It’s only natural to want to get the most we can out of the things we purchase. That’s especially true when it comes to household items, especially the more utilitarian ones. After all, it’s more exciting to buy new clothing or décor rather than a new kitchen sponge, isn’t it? But holding on to certain household products for too long can actually be detrimental to your health and safety. Knowing what items need to be replaced and how often to replace them can keep your household healthy and happy. Let’s waste no time going over eight of those items so you can take an inventory of what might need replacing in your own home.
During flu season especially, replacing hand towels is super important. Even if you wash them regularly, they could still harbor yeast and mold that could irritate anyone with allergies in your home. Experts recommend replacing hand towels and bath towels every two to three years. While caring for them, be sure to wash them weekly in hot water. Make sure the towels you buy are made of a high-quality fabric so they can withstand regular washings. Additionally, ensure you have proper ventilation in your bathroom and keep the door open when possible to help the room and your towels stay dry. The longer they sit wet, the more time they have to grow mold.
It’s of no use having a smoke alarm in your home if the batteries aren’t working. In fact, three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. To keep you and your family safe, be sure to test the alarm monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year. You may even want to replace them twice a year, using Daylight Saving Time's start and end dates as reminders. Other than replacing the batteries, the alarm itself should be replaced every 10 years.
If you think about what you’re doing while brushing your teeth, you’ll realize that all the germs that were once in your mouth are now on that toothbrush. Sure, you rinse it off, but your toothbrush could still be a target for microscopic bacteria from other areas of the bathroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or whenever the bristles lose their stiffness. Additionally, store them covered or inside a drawer to keep them safe from bacteria.
When was the last time you washed your bath mat? Better yet, when was the last time you replaced it altogether? Not washing your bath mat regularly could make it a breeding ground for germs, especially if you have multiple people from the same house using the same bath mat. Additionally, keeping it for too long can do the same, even if you wash it regularly. Most cleaning experts recommend replacing your bath mats on the same schedule that you’d replace your bath towels, which is every two to three years.
Another thing people don’t often think about replacing is their makeup. After all, if it’s still useful and not close to being empty, why bother? The reason is that certain makeup, especially eye products, can harbor bacterial growth that can lead to an eye infection, which is no fun. Aim to replace eye makeup every three months, liquid and cream makeup once a year, and powder makeup every two years. One helpful idea is to arrange each type of makeup into three separate storage baskets with blank adhesive labels stuck onto each. Then you can use a pen or pencil to write on the label, indicating the date you last replaced the contents inside.
The same kitchen sponge you use to clean your dishes and countertops could be the same kitchen sponge spreading dangerous germs in your home. The bacteria sitting on the average kitchen sponge can lead to illnesses easily, as you’re using it to touch different utensils and plates. The frequency with which you replace it will depend on how often you use it. If you use it a lot, try to replace it every two weeks, but don’t keep it longer than eight weeks. Additionally, to keep it as clean as possible between replacements, be sure to either microwave it for a couple of minutes once a week or clean it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
Dust mites, dead skin cells, and bacteria love to hang out in your bedding. Going to bed with wet hair can make your pillow even more inviting to these contaminants. Make sure your hair is dry before going to bed, and wash your pillowcases in warm water once a week. Additionally, replace your pillowcases and bed sheets every two to three years.
Mattresses are not a cheap investment. But there’s a good reason that people pay big money for them. After all, a poor mattress can cause back problems and make you lose sleep, which can lead to even more health problems. The right mattress for your sleeping style could ward off a whole host of health problems, but not for long. According to the Sleep Foundation, all mattresses, including memory foam mattresses, should be replaced every six to eight years. Yours may need to be replaced even sooner if it is noticeably saggy in certain areas, is causing you pain or stiffness when you wake up or makes more noise than normal when you move.
It can be hard to remember not only what needs to be replaced in your home but how often to replace it. Adding reminders to your calendar or smartphone can be a handy practice so you don’t forget.