5 Worst Clothing Items to Buy at Thrift Stores

Shopping at thrift stores offers numerous advantages, whether you’re on a tight budget, prioritize sustainability, or seek a unique wardrobe. Unlike fast fashion, thrifted items are less likely to be duplicated, and supporting charities associated with thrift stores can provide a feel-good element to your purchases, as noted by Tom Yates, a style and grooming expert and founder of Cut Throat Club.

However, experts caution that not all items are ideal for buying second-hand. Some pieces may deteriorate in quality over time, and others could pose hygiene risks. Yates recommends thorough inspections of thrifted items, checking seams, buttons, zippers, and looking for any stains or signs of wear.

In certain cases, experts suggest bypassing thrift stores altogether and opting for new purchases.

1. Shoes

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Used shoes may harbor foot fungi and bacteria, making them a potential hygiene risk. Additionally, pre-loved shoes may have conformed to someone else’s foot, providing less support for your own.

2. Natural Fabrics

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While a wool or cashmere sweater may seem like a great find, natural fabrics can attract moths. Check carefully for tiny holes, as they may indicate the presence of moths and reflect the garment’s overall care and durability.

3. Earrings

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Avoid purchasing second-hand earrings, as dirty posts can lead to infections. If you can’t resist a pair, make sure to sterilize them thoroughly with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide before wearing.

4. Underwear

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Second-hand intimates, including underwear, can contain infection-causing bacteria. Despite the low odds of contracting an infection, experts advise against buying used underwear at thrift stores.

5. Swimsuits

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Similar to underwear, second-hand swimsuits should be avoided due to hygiene concerns. Unless it’s clear that the swimsuit has never been worn and still contains the hygienic liner, it’s best to skip these items.

Remember: Thoroughly inspect any thrift store purchases for issues like stains, tears, or hygiene concerns. While thrifting is a fantastic way to find unique pieces, certain items may be better purchased new for health and safety reasons.


Thrift store shopping is a budget-friendly and sustainable option, offering a unique wardrobe while supporting charitable causes. However, experts warn against buying certain items second-hand due to potential hygiene risks and quality deterioration. Thoroughly inspecting items, avoiding used shoes and natural fabrics prone to moths, and refraining from second-hand earrings, underwear, and swimsuits are recommended for a safer and more enjoyable thrift shopping experience.

Priya Singh

Hey readers! I'm Priya Singh Founder of (MercerOnline.com), I am full-time Digital Marketer, Organic Affiliate Marketer & a Blogger.

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