Whenever you go treasure hunting in an antique or vintage shop, think twice before buying some pre-owned items. A simple crystal vase or pair of shoes might be unsanitary and even dangerous to bring into your home.
Here at The Elite Indian, we care about our own health and the health of our readers, so we made a warning list for you so you can be careful when choosing things to buy at secondhand stores.
1. Antique crystal
Old crystal vessels are good for vintage collections. However, they were likely made according to outdated standards, containing up to 30% of lead oxide, according to The Washington Post. Using crystal like this for serving food or drinks can cause health issues.
2. Old dishware
According to the Center for Environmental Health, plates, teacups, and bowls can also contain lead and other dangerous chemicals. Not to mention the fact that you don’t know what’s been on the given dish.
It’s tempting to buy a pair of vintage designer shoes at a thrift shop, but the “game is not worth the candle.” If you buy used shoes, you become at risk of getting fungus or other skin infections that the previous owner may have had. Additionally, the shoes already took shape of the previous owner’s feet, making them uncomfortable to wear. However, if there’s still a tag on the shoes, they’re likely safe to wear.
4. Vacuum cleaners
Dust, dirt, and even bedbugs can accumulate not only in the dust bag, but in the smallest corners on the vacuum cleaner as well. So buying such a gadget from a thrift store is kind of a lottery — you never know exactly what germs or allergies you’re bringing along with it.
5. Stuffed animals
If you buy a stuffed animal for a child, you have to keep in mind that the kid constantly touches, hugs or even chews the toy, so it has to be really sterile. Old stuffed animals often serve as storage for germs, bedbugs, fleas, mold, and allergens. And washing the toy in hot water isn’t always reliable as some germs can withstand hot temperatures. So it’s not a good idea to buy used toys unless you’re planning to put them in a museum.
6. Electric appliances
Old electric equipment can not only break right after you purchase it, but it can also damage all the wiring in your house, causing a power outage or even a fire. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all new electrical appliances are more reliable — when buying any devices, old or new, it’s always best to check them immediately in the store or to contact a specialist.
7. Construction materials
Doors and windows can have termites or other bugs in them. And if they were manufactured or painted before the 1980s, they might contain lead, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. If you found a window frame that you really like, you can do a lead paint test before taking it home.
Although you probably won’t find mattresses in a regular thrift store, it’s still not a good idea to buy a used mattress if you see one. You might be bringing all kinds of things home like bugs, fleas, mites or other germs. Mattresses also carry bodily fluids of previous owners (and their animals) and can even pass on infections. The appearance of the used mattress can be neat and clean, but there’s no way to tell if it’s safe inside.
Even if the crib looks clean and new, it’s better to invest in a safe, new bed for your child since the safety standards have changed drastically over the last few decades.
Used textiles put you at risk for a bedbug invasion. The Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University stated that bedbugs can survive up to a year in upholstered pieces. On the other hand, there’s a bunch of cute, low-budget pillows on Amazon that can fit into just about any interior design scheme.
11. Used cookware
They might look pretty, but rusty pots, pans, cutlery, and other kitchen supplies are not safe in terms of cooking food. Overused cookware can have harmful metals and chemicals in them, contaminating your food. Because of this, it’s safe to purchase vintage kitchen supplies for decoration, but not for eating off of.
12. Rain gear
According to AOL, waterproof clothing and rubber boots don’t last forever. Moreover, raincoats can be damaged after being washed or after being used during a strong storm — after all, rain boots wear out after a few seasons. So it would actually cost less money to buy new boots than to buy old ones and wear them for just one season.
Protective helmets for bikes and motorcycles can withstand only one impact. And since it’s difficult to find out the history of the item, it’s much safer to just buy a new one — it’s better to be safe than sorry. Among other things, helmets, like all other hats, can carry lice eggs and other infectious things.
Secondhand rugs have years of stains, mold, and allergens inside them. Buying a new carpet might be a bit more expensive, but it’s much much safer for your health.
Have you ever bought anything from a thrift store? What was your best and worst secondhand purchase? We’d be happy to hear from you in the comment section below!
Preview photo credit Nashyra Tuininga / facebook