A Germaphobe’s Review of ThredUp

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I’m a germaphobe and I don’t like shopping secondhand. But, I took a chance and here’s my review of ThredUp, an online secondhand clothing store.

I am a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to certain second-party sites. All opinions are my own.

A Germaphobe's Review of ThredUp | Life as Mom

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ON tshirt: $4.99; unbranded belt: $5.99

Can it really be just two months since I had that wake-up call in Nordstrom? In early September I took a long hard look at my wardrobe and how I dressed myself every day. I realized some things needed to change.

While I have always favored the capsule wardrobe and having nice clothes on hand, dressing in a stylish manner or even getting dressed every day was not my habit. For a myriad of reasons I chose not to put forth the effort that I’ve since learned isn’t that hard at all!

Dressing in a way that flatters your body, keeps pace with the latest trends, and gives you confidence is not a monumental feat. Yes, even us moms can win at this! I’ve learned so much through the GYPO Style Challenges these past two months and built a wardrobe that I absolutely love.

The main trick for most of us is figuring out how to pay for nice clothes. I, for one, do not have an unlimited clothing budget, yet I’ve been able to add to my wardrobe in a way that does not exceed our means. You CAN build a stylish wardrobe on a budget!

I’ve done a fair amount of shopping over the last two months getting clothes for myself as well as my husband and kids. While I insist on buying new, quality bras (thus my trip to Nordstrom), I’ve spread my shopping over a number of brands and stores (Old Navy, Kohls, Famous Footwear, Banana Republic, and even Amazon, etc.), I’ve also delved into the world of secondhand clothing.

A Germaphobe’s Review of ThredUp

Close friends and family know that I cannot stand shopping secondhand. I’d much rather buy something NEW on sale or clearance than buy something secondhand, no matter how fancy it may be. I’m a germaphobe of the finest caliber, don’t you know?

But, after hearing about ThredUp from several sources I decided to give it a try. ThredUp is an online secondhand clothing shop. They offer free shipping for purchases over $79 and free returns in the form of store credit.

I’ve placed several orders and come to a few conclusions about Thredup. Basically, as with all second-hand shopping, it’s hit or miss. You may find some great, new, high quality items, or you might find things that are worn, junky, or stinky.

Things I love

I’ve made some good purchases and some bad purchases. Over the last couple months, I’ve purchased several shirts, a pair of pants, a belt, two dresses, and a coat from ThredUp. The prices have been amazing. And some of the items have been some of my very favorites.

A Germaphobe's Review of ThredUp | Life as Mom
Loft Cargo Pants: $16.99

I love the VOILA tshirt as well as the cargo pants. I love the red boho blouse and the LOFT blouse in brown which I bought new in blue years ago. If you’re looking for very specific items or notice an old favorite no longer in stores, you’ll have struck gold.

However, as much as I love those items, I’m not sure I will keep shopping with ThredUp.

Things I don’t love

Since the clothing is not washed at ThredUp facilities, there’s “no knowing where it’s been”. I didn’t really think too much about this until I was signing our lease renewal the same day as my first order arrived. The lease had a full two pages on bed bugs (EWWW) and then I realized that my used clothing shipment could be bringing weird stuff into my house.

Call me crazy, but now each ThredUp shipment spends 24 to 48 hours in my deep freeze before being unpacked and washed. Then I can try it on to see if I even like it!

Unfortunately, lots of people who send clothing to ThredUp also use abundant fabric softener. I am allergic to fabric softener; I can’t even walk down that aisle at the grocery store. So, I’ve had to wash some of this clothing multiple times, adding vinegar and tea tree oil to the wash and drying things in the sunshine in an effort to deodorize them. In some cases, the effort spent was not worth any cost savings.

There have been other instances of disappointment.

In some cases I’ve found that the tshirt I bought, I could have bought new on sale for just a dollar more. Not really worth buying used for that profit margin.

The $5 coat was $5 because it was missing the belt. It was disclosed that “a closure was missing”. I assumed that was a button that I could replace and didn’t realize it was the belt. Can’t really replace that, but I could potentially wear it without a belt. Or for $5 I could donate it to the homeless in my community and not worry about it.

A Germaphobe's Review of ThredUp | Life as Mom
Fabinda Blouse: $10.99

The red blouse that I LOVE has minute fraying at the seams. I don’t think they noticed it as it was advertised as almost brand new. I didn’t notice it until I’d worn it several times. I still love my blouse, but I’m afraid to wear it too often because the fraying will only get worse.

The sweater dress is dry-clean only, something that wasn’t disclosed on the listing. I didn’t want to try on a dress that hadn’t been cleaned, so I took a risk and washed it on delicate. It doesn’t appear to have shrunk, but the jury is still out on whether or not it’s flattering on me.

ThredUp does have a return policy, but you don’t get your money back. You get store credit. So when you make a purchase, you’re committing to give them your money, no matter what. Eventually you will land on something you like, but the potential hassle and cleaning to get to that point is real.

Review of ThredUp


  • designer clothing at a fraction of the price of new
  • online shopping instead of chasing all over town to thrift stores
  • easy to sort and find your size or style on the website
  • relatively fast shipping
  • ability to find past season items that are no longer available in stores


  • website does not list cleaning care instructions
  • garments are used and may have undisclosed or unnoticed damage
  • garments are not washed and may carry bed bugs, etc.
  • clothing has odors
  • sanitizing before wear takes extra time and effort
  • discount on clothing is not always significant, depending on the item.
  • shipping and returns are not free
  • unable to see items in person before you buy
  • returns come in the form of store credit so you’re giving them your money no matter what
  • credit expires in a short amount of time

While I do love many of the items that I’ve purchased from ThredUp, I’m not sure that I will make it a regular practice to shop from them. I am slowly weeding out clothing from my closet and will most likely send it to ThredUp and see what they will give me for it, but I think I’ll be more likely to choose cash over store credit.

A Germaphobe's Review of ThredUp | Life as Mom
Loft Blouse: $6.99

The amount of time I spend to get each shipment of clothing in wearing condition is not always worth the savings to me, but sometimes the clothes haven’t been as stinky as others.

I can see myself using the service in the future in the instance where I’m looking for something very specific or hard to find, or a trendy item that I’m not sure I’d want to invest big bucks in. For instance, I bought a leopard print belt  for $5. It’s already wearing out and cracking, but for $5 I could try the trend and see if I liked it before spending more on a higher quality belt.

That said, your mileage may vary. You may have mad laundry skilz and make great choices and have a flawless experience. I find that so often people rave about a service, but tend to forget to mention the downsides. Well, here are the downsides to ThredUp — at least as I’ve experienced them.

To be honest, even though it’s way more expensive, I prefer to use StitchFix. The clothes are new, and I get the added fun of a stylist to choose them for me.

And because I know you like a good deal, here’s a $25 credit to StitchFix so you can check it out yourself.

What’s YOUR review of ThredUp?

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

A Germaphobe's Review of ThredUp | Life as Mom

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  1. If you want to sell clothes, they only give you a few cents! It’s very disappointing! You are better off selling some where else. Also it takes them around 6 months to go through your bag that you give them,

  2. You miss one of the most important pros of buying second hand clothes, which in a nutshell is “one of the best things we can do for our planet”. Recycling is a conscientious behavior that we need to keep doing.

  3. FYI, freezing doesn’t kill bedbugs. Throwing clothes in the dryer will take care of them though. Cheers!

  4. I’ve been buying 90% successfully from Poshmark, Mercari, eBay and Etsy. Thought I would check out ThredUP and was not impressed. I collect Vintage Villager and Lilly Pulitzer clothes. I need to see labels to know what I’m getting as Lily’s labels have changed over time and Villager by Liz Claiborne is often shown when actually I’m looking for “The Villager” with a goose tag. Someone mentioned the pictures seem off regarding color. I thought I noticed this too. Anyone interested in selling would do better on the 4 aforementioned apps I believe.

  5. I’m a total germaphobe too! I only buy brand new with tags. I save the items that I like and I wait till they drop in price, or large sales come up! Most recently had a 40% off! The only danger with new with tags is some of the designer pieces are actually samples… and some of the samples have holes in them from being pinned to a dress form that aren’t disclosed. I’m Canadian, so everything is a lot more pricey for me, and there’s shipping no matter how much you buy. But it’s worth it! I got a couple items from the Nsale last year with tags that sold out instantly! Super happy

  6. If you are killing bed bugs via freezing, the clothes must be frozen to zero degrees fahrenheit for four day to be effective.

  7. I am sick to my stomach because I supposed to have $168.78 in account. I can’t get it. They don’t respond to my emails, phone number is always busy
    I am retired and wanted to clean my closet out

  8. They literally stole my items and listed them on the site for sale without giving me credit. This company is horrible!

    1. i have had this happen to two packages I have sent! some had NWT name brand clothes, so annoying!

    2. I had the same thing happen!!! I just saw my donations on eBay!!

      ThredUP is selling YOUR DONATIONS on eBay!!!
      I sent clothes to sell via ThredUP and it took them 4 months to get them posted for sale. The prices they listed were very low which is as expected but then the split back to me only a few dollars, ok fine. BUT HERE IS THE THING NO ONE TALKS ABOUT – my donations ARE BEING SOLD VIA EBAY BY ThredUP AND FOR MORE $ than what is listed on ThredUP!!!!

  9. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with them. Ive brought many things and hsve overall been very happy. Ive never had any issue with dirty, stinky, or unclean items. Of course I wash Everything before I wear it. They have new boxes where you receive 10 items and you can keep what you want and send the rest back. You pay for what you keep.

    If one wants to get street value for their clothing I recommend ebay or poshmark, you aren’t going to get it here.

    1. I’ve received 2 goody boxes so far and have only kept 1 item. I’m very picky so it’s not their fault necessarily. They do get my sizes right but some of the things just aren’t my style. I’ve had no problem with bed bugs or smelly items. I like the concept of trying on clothes sent to me and the return is so easy. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll continue but so far I like receiving clothes in the mail!

  10. thredup is not a place for making money(i cant read all the comments;)…i had extremely uneven results and the listings of my stuff was inaccurate.but thought it might be fun to have some credit .the first thing i purchased was a norma kamali dress,which i had checked on the NK website and it looked good.i wore it around the house briefly for a trial.2 months later i had an event and got out of the car for an errand before and the thing rode up my crotch continuously.=verdict no more than 6 steps without public indeceny!(i borrowed scissors,cut it into a skirt and bought an overpriced shirt at macys(YUCKK!)but made the event;)
    ok,my fault i should have given it an outdoor run immediatly after purchase and then returned it.my second purchase (still through credit) was a “rashguard” size medium.it was photographed on a dummy and looked normal–i was thrilled.it arrived…i tried it on and it was super tight and only came to the end of my ribcage.in the photo it appeared to reach below the hips.its a factory mistake or offsize or its for a teenage boy…more likely someones mistake they pushed off on thredup-who didn’t catch the mistake and send it to charity or whatevr.i’m getting charged shipping,not sure if its both ways,if it is thats $16.its a great idea,just not for me. next stop;salvation army.(BTW,the ceo of goodwill was indicted for conduct unbecoming a charity)

  11. I guess I should have done some research first before ordering clothes. Last week I ordered an Andrew Marc Coat, was charged $85.99, I received my package today in a small polka dot box folded nicely, when I pulled out the coat all that was there was a coat lining that had a label that was Andrew Marc. You could plainly see this was a coat lining because not only was it made with quilted lining fabric but there are small buttons on both sides for attaching to a coat and no button holes for closure. Needless to say I’m extremely upset and hoping for my money back since this was advertised on their site as a coat not the lining. This is the first time I ordered from them.

  12. I just did my own blog review about how awful thredUP is to work with. I am disappointed on all levels when it comes to selling clothes to them. Will NEVER use them again, ever! Also, I most do positive reviews but they were that bad.

    1. I have made the mistake on giving them a lot of cute clothes and only received a few cents.

  13. I DO still use ThredUp myself, though it’s become more and more frustrating that after all the times I have TOLD them about wrong sizing in their children’s clothes section…they STILL don’t have the right people for this part of the process. Many times it seems to be a big issue of “common sense”, before I had children I could tell apart baby clothes from “big kid” and/or toddler clothing. The first time I noticed was by getting a few non returnable items I spent a lot of my money on that were marked as a big kid’s size but were in fact tiny infant clothes. Now on their website I can literally SEE what clothes are marked wrong MOST of the time at least. But knowing how hard it’s been to get and keep work in this economy and to think they are not training people correctly. I seriously doubt they don’t have good parents in need of work that would be able to do that part right.

  14. Well darn I didn’t do enough research on them before sending out my stuff. I had so much good stuff as I love to shop and used to work at ON so I got a discount at Banana Republic and Gap so all my stuff is from their brands. I also sent a ton of America Eagle jeans. I wish I knew they don’t pay that much or I would of just given them to my friends. One thing I did notice is all the items posted on their website are wrinkly and not so great looking visually . I find it weird that they don’t at least steam the stuff before putting it on a mannequin and taking a picture. I volunteered at a second hand store for the cancer society and they steamed everything before putting it out for sale.

      1. No not yet. I know that it took 17 days for me to get the bag after they said they sent it out. I have read it takes a long time to get the money back and I didn’t know that it wasn’t cash/check that it’s offered through PayPal with a percentage taken out. I guess there is a ton of fine print they don’t really “put out there”. Hopefully it won’t be too bad cuz my stuff was all great stuff. I’ll be sure to post again after.

          1. They accepted all of my items. Gave me 28.87 for 17 items which is 1.69 an item and then put another 14 up for consignment sale which I didn’t know about. So they will give you 5% of what they are selling them for. Price can be changed and I will still only get 5%.
            I would say definitely not worth it. Like I said in my previous post my stuff was super good and worth more then 1.69 each. It’s my fault for not reading more reviews on it before I got excited and sent my bag out.

    1. I am putting a bag (that I purchased from them) together and after reading reviews am wondering if it is worth it. The things I was going to send are Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren jeans, etc. Nothing cheap! I am going to try our local consignment shops. I tried our local women’s shelter but they are not taking clothing right now…..have too much! Which is great for them. I should have, as someone else mentioned) read reviews FIRST! I do not want to buy anything from them so credit does me no good!!

    2. I thought the same thing Ellen about the wrinkled clothes. I have not bought anything from them because most of the items looked terrible.

  15. Thank you for the Pro’s but mainly the Con’s. The fact that they send Dirty Stinky clothes is enough to stop me from using thred up…I don’t really want to run the rick of bringing someone’s creepy crawlies into my home….
    Oh you made reference to a fraying on a blouse…go to a fabric store and get a bottle of Fray Check..It dries clear works every time on all fabrics

  16. I love buying second hand but mail-order second hand has no appeal to me. Go figure. I guess I like to touch and see something before buying — I’m more into picking by style or feel rather than brand. So, I’m not sure Thred Up would be for me either but for different reasons than you. That said, I have found some smoking hot bargains at our local Goodwill (no germaphobe here!).

  17. I think you should try some local clothes consignment shops. You probably can find some really nice ones in your area that are clean! I love Kohl’s too. You really can’t beat their prices if you have a Kohl’s card. Thanks for your review of thred up.

  18. I can be a bit of a germaphobe, too, although I’ve had to overcome some of that living in Africa. (“Yes, I would love a drink of non-filtered water out of the same cup as everyone else.” *shuddering inside*)

    In the US, I’ve shopped some at thrift stores, and even bought 2nd hand at African markets (Congo & Mali.) One of my favorite, best fitting pair of pants, I bought out of a big pile in the market. I bought 3 pairs, and only 2 fit- one decent, one great- but at $1/pair, that was worth it. I’m probably not too worried about communicable skin diseases, etc. When I was last in the US, ThreadUp was becoming really popular. Doing 2nd through the mail was a bit too much for me, though. I think I need to see (&smell) it in person. I can be really sensitive to odors.

    I do think that if you watch sales, you can get decent prices. I know that I’m not that likely to do returns in the mail either, and I try to be careful about what I order on-line because of that.

  19. Very interesting–thanks for sharing! I haven’t bought on any online second-hand stores because I’m a stickler for trying on before buying. So many things don’t work well for me. I do like shopping the thrift stores in our area, though, and they’ve worked well for me. But I’m not a germophobe 😉

  20. The one pro that I really like about Thred Up is that I can sort items by size and price range. Even though I still spend a fair amount of time looking for good bargains it beats wading through racks of unsorted clothes at our local secondhand stores, especially if I have kids along!

    I also am concerned about bringing in items like lice or bed bugs. Unfortunately home freezers may not be cold enough to kill bed bugs but dryers can! So I wash and dry (on high heat) all my used items before wearing. Of course orr some items like sweaters this can be a problem and that is why I dont spend much in case the item gets ruined. Unfortunately you can bring home bed bugs from brand new items too!!

    As for selling items on Thred Up my experience has not been good! Like others said their payout is VERY low compared to what I would have made at a rummage sale or consignment store in our area. Also they tell you in the fine print they take $9 for shipping from each bag you send in. I sent in a bag full of very good items with brand names including jeans and only received $1.86! I would think they would offer a better payout even if only for store credit. In the future my items will be gifted to our local women’s shelter instead of messing with their selling process!

    1. I absolutely agree. I am no longer sending my quality used clothes only to have them rejected with no reason given. My local women’s shelter and other local assistance resources can make good use of them.

      ThredUP is also now charging a restock fee if you return something. You do get store credit but less than what you paid. Many of the goods can be purchased at approximately the same price in a store on clearance or sale. Good concept, but somebody’s getting it rich, and it isn’t the general customer base.

      P amela

      1. I just went through the same scenario and I found out that my favorite designer dress, that I hesitated sending, was rejected because they already had too many. It is gone forever because I did not understand, until after I contacted them, that I had an unnoticed small opportunity to have rejected items returned to me. I would not have guessed in a million years that an expensive designer dress would be rejected because THEY had enough of them already! All the items I sent them (some were designer dresses) were either New-With-Tag or New-Without-Tag. Even after sending all those new and like-new items, the payout was 5%! 5% !!! Insulting! So I chose NOT to take the humiliating payout and left the items to be sold. I didn’t notice that my designer dress was not among the items that they listed for sale until it was too late. By that time, I wanted to just recall all my items but it was too late for that too, because several of them had been reserved by buyers and a couple items were already sold. I do NOT recommend sending anything to them (it cost me a couple bucks for their clean-out bag) and then I get insulted by their payout. I have to pay again to have any of my items shipped back to me. Basically they get a free inventory of items to sell (that you and I supply to them), make big bucks off of your items, and pay you next to nothing AFTER the items sell. Wouldn’t retailers in your hometown like to have free inventory? At least if I gave the items to charity I would not feel like I have been taken advantage of. I have no idea where my favorite designer dress went but somebody somewhere is making money off of it. Boy did I ever learn my lesson the hard way.

  21. I’ve tried both buying and selling from ThredUp. I haven’t loved much that I’ve purchased, nor felt like it was worth it. Selling has been a nightmare- they offer so little for what you send that it’s just not worth it. I can do much better selling my kids’ gently used clothes on Facebook buy/sell groups for our area.

  22. I love your website! So welcoming, nonjudgmental and real. I find it funny that your examples for a myriad of stores you shop at were Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic. These are all owned by the same company!

  23. So, I have found Thred-Up to be an amazing boon to my wardrobe. I realized that I am shopping though, for a different demographic and size than most though.
    Positives: I can find my size on there. That is one of the huge positives. In our town, there is very little choice if any, of anything in my size. I am a small, petite woman, and we have only very general clothing choices.
    They have careful measurements.
    I only shop brands that I know and I do not buy the cheap brands.
    I am careful about what I purchase. I have only had about two items that I was not happy with.
    You can get credit for referring friends, which translates into free clothing.

    It is expensive to return. So, I am careful in my choices.
    I rarely spend over $5-10 on an item, but if I do, that is a bit more money that I am out if it doesn’t work. However, if I use credit, I am not really.

    I have had most things come to me looking brand new. I was impressed with the care they give their items. Of course, I live in NW MT, rather than CA, so you can’t find some of the brands here that are on there.

  24. Awwww Jessica-this is why we looovve you!! your honest posts about “real” life-I have been inspired by you to fight the frump- and my go to has been old navy online. They offer free shipping on orders over 50.00 and I return the unwanted items to the store, also free. What makes this a really great deal is that EVERYDAY you get an e-mail offer almost always it’s 30% off or 40 or 50% so I never pay retail-but still get current things for good prices. I know these are not thrift store prices, but the things are not faded, damaged or beat up. Also-love that belt on you!!

  25. I was wondering if you had sold on ThredUp. I recently purged some older clothes and was thinking of selling them on ThredUp. I know you don’t get much return but enough items of clothing could add up?? Thoughts?

    1. I have both bought and sold clothes on Thredup. I’ve bought some amazing articles of clothing for a fraction of the retail cost. The items I’ve sold sent fast. There are rules on the Thredup website regarding what they will and won’t accept. You also have the choice of cash back or Thredup credit. In addition, they send a bag for your clothing items and a postage paid shipping label. You have the option to donate whatever items they don’t accept to a charity. When your clothing sells, Thredup notifies you. This way you know that someone else is enjoying them. I think it’s a brilliant business plan and will continue shopping\selling with them.

      1. I’ve sent them several cleanout bags and the payouts have decreased over time. They are very picky about what they accept (I’ve been shocked at some of the things they rejected) and they pay garage sale prices. My last bag only earned a few dollars. Nevermind the waiting list to get a cleanout bag; I don’t want my purged items sitting around home for six weeks before I can ship them and then wait another four to six weeks for my items to be processed.

        1. The payouts for selling are HORRID. And never mind the items that are good quality items that they refused. Most people and reviews I have seen online wonder where these items go and who is making money off of them. My experience is bad and would never do business with them again. It might be okay for purchasing but the original owner is not making any money on what they sell.

          1. They bump up the colors of he clothes in a photo color computer program, so they look fresher, newer, brighter. You can shop there, but be real careful when making purchases. Additional restock fees for any item returned in addition to the shipping fees, make me very hesitant to take the risk. Their business model s t make money, not provide you with good product or customer service. Am more successful on Ebay.

    2. Hi!
      Try Posh….also a second hand site. Take a look at their price for using their site to sell. You might be surprised!
      Good luck,

  26. Ugh – the negatives far outweigh the positives for Thred Up in my opinion. Thank you so much for your incredibly candid review of the service. I especially admire your honesty because it was a sponsored post.

    1. I think it’s really going to depend on what you buy. Since you don’t have the advantage of seeing it in the store, you’re taking a gamble on possibly returning, etc.

      It wasn’t a sponsored post. However, I am sure my honesty will be unpopular with some people. 😉