12 Things to Never Buy at a Thrift Store

Thrift stores are treasure troves of unique items and bargains. They’re perfect for finding vintage clothing, rare books, and quirky home decor. However, not everything in a thrift store is a good buy.

In this blog, we’ll explore 12 items that you should think twice about before purchasing from a thrift store.

1. Helmets

Safety first! Helmets, whether for biking, motorcycling, or other activities, are designed to protect you in the event of an accident. Once they’ve been in a crash, they may not be as effective. Since you can’t always know the history of a second-hand helmet, it’s safer to buy this item new.

2. Non-Stick Cookware

Worn-out non-stick cookware can be a health hazard. Scratched or flaking pans can release harmful chemicals into your food. Always check the condition carefully or opt to buy new.

3. Electronics

Old or outdated electronics might not only be inefficient but could also be dangerous if wiring is frayed or damaged. Unless you’re an expert, it’s hard to assess their safety and functionality.

4. Shoes

Worn shoes can have molded to the original owner’s feet and might cause discomfort or foot problems for you. It’s also hard to tell how much life is left in a used pair.

5. Upholstered Furniture

While that vintage sofa might look chic, upholstered furniture can be a haven for bedbugs, dust mites, and other allergens. Cleaning and sanitizing large pieces can be difficult and costly.

6. Makeup and Personal Care Items

These products can harbor bacteria and have usually passed their expiry date. It’s best to buy such items new for health and hygiene reasons.

7. Baby Cribs and Car Seats

Safety standards for baby items are constantly updated. Older models may not meet current safety regulations, and any damage can be hard to spot but critical.

8. Swimwear and Undergarments

For hygiene reasons, it’s recommended to avoid buying used swimwear and undergarments.

9. Mattresses

Like upholstered furniture, mattresses can hide allergens and pests. They also wear out and lose support over time.

10. Pet Items

Used pet items can carry diseases and parasites. It’s safer to buy new, especially for things like beds, bowls, and chew toys.

11. Vacuum Cleaners

A used vacuum may not only have diminished suction power but can also contain the previous owner’s dust and allergens.

12. Stuffed Animals

They can be difficult to clean thoroughly and may harbor dust mites or other allergens.


Thrift shopping is a great way to find unique items and save money. However, for reasons of safety, health, and overall value, some items are better bought new. Use this guide as a checklist the next time you’re thrifting to make sure you’re bringing home true treasures!

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