyond my desire to clean). Windex and Febreze for fabrics, for cleaning and refreshing. An old toothbrush for dusting out small, tight areas. Two small leather brushes, on medium-soft and one hard with some rows of wire bristles. The softer brush is for dusting and cleaning and the hard brush is for rough-out interiors.

To clean purses I use various things, depending on the material. For fabrics and fabric linings, I use a smaller, medium bristle brush, just firm enough to dust away loose dirt, but not too hard. You can probably find one at a specialty store, like a Coach store or a better shoe store, but a small brush from a any store would work.

For rough-out leathers and hard suedes, they make a suede brush with metal bristles down the center of the brush, they are small brushes about 2-3 long and 1-2 wide. I also use a automotive wire brush, with a long handle, for rough-out leather interiors to reach down into the bottom of the purse. Like a Dooney and Bourke, All Weather Leather with the rough leather interior.

For fabric cleaning I use Febreze, it cleans and unlike water and other wet solutions, it seems to dry without leaving water rings or stains. If something is very dirty I might use Windex, like in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" I believe Windex is good for most anything. LOL

For leather, except patent leathers, I use a leather conditioner. There are tons of them on the market. There are also leather cleaners, but they are basically like a soap and I only use them on extremely dirty items, that I can risk it if it does not work out. For light cleaning of leather, there are leather conditioners with some cleaning agents.

Now, as to what I use and where to buy it. I primarily use Lexol leather conditioner, and you can buy it at automotive stores and grain and feed type stores. You can buy a general leather condition at most purse and shoe stores, and they are great, but thick. I use Lexol because I am usually cleaning lots of purses and it is a spray liquid that I can work with quickly. I have compared products, and I do not see much difference between the lotion types and the liquid types. One type of leather conditioner that also has a cleaner is Marquis, which you can find at an automotive store. I cleaned a car interior with Marquis and it worked great, especially on the grimy steering wheel, but the seats were a bit shiny when I finished.

There is a patent leather cleaner for patent leathers, and you can probably find it at a better shoe store. Lotion leather cleaners can leave a grease film on patent leather.

For repairing scratches in leather purses there are a huge variety of leather stains at most shoe repair shops and most grocery and Wal-Mart/Target type stores carry a few basic colors like black and brown. These are not shoe polishes, they are leather stains. I'm sure you have boots that you use leather stains on, it's the same thing, it doesn't color like a shoe polish, it blends in like with your boot polish(stain).

A little trick I like to use to keep bugs away and to keep my purses fresh are the little perfume papers that Macy's type stores put into their sale flyers. I put those little perfume sheets in the totes where I keep my purses, and other inventory. The perfume sheets do not have a strong smell, that's why I like them. Many people today object to perfumes, and since these little smell sheets are not very strong, I feel that I can even put them inside of purses that need a fragrance lift.

Other Help Articles For Presenting Merchandise For Sale

LivingOnADime - How To Fold A Fitted Sheet - Video and written instructions to fold for nice presentation.


Thrifting For Niche Book Profits
iCollector - Live Auctions
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