15 Things You Should Never Buy at a Thrift Store

Some of these finds are downright dangerous.

Whenever you can buy a for your home, we say go for it! Buying used is often an easy way to find inexpensive, high-quality and . But in some cases, preowned or old items can be unsanitary, more expensive, and, in worst-case scenarios, dangerous. So the next time you scour your favorite thrift shop (or an antique store or garage sale), think twice about these items.

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Bedding

This includes sheets, duvet covers, blankets, linens, and more. There's no thorough way to sanitize these items, and since you'll be spending so much time wrapped up in them (at least 8 hours a day, right?), it's better to spend some extra cash to .

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Antique crystal

At least not if you plan to eat off of it. Antique crystal glasses, decanters and other crystal vessels were likely made following outdated standards, which means they could contain 32% or more lead oxide, according to . Try to avoid purchasing old crystal, which could contaminate your drinks and food, or use a to determine an item's level of safety if you really want to bring it home. And never use crystal to store food or drinks over a long period of time.

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Appliances you can't test in store

A word to the wise: Make sure you know it works before you bring it home.

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Old dishware

They may look pretty, but vintage plates, bowls, cups, and platters . Yikes! If you're worried, play it safe by purchasing newer pieces—or just use your vintage pieces for display.

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Cribs

Over the decades, there have been millions of cribs recalled, in addition to improved crib safety standards put in place, according to . Invest in a safe bed for your little one by purchasing one that's new and up to latest standards. 

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Construction materials

There's a good chance any doors, windows, and molding manufactured and/or painted before 1978 contain lead, according to the . If you have your heart set on a shabby chic window frame at your local thrift shop, ask to do a before taking it home.

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Anything with old or chipping paint

Always, and we mean always, if you're thinking of buying a piece with old or chipping paint. "Not all vintage items contain lead paint," the  cautions, "however, painted items should be assumed to contain lead paint until they can be tested."

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Vintage hardware

There's nothing we love more than a distressed knob or pull to embellish a door, dresser, or cabinet, but these items also come with a risk of lead exposure. Always before you buy.

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Mattresses

Two words: bed bugs! 

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Used cookware

They may look beautifully distressed, but scratched, rusty, or worn-down baking sheets, pots, pans, and other go-to kitchen supplies are likely not safe for actual use, according to . Chipping non-stick coatings and rust are not safe to consume food off of, and over-used cookware may seep harmful chemicals into your food. When it comes to , you may want to stick to just using them for decoration and not for food consumption.

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Pillows

Bringing home any sort of used textile or item covered with fabric puts you at risk for a bed bug infestation. In fact, bed bugs can survive up to one year in upholstered pieces, according to the . And with cute throw pillows available for just $10-20 on  and , it's both affordable and wise to go for something new. 

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Rugs

Preowned rugs could contain years of stains, allergens, mold, and mildew. Buy a new one and your allergies will thank you. 

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Anything that stinks

That funky smell could be from mold, dust, pet stains, or a combination of chemicals from old paints or stains—and you'll never what's causing it since you don't know the previous owner. Plus, removing odors from furniture can be costly and time-consuming. Save yourself the headache and skip that musty piece you had your eyes on.

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Upholstered furniture

At the very least, you should plan to remove and replace all the upholstery from previously owned furniture to avoid bed bugs, allergens, and mold. Or, play it safe by skipping fabric-covered pieces all together.

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Utensils

Cheaply made utensils can cause metals and chemicals to leach and contaminate your food, but sterling silver and stainless steel are safe to use. 

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