Some people feel that instructions to replace certain items regularly only have a consumerist approach and want to get you to buy even more. However, for hygiene and safety reasons, we suggest that you replace the following items regularly:
Many people don’t consider a kitchen sponge filthy, especially because it gets some soap-and-water action with each use. Some people even use their sponges until they fall apart. However, kitchen sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria and mould that you only end up spreading around. You should replace your kitchen sponges at least once a month. If you only wash your dishes by hand, consider replacing sponges more regularly, especially if they start to smell bad.
Electricity is such a part of our everyday lives, and we love to use multi-plugs to get even more out of our outlets. Unfortunately, multi-plugs don’t last forever. When you notice that your multi-plug gets warm when plugged in, smells funny when in use, or its built-in surge protector keeps tripping when you use it, it’s time to replace it for safety’s sake. Faulty plugs are the most likely item to cause household fires, and are only designed to take about seven years of constant, responsible use.
Filters used in air-conditioning systems should at least be replaced every year, preferably after cold and flu season, but to be safe you can replace it once every six months. Germs and fungus love living in air filters. Dust and mould that accumulate in air filters can cause allergies. Dirty air filters can even assist in distributing harmful bacteria and viruses during cold and flu season. If you have respiratory problems like allergies, it might be time to replace that air filter you haven’t thought about in years.
Follow the instructions that came with your water pitcher or dispenser. Most manufacturers recommend replacing their filters every two to six months. Water filters are designed to keep your water clean, but can only do so if they themselves are clean and free of mould and bacteria. This includes your refrigerator’s water filter.
Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. Toothbrushes are supposed to clean your teeth, but can lead to gum diseases because of the bacteria growth on them if they’re not replaced regularly. To keep it as germ-free as possible, never share a toothbrush with anyone else, buy a new one after you were sick, close the toilet lid when you flush, and don’t store your toothbrush on the sink or in a closed container. Rinse it thoroughly after use and leave to air-dry.
It is recommended that you replace your mattress at least every ten years. Over time it loses its support and strength as the springs and sponge wear out, and can lead to back problems. Turning your mattress every year or so can help it last longer. Don’t flip it if you have a non-flip mattress (meaning that it’s designed to only have one soft side).
The thought of throwing out your favourite pillow might seem sad, but the truth is that pillows harbour bacteria and dust mites, even if they are cleaned regularly. They also lose their shape and support after a while, and your neck might thank you for buying a new, supporting one. It is recommended to replace your pillows every two years, but if you really love yours you might be able to stretch its lifespan with a year or so if you use pillow protectors. Mostly it depends on how well it retains its shape and supports your neck while sleeping.