Being one of the top marketplaces with more than 96.5 million active users, Etsy is certainly not a curated one. Nonetheless, its house rules must ensure a safe and aligned environment for its audience, mostly indicated by the zero-tolerance policy against Etsy prohibited items.
Therefore, it is fundamental to understand well Etsy policies for sellers. This is crucial for new, experienced sellers, and those who are going multichannel selling.
With massive traffic, Etsy is surely a gold mine for e-sellers, as long as you comply with all the regulations. The following article would provide several prohibited categories on Etsy with explanations and examples of what should get a passing.
Now let’s dig a little deeper!
New to selling on Etsy? Check out all Etsy selling guides for beginners here with LitCommerce!
Etsy Prohibited Items – What Cannot be Sold on Etsy?
There are 8 sections in total about what you cannot sell, according to the latest Etsy shop rules. These sections face banning because of the risk they bring to the Etsy community. Although not all the items are outlawed everywhere in the world, they still likely provoke hatred, violence, vulgarity, etc.
Here is a deeper insight into the Etsy prohibited items for e-sellers:
1. Alcohol & other drugs
Alcohol, drug, drug paraphernalia, medical drug, and even tobacco aren’t welcome on Etsy. Speaking further on the causes, these lie under certain law restrictions. Not to mention, items in the section are considered controlled substances, under certain circumstances.
Other Etsy selling rules also prohibit any substance claiming to have intoxicating or healing effects. Laws may not restrict specific types, but they simply don’t align with Etsy’s spirit and core values.
While alcohol is among Etsy prohibited items, the case is vice versa for eBay and Amazon. Nonetheless, you are free to sell wine and beer on Amazon. Besides, if you are selling on eBay, you can only list alcoholic drinks in your shop as long as you have a seller account.
2. Hazardous materials, recalled items & weapons
The second banned section on Etsy refers to hazardous materials, recalled items, and weapons. But exactly what can’t you sell on Etsy?
- Hazardous materials
For hazardous materials, the Etsy selling policy restricts e-sellers from listing explosives (fireworks, sparklers), explosive precursors (specific reference), flammable items, gases, radioactive materials, toxic substances, and lithium-ion batteries (both individual and loose).
Hazardous materials become Etsy prohibited items because they can cause serious health threats under contexts. Also, check out the Product safety essentials for Cleaning Supplies and Cosmetics.
- Recalled items
Moreover, Etsy terms and conditions for sellers ban recalled items. Any item that has been recalled either by the government or manufacturers wouldn’t get selling permission on the Etsy marketplace.
In other cases, Etsy prohibited items also include products causing harm or safety threat to users. Specifically, products presenting electrocution, choking, or strangulation hazards are not allowed to sell on Etsy.
It isn’t surprising that weapons are banned on marketplaces, which include Etsy, Amazon, and eBay. Firearms (real or imitation), guns, knives, etc. cannot appear in shop listings. What you can sell would be more like this:
- Non-harmful toy guns
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3. Offensive & controversial items
Among the Etsy prohibited items, it mentions products that provoke hatred and offense. These issues can arise from items associated with ethics, races, religions, nationalities, and politics. Within the matter, even music, artwork, and film may be prohibiting subjects.
Putting the matter in other words, Etsy collection rules do not give any permission to sell items that commemorate or promote hate groups, historical or modern. The clearest examples of hate groups are the KKK (Ku Kux Klan – American white supremacists), Nazi or Neo-Nazi, and the Holocaust denial agendas.
Furthermore, what can you not sell on Etsy as offensive and controversial items are racial or religious slurs against protective groups. Otherwise, be selective even when choosing items that are against violence or hate groups. They aren’t in the ban but may get restricted.
Last but not least, e-sellers are free to promote religious items. By and large, they are under no prohibition when inspired by general religions. (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.).
In point of fact, religious handmade or ornaments are not the leading categories on Etsy but still make potential ones. Should you struggle when selling such products, check out the LitCommerce review on the best selling platforms now!
4. Illegal items
To prevent illegal activities, Etsy prohibited item list includes:
- Plants and seeds
- India restrictions
- Native American crafts
- Food products
You can find more details about Etsy rules for selling on its official website. Keep in mind that the mentioned are not the subject to prohibition exhaustively.
Discussing further Etsy prohibited items related to legal issues, the online marketplace places a strict prohibition on the followings:
- Counterfeit or unauthorized commodities listed in Etsy counterfeit policy (imitation, up-cycled products without permission, etc)
- Personal information (licenses, identification cards, credit cards, etc)
- Highly regulated items (real estate assets, securities, currencies, bonds, stocks…)
- Vehicles (automobiles, motorcycles, travel trailers, boats, etc)
- Listings that promote or facilitate illegal issues (impersonation, evasion of illegal detention, fraudulent deception leading to false medical results…).
5. Violent items
Etsy seller rules are doing their best to remain a safe business environment for its users. Therefore, Etsy prohibited items refer to those provoking violence, supporting, or glorifying self-harm, and human suffering.
Products considered “violent” on Etsy may have one of the following features:
- Worshipping human tragedies or sufferings;
- Commemorating or honoring serial killers;
- Emphasizing or exploiting natural disasters and human sufferings contextually;
- Promoting self-harm and hatred;
- Containing or supporting harmful falsified information.
All of the listed items meet strict prohibitions on Etsy. Without a doubt, such items can create serious threats to the Etsy community. Although violent content is contributing to parts of historic, educational, and even art expressions, it receives no permission to act against others or glorify the matters.
6. Internationally regulated items
When entering a worldwide market, Etsy sellers as well as buyers must comply with local laws and regulations. There are no official Etsy prohibited items as it gets down to the “international” term. This results from the complex laws of each country.
However, sellers and buyers receive no permission to trade all products that are listed in general Etsy-banned items. For other restrictive items, you may need to check if the destination country allows them or if any required additional documents with the purchase.
Moreover, remember you would not face barely prohibition or restriction if you sell products referring to or inspired by a region. But they must not originate from sanctioned areas. Besides, you can sell international materials such as books, music, film, or photos…
Finally, new sellers on Etsy should pay attention to the selling fees, particularly deposit and currency conversion ones. You can get to know more about Etsy’s latest policies in our article on Etsy seller fees.
7. Nudity & mature content
Since this marketplace is a creativity-encouraging one, Etsy places prohibitions, and restrictions on nudity and mature content. The biggest reason is the misalignment among such sections and the brand’s messages and values.
Pornography or relevant items are Etsy prohibited items without a doubt. As a matter of fact, people define pornography more clearly in context. Therefore, Etsy seller policy is against any visual materials or displays of sex organs, acts, or even stimulation.
Sellers also cannot have a depiction of non-consensual sex, incest, or bestiality in their shop either. On the other hand, mature content only faces restriction, not prohibition. This happens as long as you understand well about Etsy listing tools and list your products properly. Adding video to Etsy listings when it comes to this section needs attention as well.
Some examples of what you can sell on Etsy (mature content):
- Fine art (non-pornography);
- Cartoon nude men and women prints.
8. Animal products & human remains
The term “Can you sell live animals on Etsy?” makes a hot search on the Internet. In general, animal products and human remains are not exactly Etsy prohibited items. However, they must follow strict regulations by Etsy seller rules. For animal products, you cannot sell any of these below:
- Live animals;
- Products made of cats, dogs’ body parts, or pelts. Consult more on the U.S Federal Law;
- Bones and ivories from ivory-producing species (tusks, wooly mammoth, fossilized, etc);
- Products manufactured from endangered or threatened species;
- The human body remains (except for teeth, fingernails, and hair).
If you are selling any product relating to this section, consulting CITES is necessary. Meanwhile, you would face no restrictions or banning rules, if you sell these products:
- Leather goods;
- Textile from animal hair;
- Human hair or teeth;
- Items made from non-ivory species and antlers.
Finding Etsy competitors and alternatives may help you sell more due to different house rules. However, remember to comply with the regulations set on each.
Etsy Prohibited Items – FAQs
- 1. What products are not allowed on Etsy?
Rules for selling on Etsy don’t allow products as follows:
- Tobacco, alcohol, medical drug, drug, and drug paraphernalia.
- Dangerous products: hazardous materials, weapons, recalled products
- Hate products
- Internationally regulated products
- Nudity and mature content-related items
- Violent products
- Illegal products
- Animals’ and humans’ remains
- 2. Is it illegal to resell items from Etsy?
Reselling items is not illegal on Etsy. Nonetheless, Etsy has restrictions on reselling products. You can only resell within the craft supplies categories. Meanwhile, reselling in the category of Handmade is not permitted.
- 3. Can I sell non-handmade items on Etsy?
You can sell non-handmade on Etsy. However, sellers must comply with the Etsy House rules and not sell what is on the list of Etsy prohibited items. For international sellers, consulting and complying with other compulsory regulations and laws are essential as well.
The Bottom Line
With so many prohibited items, is Etsy worth selling anymore? Our answer is Yes. The marketplace still has so much potential for handmade and craft sellers. Adding to that, e-sellers on Etsy have no limits on creativity, as long as their items sold aren’t violating any of the house rules.