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6 things you should never buy used

September 17, 2015

In the age of the online swap-and-shop we’re all looking to save a few bucks when we can. Scouring websites like Craigslist, thrift shops and garage sales for gently used items is one way to consistently cut down on spending. However, not every used item is worth that penny saved. Health and safety questions are legitimate concerns when it comes to buying secondhand. Here are six items you should probably pass up in your bargain-hunt.

  1. Cribs If there is a chance you could put your child at risk buying used, then always buy new. The government changed safety standards for baby cribs in 2011 to combat infant deaths related to older designs. For example: Drop-side cribs are now banned. The new rules also require stronger supports and hardware. Multiple crib recalls make it hard to verify the safety of certain used products.

  2. Mattresses
  3. Unless you want bedbugs or other allergens to invade your home, don’t go searching Craigslist or garage sales for a used mattress. Mattresses are a cesspool for bacteria, dead skin, bodily fluids and pests.
  4. Cookware
  5. It’s a good rule of thumb to pass on the $5 skillet you saw online. It’s impossible to determine what type of chemicals or other harmful contaminants permeate used cookware, especially if the items display lots of visible wear-and-tear.
  6. Makeup & makeup brushes
  7. Better think twice about buying that high-end eye shadow secondhand. Used makeup and makeup brushes can easily spread harmful bacteria–mainly staph infections, which can turn deadly.
  8. Stuffed animals
  9. Stuffed animals are frequent carriers of dust mites and allergens. In addition, some stuffed animals may have features that are considered safety hazards for smaller children.
  10. Swimsuits
  11. If you’re looking to invest in a swimsuit, it’s always better to buy new. Along with the serious hygiene issues that come from purchasing a used swimsuit, these garments wear out quickly, meaning you’re not really getting the bang for your buck.

Buying used means you could leave more cash in your wallet, but the savings aren’t always worth the potential safety or health hazards. It’s always better to be safe than sorry – and this mantra definitely applies to your next garage sale outing.


— Lauren Thompson

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