Over the years, I have become a huge fan of thrift stores. When you buy second hand, you reduce your carbon footprint and save a whole ton of money. I have spent an amazing amount of time roaming around Goodwill and checking out local garage sales. Even buying items online at places like Etsy and Craigslist have become incredibly popular in the last few years. However, there are a number of items that I will not buy second hand. Sometimes it is just too great a risk for the cost and other times there is some ‘ick factor’ that I just can’t get over. I thought I would put together a list of items you should never buy second hand unless you absolutely have no choice.
Never Buy Second Hand for These 10 Items
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Children’s furniture: It’s tempting to try to save money on the big ticket items but never buy second hand cribs, bassinets or baby seats. Safety regulations have changed significantly over the last 10 years and what may look like a good deal may be dangerous for your child.
Helmets: Whether you are talking about bicycle helmets or motorcycle helmets, you should never buy second hand. Helmets are designed to protect you from one accident and then they are no longer good. Sometimes the damage isn’t visible after an accident and you may be buying a helmet that will no longer offer you sufficient protection.
Technology: Sure, that second hand iPhone is way cheaper than the new one but do you know it hasn’t been dropped in the river? You might want to think twice about a second hand computer as well. There is no way of knowing what sort of history it has or the types of viruses it has been exposed to. Anything that falls into the technology category should be bought new. Unless you know the person you are buying it from, don’t buy second hand technology items.
Anything considered an ‘undergarment’: Any item that hugs your naked body should never be bought second hand. There is not enough bleach in the world to ensure all the questionable bacteria and such are completely destroyed. That goes for second hand bathing suits, underwear, bras and socks. I have a neighbor who bought second hand jock straps and cups for her son to play football and the ick factor there is just too much to even describe.
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Shoes: Never buy second hand shoes. Each shoe molds itself slightly to the owner’s foot. Once molded, that shoe is never going to fit a second owner as well as the first. Not to mention the whole sweaty, gross foot germ issue. I won’t even let my daughter try on shoes at thrift stores. The whole idea of it makes me a bit squeamish.
Bedding of any sort: This country has had a serious outbreak of bed bugs in the last few years. Avoid buying second hand bedding in case your purchase isn’t as clean as it looks. Sheets, pillows, mattresses, blankets, and anything else that goes where you sleep should be bought new.
Beauty products: Okay, so not many people would buy beauty products that have already been used, right? What about a new bottle of perfume at the thrift store? Or how about an unopened lotion container at your neighbor’s garage sale? Second hand beauty products are cheap but you have no idea how old they are or how they have been stored. Perfume will not smell the way it should after 3 years of sitting on the window sill in the heat of the sun.
Vacuum Cleaners: Have you ever heard of someone getting rid of a vacuum cleaner that works perfectly fine? Doesn’t happen very often, right? Used vacuum cleaners run a very high risk of not working. You can buy a factory refurbished vacuum cleaner (affiliate link) for slightly cheaper than new and it will come with some sort of guarantee that it works.
Stuffed Animals: Like the bedding issue above, it is very hard to clean stuffed animals so that you are 100% sure it is not infested with bedbugs, lice, or some other nasty bug type critter. Buy your child new stuffed animals and avoid the risk.
Tires: Second hand tires are never a good deal. Buying new tires for your car is a safety issue you should not ignore just to save a few dollars.
While I firmly believe that we should buy second hand whenever possible, some items may not be safe or hygienic if you don’t buy them new. Do your research and look for a good sale before you spend your hard earned money. A high quality item may cost more but many times it will also last significantly longer as well.
What items do YOU buy second hand?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.