Don’t buy these household items second hand

Some décor and furniture items are best bought new. Which ones are these?

Buying second-hand furniture and décor items for your home meets the need for sustainability. They are also generally cheaper than new goods and a great way to fill your home with distinctive items no one else has.

However, there are some things that really should be bought new.

Upholstered furniture

The problem with buying an upholstered piece of furniture like a sofa or armchair is that the framework is enclosed in fabric or leather. This means it is difficult to clean properly, so it could be full of bacteria as well as dust mites, fleas, dead skin cells and even bed bugs.

Unless you are buying from family or close friends, you cannot know what might be living inside the foam padding and upholstery material.


Good quality pillows and cushions can be pricey, especially if you prefer feathers and down or memory foam. Although some types are washable, others, such as foam or latex pillows, are not. As a result, they could be harbouring sweat, tears, lice and a host of nasty bacteria. Even relatively new feather or synthetic pillows can host several different types of fungus.

It is far more hygienic to buy a cheaper new pillow, fresh from the manufacturer.


Vintage carpets may seem appealing, but there is always a risk of bringing insect infestations into your home. Insects like fleas, ants and bed bugs love carpets, and a few stray eggs can still survive even after a thorough steam-cleaning.

A second-hand carpet may also have absorbed unpleasant odours as well as dirt and grime that come to light as soon as you walk over it a few times.

Having a used carpet deep cleaned or having an infestation removed is costly, so you are far better off buying a brand-new carpet that perfectly matches your décor.


Buying a used gas or charcoal braai can save you a lot of money, but before you bring it home, you must thoroughly inspect the second-hand unit.

  • Check for rust. Minute bits can stick to food, which would be harmful to your health.
  • Check that the drip tray is spotlessly clean.
  • Check that the burner holes are unclogged.
  • Check that gas hose connections are secure.

If it doesn’t pass inspection, or the seller won’t let you see it, rather buy a new braai.


Unless you know the previous owner, it is usually better to buy electrical appliances new rather than second-hand.

If they are in working condition, there is no way of telling whether or not they are about to die on you. They don’t usually come with a guarantee, and repairs tend to be expensive because you will be charged for parts and labour.

It is often cheaper to buy a new one than to have an old appliance repaired.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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