Are Used Household Appliances Safe?


A lot of people donate their gently used clothing, books, purses, bags, and used household appliances to thrift stores. It makes sense – donating these items means they can be reused and recycled instead of them ending up in landfills. Not only that, but the money earned by thrift stores when selling these items often goes to many worthy causes, so it’s a win-win for the community and the Earth! In other words, recycling clothing and home goods, whether through donation, garage or estate sales, is often good for the economy and the environment.

But what about those used household appliances? Let’s say you’re walking down the home good aisle at your local Goodwill and you spot a crockpot, a coffee pot, a toaster, and a waffle iron that all look very good to you. Should you throw them in your cart and take them home? Or, is that a bad idea? Are you better off shopping for the deals at your local Wal-Mart instead?

Second-Hand Appliances

It’s common to find computers, TVs, hairdryers, curling irons, crock pots, toasters, toaster ovens, and other small electrical appliances at yard sales, garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores. And often, they sell for a fraction of the cost of their brand-new counterparts. Especially in challenging economic times, people may automatically think to by second-hand to save a few bucks. Unfortunately, though, second-hand appliances are not always safe.

It would be ideal if people would only sell or donate household appliances that have never been used or that are gently used, but that’s not always the case. It’s typical for people to be careless and donate or sell used household appliances that stopped working, that were recalled, or that pose fire or shock hazards.

We want to caution readers to be careful about buying discarded appliances at thrift stores and garage sales. Such an appliance may pose a fire or electrocution hazard and cause preventable injuries to your household members. Still, some brand-new, never-used appliances are donated to thrift stores in their original packaging, which can be quite tempting.

If something catches your eye at a thrift store, examine it closely for any damage, signs of wear, and frayed wires. If the warranty packaging is included that’s a bonus. Our advice is to plug it in and test it out before purchasing and if you have children at home, do not let them use the appliance until you have used it first and ensured it is working perfectly and does not pose any safety hazards.

Next: Don’t Use Damaged Power Cords!

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