10 Things You Shouldn’t Buy At Garage Sales

3 min read
10 Things You Shouldn’t Buy At Garage Sales

Everyone loves a bargain, and there’s often many to be had if you spend Saturdays and Sundays going to the garage sales in your neighbourhood.

But there are some things that just aren’t worth the risk buying second hand, no matter how big a bargain they are… you might be bringing home more than you bargained for in the form of bugs and illnesses, while some other items are just potentially unsafe and not worth the risk.

1.  Bicycle helmets

bicycle helmet

A bike helmet’s design is to protect the wearer from one accident – and one accident only. If the helmet has already been used in an accident, you might not be able to see the damage. It’s a huge risk to wear a helmet that isn’t going to actually protect you.

2. Nonstick cookware

You Shouldn't Buy At Garage Sales

The nonstick coatings on pots and pans can be toxic. The agents that were used to manufacture older nonstick pots and pans can flake off and leave residue in your food.

3. Socks and jocks

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via flickr

Yeah, this should be self-explanatory why this is gross. Used clothing is one thing, but someone else’s used undies is another thing entirely.

4. Child car seats


Just like bike helmets, a child’s car seat is meant to protect in the event of one accident. It’s quite common for car seats to be damaged – it’s believed as many as one in ten have been in an accident.

5. Sheets and pillowcases

sheet and pillowcases

Just because you can’t see bedbugs, doesn’t mean they’re not lurking in secondhand bedding – they are so tiny you cannot see them with your naked eye. Sheets can also harbour potentially deadly bugs and bacteria.

6. Mattresses


Like sheets and pillowcases, you could be bringing home a plethora of bedbugs with someone else’s secondhand mattress. They also cannot be completely sanitised, so that means you’ll also be sleeping with their germs, body fluids and bacteria.

7. Baby bottles

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Not only can there be issues around hygiene and cracks that you can’t immediately see, older bottles may contain the chemical BPA that has been determined not to be safe.

8. Used makeup

used makeup

You are putting yourself at risk of spreading communicable diseases to yourself if you purchase and use makeup that someone else has used previously. In addition to conjunctivitis and cold sores, you could also catch staph, strep or E.coli.

9. Breast pumps

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The outside of the breast pump might have been sanitised, but the inside could be another story entirely. Insides of breast pumps can be breeding grounds for mould and bacteria.

10. Upholstered furniture

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Like mattresses and sheets, furniture that is upholstered might contain bedbugs! Other nasties lurking can include fleas and spiders… and unknown odours and stains. If you’re not planning on reupholstering it, it’s best to avoid.

Are you willing to take the risk?

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About Author

Caroline Duncan

Caroline Duncan is a freelance journalist and photographer with almost 20 years' media experience in radio, magazines and online. She is also a mother...Read More of three daughters, and when she's not writing or taking pictures, she's extremely busy operating a taxi service running them around to various activities. She can't sew and hates housework. Read Less

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