|Wed Oct 3 2012 15:44:39|
Dust Bunnies in the Box: How Do You Clean Your Products?
By: Julia Wilkinson
I was talking with a savvy friend of mine a while back when she surprised me with something she said about her experience on eBay. She's a lawyer by day, and eBay wheeler-dealer by night. She's bought a lot of collectible art glass, and she's sold quite a bit as well. She was complaining that a glass object she came arrived..caked in dust!
"Is it too much to expect that they clean the dust off the darn thing?" she asked, rhetorically.
Actually, dirty and dusty items have been inspiring problems between sellers and buyers on eBay and other sites since time immemorial, or at least since 1996. And while no buyer likes to unwrap a dirty item, sellers do fret over how - and sometimes, as in the case of a fragile antique - whether to clean an object.
A discussion about this broke out on one of my Facebook hangouts. A seller was asking how best to clean some antique linens and baby clothes, and she got a myriad of suggestions including:
- OxiClean: "I use a large bucket and hot water and I let the stuff sit in it overnight, stirring it every so often before I go to bed, then washing everything on the gentle cycle the next day."
- Woolite. "Gentle cycle, stop half way through, let it sit for a bit, finish cycle and AIR dry. Done."
- Vodka and water. This, from a theater person, "to spray and take the smell out of garments that would otherwise need expensive dry cleaning! It works and the alcohol evaporates!"
- Clorox Bleach Pen. (This was for "ring around the collar," which I haven't thought about since those TV ads in the 70s).
My best tip for cleaning fabric or clothing? Tide to Go. This stuff once worked wonders on a winter white St. John skirt. You would never have known the stain was there. (I am not getting paid to say this; really!).
For solid objects, and removing residue or price tags, some swear by Goo Gone or Goof Off. But, in some cases, people don't want to touch an item for fear they will either harm the "patina" or otherwise damage the item. I think when you're looking at a visible coating of dust on your item, however, it calls for at least some very gentle daubing with a soft cloth.
What are your best cleaning tips for vintage (or even newer, pre-owned) items? And have you ever received something from another seller that was badly soiled, just plain dirty, or otherwise sullied? Post a comment here!