DIY Repurposing

11 Things Never to Buy Secondhand

Garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets are great resources for finding furniture, decor, and other housewares for a steal. But there are some used products that run the risk of being dirty, in disrepair, or just downright dangerous. Don't let a low price tag persuade you—avoid picking up these 11 secondhand items that may be the worse for wear.

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Depending on the age of the mattress, it could be riddled with dust mites—or worse, bed bugs. And if that isn’t reason enough, it’s tough to truly deep-clean a mattress, meaning you’ll most likely be curling up on a surface that contains someone else’s bodily fluids and skin cells. 

Related: 7 New Projects for Your Old Bedsprings

Bike Helmets

Even if it looks brand-new, a helmet that has experienced even one accident could be damaged in a way that’s not visible to the naked eye. Opt for an unused head protector instead, as it’s the only way you can be confident that it’s equipped to perform its job.

Related: 8 Dangerous Secrets Your Home May Be Hiding


While purchasing a
TV or laptop from Craigslist or a garage sale may seem like a deal, there are a lot of factors that make this secondhand purchase a huge risk. Because you have no assurance of the quality of the device, if anything goes wrong, you’ll end up footing the bill to get it fixed. Plus, without warranties or other protections in place, you could end up shelling out more for repairs than you would have spent had you just bought the item new.

Related: 10 Weirdly Awesome New Uses for Old Appliances


Cribs go through recalls all the time, so it’s tough to know whether the one you’re buying secondhand is truly safe. Plus, time and use can warp the quality of the furniture. Don’t take the risk—buy this product brand-new instead.  

Related: 20 Insanely Easy Ways to Build Your Own Furniture


Just as with bike helmets, it’s impossible to judge the wear and tear on a set of tires. Even if you can get an accurate history, it’s best not to cut corners when it comes to your vehicle. 

Related: 21 Money-Saving Tricks That Every Homeowner Needs to Know


Hats may be a fun finishing touch for your favorite outfit, but they are also receptacles for sweat,
dust, beauty products (like makeup and hairspray), or skin infections—yuck! Even if you find one you love while browsing a garage sale or flea market, don’t add it to your basket of low-cost loot.

Related: Let It Go: 14 Things to Trash Without Thinking Twice

Baby Bottles

In general, you never want to feed your baby using something that carries unknown germs. But if that isn’t reason enough to leave bottles on the thrift-store shelf, in 2012 the FDA mandated that all bottles be BPA-free. Unless you know exactly
when the product was purchased, refrain from adding a baby bottle to your bag.

Related: 10 Safety Essentials That Most Homes Are Missing

Personal Care Items

We all love a good deal on personal care items, but you should always resist picking them up secondhand. It’s impossible to tell who used the product last, meaning you could be transferring unwelcome bacteria to your body. If that’s not enough of an ick factor, makeup, lotions, bath products, and other beauty items all expire, which could cause your skin to have an unpleasant reaction.

Related: 9 Home Repair Remedies to Borrow from Your Medicine Cabinet

Pots and Pans

Old pots and pans found at flea markets or thrift stores may seem like a bargain, but they can also harbor bacteria and be sources of other safety concerns. If the surface material is broken down, or if you spot rust or flaky nonstick coatings, you might want to leave these cooking companions on the shelf.

Related: 9 Worth-Every-Penny Upgrades for the Hardworking Parts of Your Home


It’s all about cleanliness, pure and simple. Even if it’s been washed in hot water, there’s no way to make this garment truly clean again. Also, a swimsuit that’s been repeatedly washed can start to wear thin—something you might not notice until after you take it home. 

Related: 9 Smart Hacks for Laundry Day

Car Seats

You should never cut corners when it comes to safety, especially the safety of your children. With technology constantly improving, it’s better to splurge on a new car seat that boasts all the current features than risk using an older one that costs a little less. 

Related: No Gimmicks: 6 New Home Technologies That Really Matter