17 items you should always avoid buying at garage sales

Garage sales are wonderful opportunities to nab fun home, garden and personal items at affordable prices. But there are several items that can also pose a great danger for you and your family.

It should go without saying that personal items like lingerie and swimwear -- regardless of how adorably vintage the pieces may be -- can be unsanitary. But popular home items like cookware and kitchen appliances can also be harmful.

Click through the slideshow to learn which common items to avoid at garage sales, including one that could be very incriminating:

17 items you should always avoid buying at garage sales
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17 items you should always avoid buying at garage sales


Finding a lightly used computer at a garage sale can seem like a great find, but you'll want to make sure the hard drive is wiped before taking it home. Not only will you have access to your neighbor's personal information, but at the worst case scenario, you could find yourself in possession of illegal information like child pornography.

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It should go without saying that personal items like lingerie -- regardless of how adorably vintage the pieces may be -- can be unsanitary.

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Same goes for swimwear!

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Cushions and other upholstered pieces of furniture could be teaming with bed bugs, which could end up costing you a fortune to exterminate in your home. Your best bet? Buying pillows brand-new from your local home store.

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The same rule applies here regarding bed bugs, but old mattresses can also offer poor support for your body. With affordable new mattress options like Casper, there's no reason to settle on secondhand.

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While many people hate buying secondhand shoes for the smell, worn shoes can actually hurt your feet, as they're molded to the hooves of their original owner.

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Kitchen appliances

Old kitchen appliances like blenders and the like can actually be hazardous with old, dull blades and out-of-date wiring.

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Never settle on your safety! You should always buy tires from a certified retailer.

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Hats may contain lice or remnants skin infections. 

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Baby bottles

Chemical BPA is present in most older bottles, which the FDA no longer considers safe for children. Buying new bottles can ensure make sure you're getting the safest products.

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Rust, flaky non-stick coatings and chemicals can leach out into your food.

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Ill-fitting clothing

Sometimes you feel like you just have to buy something at a garage sale -- but you can end up with a item you either never wear or a spend a fortune altering.

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Used makeup can be teaming with bacteria, and even if its unopened, the quality of makeup can depreciate over the years. Check the expiration date or just purchase new!

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Stuffed animals 

Similar to cushions and mattresses, stuffed animals can be full of unsavory finds. Plus, some plushies can be hard to send through a sanitizing cycle in a washing machine.

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Frequently changing safety standards make it hard to gauge the right quality by sight -- It's always best to purchase cribs new for the safety of your infant.

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Car seat

Similar to cribs, car seat technology improves year after year.

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Considering brushes can be very affordable at your local drugstore, it's not worth the risk of lice or infection. 

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