Resell items you buy from a thrift store

Never buy at a thrift store seems crazy!  The second you walk into a thrift store, your senses are bombarded with a kaleidoscope of old clothing, furniture, and fixtures. It’s almost like walking into an old friend’s house – except instead of being happy to see an old friend, you’re excited to find all these new and interesting things at a thrift store! Here are 15 things you should never buy at a thrift store.

*This post may contain affiliate links that I earn a small commission off of in the event you use them to purchase items.  As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Never Buy Appliances & Broken Items at a Thrift Store

Imagine finding a beautiful crockpot with a glass lid, trendy design, and it’s the perfect size for family dinners. The price is amazing too! You think, “OMG, this is a great deal!” You purchase it, excited to take it home, wash it, and make the best crockpot meal ever only to find it doesn’t heat up when you plug it in. It’s a sad reality for many thrifters. Sometimes even when you plug it in and test it at the store you later find out that it doesn’t work as it should. Maybe a setting doesn’t work or it doesn’t heat up as hot as it should to cook properly. Instead, buy your appliances brand new with certainty, like this super functional crockpot!

Broken appliances, furniture, and electronics are one of the leading causes of damage in thrift store donations. There are so many things that can go wrong with electronics and appliances which is why we suggest you skip over them and not take any chances. Furthermore, there could be damage to the inside lining where the food is cooked in some appliances which could lead to chemicals leaching into your food. Yuck! Lesson to be learned is never buy appliances or potentially broken items from a thrift store.

Never Buy Footwear at a Thrift Store

Never buy shoes at a thrift store

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of buying shoes at thrift stores mainly because I’ve never really thought about the dangers. If the previous owner had nail or toe fungus…well that’s really gross and those germs could still be in the shoes. Spray them with anti disinfectant you say? Yeah maybe, but do you really want to take a chance on getting athletes’ feet?!

Secondly, most shoes are not meant to be worn for long durations of time. Most, if not all, will start to become unsalvageable as you wear them longer. That means that those thrift store shoes probably have a worn down sole, lack of cushioning in the footbed, or the seams are ripped or torn. Foot health is actually way more important than people realize. You’re on your feet all day so you really need to take care of them by wearing shoes that are appropriately sized, comfortable (these are my favorite!), and in good condition.

Never Buy Electronics at a Thrift Store

never buy vacuum cleaners at thrift stores

Electronics can seem like a great pick up at thrift stores, especially when you get them at a deep discount. Let’s examine if it’s really a good gamble. Electronics like DVD players, vacuum cleaners, and lamps can be risky. A vacuum cleaner, for example, is rated as one of the worst thrift store buys because most vacuum cleaners do not hold up or lose their suction power over time. So even if you test it at the store and it appears to be working correctly, you could realize when you get home that it doesn’t pick up the crumbs the way you thought or worse, it throws them out of the back of the vacuum cleaner. Sometimes the hoses are stretched or have micro holes in them too. Not worth the risk when you realize it’s better spent on a new vacuum that has a warranty and can be returned to the store if it’s defective.

Additionally, electronics are the one category of items that are almost guaranteed to break the very next time you try to use them. When you’re done using them, they just end up gathering dust in a box somewhere but sometimes people donate them. That means people are donating items that don’t really work or are old and outdated. Electronics can be a great and useful item to have, but they’re also one of the items that are almost guaranteed to be broken in no time. That’s why we rate electronics as a “Never buy” on the thrift store buying list.

Never Buy Bedding at a Thrift Store

never buy bedding at thrift stores

There are so many times we want to buy a bed, but we don’t want to take on the commitment of getting new bedding or investing in a bed frame. Bedding and bed linens are meant to be used, and people typically use them very heavily. That means some unpleasant things could have occurred on that bedding…I’m just saying things you might not want to share with a stranger if you know what I mean. That’s enough for me to say never buy them but if that’s wasn’t enough, keep reading.

Comforters, pillows, blankets, and sheets can be washed in very hot water to help sanitize them but you also run the risk of fading and shrinking. Also, think mold and mildew because let’s face it, not everyone is like you and me and takes care of their stuff. And let’s not even go down the bed bug rabbit hole. That’s just too much for me and why I say, “No thank you” to bedding and bed related items from thrift stores. I never buy them because the reality of bed bugs is too much for this girl to handle.

Never Buy Kitchenware & Tableware at a Thrift Store

never buy kitchenware or tableware at thrift stores

I love the idea of finding new plates, bowls, and silverware but buyer beware. Depending on the age of the items and where they were made they could be full of chemicals. Cheap tableware can break down slowly over time, especially when washed in extreme temperatures like in a dishwasher. Unbeknownst to you, those chemicals can leach into your food. So that cute plastic outdoor plate with the tropical print that looks perfect for your summer cookout could be dangerous to your families health. Those types of dinnerware are so inexpensive anyway, just buy them new. These are some of my favorites for summer cookouts!

In regards to pots and pans you have to examine thrift store finds very carefully. Nonstick pans have a chemical coating that makes them nonstick. This is a great invention for cooking, however, if there are scratches or cuts in the pans those chemicals can leach into your food while you’re cooking. Scratched, rusty, or worn-down baking sheets, pots, and pans are likely not safe for actual use, according to Reader’s Digest. It’s gross to think about but necessary for your health so never buy scratched up or really any nonstick pans.

Never Buy Glassware & Porcelain at a Thrift Store

never buy antique glassware at thrift stores unless it's for decoration only

Glassware and porcelain pieces are great for display in china cabinets, lighted shelves or on top of cabinets. They’re not great for actually eating or drinking out of them, however. According to The Washington Post, antique crystal glasses, decanters, and other crystal vessels were likely made following outdated standards, which means they could contain 32 percent or more lead oxide. To ensure the items are safe you use a lead test kit to determine an item’s level of safety if you really want to bring it home. Never use crystal to store food or drinks over a long period of time.

Never Buy Baby Items at a Thrift Store

Never buy baby items at a thrift store

When you’re having a new baby it’s very tempting to want to buy items second-hand and save money. Afterall, babies can be expensive! Unfortunately, cribs and car seats are some of the most dangerous items to buy when you go thrifting. According to, There have been millions of cribs recalled for safety concerns over the years and new safety standards have been put in place. Plus, back in the day, cribs were painted with lead containing paint. Definitely not worth the risk for you and your new bundle of joy!

Car seats are another item that is commonly recalled for safety concerns. Even car seats that are only a year or two old can be recalled so you really can’t play it safe by buying a newer one at thrift stores. In fact, this is such a concern that most major thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army will not take car seats and booster seats as donations anymore.

Strollers, baby bedding, and baby toys are other no’s that make the list for probably obvious reasons at this point. Strollers can be recalled for safety, baby bedding could have bed bugs or mold, and baby toys can contain germs, mold, or have parts that are worn and jagged resulting in accidental ingestion by your little one.

Never Buy Undergarments or Bathing Suits at a Thrift Store

Never buy underwear or bathing suits from a thrift store

Okay, this may go without saying but I’m going to say anyway. DON’T BUY UNDERGARMENTS OR BATHING SUITS from thrift stores! Used underwear and bathing suits can spread bacteria and sexually transmitted diseases. If you choose to purchase brand new bath suits or underwear, make sure they have both new retail tags on them AND the sanitary liner on them.

Never Buy Make-Up & Cosmetic Items at a Thrift Store

Thrift stores have all sorts of interesting items and make-up and cosmetic items can sometimes be found. You may be tempted to purchase a normally expensive face cream or mascara for a great deal, new in package of course, but is that a good idea? It is new and never used after all. Actually, it’s a terrible idea and here’s why.

never buy make up or cosmetics from a thrift store

Make-up and cosmetic items have the expiration date clearly on them. Even if an item is new in a box or plastic wrap it could still be expired. Additionally, you don’t know how the product was handled. It could have been stored in extreme conditions such as a 100 degree warehouse or left outside in a tote in extreme weather conditions. I realize that may seem like extreme circumstances but truly you never know. When it comes to the health of our skin and bodies we shouldn’t take any chances.

Another reason buying cosmetic products from thrift stores is a bad idea is there are a lot of counterfeit products on the market. These counterfeit items are laced with chemicals you wouldn’t clean your bathroom with let alone put on your body. These fake items aren’t always as easy to spot as you would think. According to, many knockoff goods contain beyond-harmful ingredients like cyanide, arsenic, rat poison, urine, and lead that definitely shouldn’t be in your household, much less your makeup.

Never Buy List

Medication and medical supplies are another no go. It goes without saying if you can’t trust an item’s ingredients or condition 100%, walk away. If you’re looking to buy something on this list, shop retail sales. You’re much safer to buy the items new and from a trusted resource that comes directly from the manufacturer. There are so many great things to find at a thrift store, so there’s no need to waste your money on things that could be dangerous to you or your loved ones.  Why should you buy from a thrift store? Check out this post!

*This post may contain affiliate links that I earn a small commission off of in the event you use them to purchase items.  As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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