We know to throw out mouldy food, but there are many basic household items that we unknowingly let hang around way past their prime.

 

MATTRESS: 5-10 years

You don’t need to rush out and buy a new mattress every year, but they do have a five- to ten-year lifespan, so if you’re in the final stretch, start thinking about a replacement.

 

PILLOWS: 2 years

Your pillows should ideally be replaced every two years, because they collect loads of dust mites, dead skin and bacteria.

 

TOWELS: 2 years

Towels lose their fibres as they are used and after about two or three years they can lose their absorbency and softness.

 

TOOTHBRUSHES: 3 months

Living in the bathroom they collect lots of bacteria and need to be replaced at least every three months. You can help keep your toothbrush clean by rinsing thoroughly, leaving to air dry and soaking in anti-bacterial mouthwash between brushes.

 

SPONGES, LOOFAHS AND FACECLOTHS: 2 months

They leave us feeling clean and refreshed, but in reality they retain water and in a humid bathroom they breed bacteria… which you’ll rub into your skin the next time you exfoliate. Take your sponges out of the bathroom to air dry completely and replace every two months.

 

KITCHEN SPONGE: 3 weeks

Kitchen sponges spread bacteria and can potentially cause food poisoning. They’re the dirtiest item in the house and need to be replaced after three or four uses. To extend the life of your sponge, place it in a bowl of water and microwave it for two minutes or until the water is boiling. Replace it every couple of weeks.

 

CUTTING BOARD: 1 year

Cutting boards that have been well used and have obvious scratches and cuts should be replaced. The grooves are hard to clean and can house bacteria. Use soap and hot water to clean your board and vinegar to disinfect it.

 

OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATION: check expiry date

Headaches tablets, cough mixture, nausea medication – it gets used once and then put in the cupboard and forgotten about. OTC meds that have passed their expiry date can be less effective and potentially harmful.

 

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