It’s Great to Save, But Here Are 7 Household Items You Should NEVER Buy Used

Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Economy with 21 Comments
CC BY 2.0 Steve Snodgrass

CC BY 2.0 Steve Snodgrass

By Kimberley Mok | Tree Hugger

From used music CDs, to online consignment stores for both adults and babies, to supporting fashion designers who remix thrift store finds, TreeHugger is a big fan of buying used, because it cuts down on unnecessary waste by promoting re-use and creative upcycling.

Related Article: 100 Great Ways to Start Saving Money (Even If You’re Currently Struggling Financially)


While reusing things is an eco-friendly idea and will undoubtedly help you save money in the long run, there are still some things one should avoid buying secondhand in order to ensure your health and safety and that of your loved ones. Here are some items that you should never buy used:

1. Mattresses, box springs & upholstered furniture

Thanks to a recent resurgence in bed bugs in urban areas, mattresses and upholstered pieces of furniture that you find curbside or in thrift stores could be potential havens for these famously tenacious and relatively long-lived critters, whose bites may even pass on super-germs. Plus, there's the yuck factor behind the millions of dust mites and pet dander that are embedded in an old mattress.

Now, for habitual furniture restorers, we know it's hard to pass up on that antique chair, but it may save you thousands of dollars in bed bug extermination costs and hassle. If you do choose to take that risk, make sure you inspect carefully, clean it well and re-upholster it completely as a precaution.

2. Baby cribs

There's no doubt that buying secondhand baby items like clothes, toys and furniture will help parents save a ton of money in the long run, especially since kids outgrow their stuff so darn fast. However, steer clear of buying used baby cribs — nearly 10 million were recalled during 2007 to 2011 in the United States alone, due to tightened safety regulations, which enforced stricter testing and prohibited the sale of potentially fatal drop-side cribs. If you must buy a used crib, check that it hasn't been recalled.

3. Car seats

Car seats are another one of those expensive baby goods that may initially seem all right to use secondhand, however, but it may endanger your child. Since safety regulations do change from time to time, you may be unknowingly using one that is not up to current standards, or may have been recalled or have missing parts. Also, a used car seat may have been involved in a prior accident, weakening its integrity, even though the damage is not visible. If it's something you really cannot buy new, ensure that you have the original manufacturer's installation instructions to put it in the car properly, and check that it has not been part of a recall.

4. Helmets

Like car seats, the same rationale goes for used helmets. It may look like it's in good condition, but it's not always apparent if it sustained unseen structural damage in a previous accident. Since it's a critical piece of protection for your head, it's better to buy new and intact, than to take a risk.

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21 Reader Comments

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  1. 10153776670208288@facebook.com' Jay Cuza says:

    Not never?

  2. 1689073251351949@facebook.com' Caroline McGovern says:

    Not never?

  3. 10156405405505357@facebook.com' Teresa Philyaw Ayers says:

    Unfollowing… can’t handle that grammar in my newsfeed.

  4. 10207128546725860@facebook.com' Susan Gunn Patrick says:

    100% common sense.

  5. 10205262455467613@facebook.com' Gerald Moesch says:

    What…..toilet paper not listed

  6. 1043598405690355@facebook.com' Val Emerson says:

    Heres were this post needs a dose of gratitude… If you have never been in a situation where that is the only option be very grateful… I am.. Going to a store and buying those items new may not be easy for many people in this world.. With all of the human created human suffering.. I think this article is sad…what do you suppose someone reading this post who has little choice feels… Well i may not ever have bought those items used.. I was lucky i did not have to… But the world can change on a whim for any of us…so to anyone that finds this the only option …clean it very well… And to this writer.. How many baby items get passed from child to child in the same family…really dislike the tone and message of this article…people with little other option read these posts to..don’t they… If your choice is a mattress from a thrift store or the floor what would you pick…

    • 10153776670208288@facebook.com' Jay Cuza says:

      I don’t see any problem with buying from thrift stores. These items are simply ‘pre owner’ items, like the car dealer’s jargon. I would steer clear of mattresses and cloth furniture that could have bed bugs or other creepy crawlers, though. But as a very last resort, if someone absolutely has to buy one of those items I’d suggest looking in the crevasses for signs of these critters. Then get a spray bottle and fill it with alcohol and spray spray spray everywhere. Also, there is something that DOES kill bed bugs. It’s silica dust powder. It gets puffed around the infested area. The powder is so fine that it hangs in the air and settles over everything. But it can affect the lungs, so it should be used where no one will be for a day or two or more. Then mop and wipe everything in sight. :/
      As far as getting used underwear from a thrift store, there is nothing that can help! That’s nasty. Go commando if necessary. Lol

    • 1043598405690355@facebook.com' Val Emerson says:

      Amen to that… Great suggestions for someone looking at these options for cleaning though…i personally love the mix of alcohol.. Peroxide…a drop oflavender oil a drop of blue dawn liquid dish soap.. witch hazel for half off the bottle and water for the rest… Works great on my dog and cleans everything.. Great on stainless steel appliances to…

    • 10153776670208288@facebook.com' Jay Cuza says:

      Silica dust type = Diatomaceous Earth Powder

    • 10153776670208288@facebook.com' Jay Cuza says:

      I gotta try that. I love lavender fragrance! 🙂

    • 1043598405690355@facebook.com' Val Emerson says:

      Ohhh great one …Not toxic but does the job well.. It was fun sharing tips with you jay…

    • 10207128546725860@facebook.com' Susan Gunn Patrick says:

      Val, I have been in the situation. I didn’t know how I would feed my kids, keep a roof over their heads, supply them with any of the necessities…. yet I refused to purchase certain items, such as clothing or bedding, or beds that were previously owned by folks I didn’t know. The health and safety of my family was the most important factor. If there is a will, there is a way to provide without buying said items from a thrift store.
      Don’t get me wrong, I love thrift stores and shop them on a regular basis, just not for personal items. I have found many great items…. food dehydrators, pots, pans, material for curtains etc. Thrift stores are great.

    • 1043598405690355@facebook.com' Val Emerson says:

      I would say your children are very lucky to have a mother who holds such value for their safety….our children learn by our example..from yours clearly they will learn dedication…and you were fortunate to have had the ability to make those choices.. Even when it was not easy…i also was able because i made choices with the same concerns guiding them…i also did it when it was not easy.. But gratefully it was possible ..because even though it was hard..i could do it.. But judging anothers choice as inferior because i would not choose it and gratefully was not left with no other options makes no sense… Its like saying if you buy any of those items you are not doing the best for your family.. And that is the tone of the article i did not care for… But i sure enjoyed your response and it is great to know i was not the only mom that did without at times in her life so her kids had what i deemed important for them….

  7. 519105111577272@facebook.com' Inez Rekon says:

    Also unfollowing

  8. 10207720410152479@facebook.com' Kathy Bundrick Boylan says:

    I’ve seen underwear at the Goodwill. UGH!!

  9. 10154539935849832@facebook.com' Diane Karro says:

    Out of all 7 items ( in my own personal opinion) I only found 2 that were
    ” household items”

  10. 10207131197429653@facebook.com' Angi Kempken says:

    Ya cuz i buy used underwear all the time from thrift stores….thx for the tip! ?

  11. 1511750665814710@facebook.com' Ruth Lyman says:

    I ha email a

  12. 1511750665814710@facebook.com' Ruth Lyman says:

    I have a bed with mattress and a sofa no bugs had now for 3 years. But I knew the place.

  13. 1197714700243001@facebook.com' Arneette Davis says:

    Pull ups

  14. 10153082371867647@facebook.com' Mitchell Bram says:

    There are these things called Washing Machines – they clean clothes.

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