5 Things You Should Never Buy Used

There are plenty of reasons to buy second-hand goods. For one thing it’s a great way to find totally usable products at amazing discount prices (even if they are slightly used). And if you happen to value eco-friendly and sustainable solutions to modern living, it will also help to keep still-viable items out of the landfill (while potentially cutting down on new manufacturing due to decreasing demand). But there are some items that you should never buy used, no matter how much of a bargain you’ll get on the price. Here are a few best left behind.

1. Underwear. Do you really need this one explained? As a side note, bras are okay as long as they are not stained and the elastic is in good condition. But tighty-whities, panties, and especially thongs are a definite no in the used category. Swimsuits are pretty iffy, as well, although handerpants (yes, this is a real thing) are approved for second-hand (pun intended!) purchase.

2. Software. While you shouldn’t hesitate to buy used electronics (as long as they still work or you can mine them for usable parts), software is another story. It used to be easy enough to burn copies of software discs to share with your friends, but over the last several years, the industry (like so many others) has taken steps to stop digital theft and piracy. In fact, most software publishers now include encryptions that make discs impossible to copy, as well as serial numbers for registration. Since each copy has its own serial number multiple users cannot register it, meaning you likely won’t get the full value of the software when you purchase a used copy.

3. Car seat. Child safety is of paramount concern for most parents, and while there’s no reason to turn your nose up at used furnishings and accessories for your kid’s room (as long as it’s solid, in good condition, and has not been subject to recall), you should steer clear of actual safety equipment when it comes to used items. In truth, brand new car seats aren’t that expensive, there are always new advances in this quintessential safety technology, and you really can’t put a price tag on your child’s safety.

4. Mattresses. You’ve probably heard the startling statistic used by mattress salesman everywhere: the average mattress can double in weight within ten years due to the accumulation of skin cells and body oils, dust, and dust mites (tiny critters that eat your skin and oil, and then excrete it). Um, ew. Lacking reliable studies citing such research, it is unclear if the statement about mattresses doubling in weight is true, but who knows what other stuff has gotten into that fabric (which has probably never been washed, vacuumed, or otherwise cleaned). This item is probably best avoided in the arena of second-hand goods.

5. Makeup. If you happen to find a garage sale that has a bin of used makeup, do not stop to sift through it; just keep walking! Even if it happens to be in its original packaging with no signs of usage, it is probably old, which means it has started to degrade. And if it has been used it is like a breeding ground for bacteria and diseases (pink eye, cold sores, etc.). Would you put your fingers in a petri dish full of specimens and them rub them all over your face? You might as well if buy used makeup.