10 Common Household Items You Should Replace More Often (and When)
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It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and let the small things slip by with little notice. Case in point: some of the common stuff around your home that you should replace regularly. Read on for this list of (sometimes surprising) common household items and how often they should be replaced.
Let’s start with common kitchen items you should replace:
1. The refrigerator water filter you drink from
Think your water tastes just fine? The truth is that it’s probably not if your water filter is old (most contaminants in your water, such as bacteria, are totally tasteless), resulting in water that can make you ill.
If you frequently use the water on your fridge, it’s recommended to replace the filter about every 6 months or sooner when that little red light comes on (most new refrigerators let you know when the filter needs to be replaced). If you don’t use it often, then you may be able to push it to an entire year before replacing.
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2. The dish sponge you clean with
Just because you always use soap with your sponge doesn’t mean it magically stays sanitary and squeaky clean forever. In fact, the kitchen sponge is considered the germiest item in your kitchen, according to NYU School of Medicine. 😱
A not-so-fun fact: You’re more likely to get food poisoning from an unsanitary sponge in your home than in a restaurant. 😱 To avoid spreading harmful germs all over your clean counters and dishes, it’s recommended to replace your sponge every 2-3 weeks. In between replacements, it’s recommended you sanitize your favorite sponge every single day.
Hip Tip: 2 different ways to properly sanitize your sponge:
- Put it in a bowl of warm water and microwave it for about 60 seconds. Wring and let dry.
- Mix bleach with water and immerse your sponge in the solution for a few minutes. Wring and let dry.
3. Your toaster that makes great bagels
Even your appliances need to retire eventually. Not only should you be cleaning those crumbs out regularly, but it’s also recommended that toasters be replaced every 6-8 years depending on how frequently you use it. This will help prevent fires from loose crumbs and other foods that become wedged inside.
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Here are some common bed & bath items that need replacing:
4. The mattress you sleep on
According to a National Sleep Foundation study, 75% of adults have problems sleeping well. Aside from any medical conditions someone might suffer, the main culprit is most likely an old mattress. It’s recommended to replace your mattress about every 8 years.
Although each mattress is different, and the quality from brand to brand can vary greatly, you should never go longer than 10 years sleeping on the same mattress. Make sure that you’re also caring for your mattress properly for even longer service.
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5. Your fluffy bath towels
No matter how much you spend on towels, they still need to be replaced eventually! And while I hope that you wash them on the regular, it’s recommended to replace them every couple of years. This is around the time when towels begin to lose all of their absorbency from repeated and frequent washing.
Consider donating those used towels to places in need, like an animal shelter. Or keep them around the house and use them as cleaning rags.
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6. Your toothbrush that keeps your teeth sparkly
An old toothbrush that is becoming deformed or frayed won’t do an efficient job at cleaning your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, you should be replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months (or even sooner if the bristles are frayed before then).
7. The razor that helps you get ready for special night’s out
Whether you’re shaving your legs or your face, it’s recommended to replace your razor after just a few uses! Tugging, nicking, or visible rusting are obviously signs that a razor needs to be replaced. Most razor companies, like Gillette, say that razors should be replaced after 5-10 uses. The Grooming Lounge states that “for best results, double-edge blades and cartridges should be swapped out every 3-5 shaves“.
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Other common household items that need replacing:
8. Your home’s air filter for quality breathing
Buying an entirely new HVAC system is costly, so replacing the air filter regularly is crucial to maintaining a good running system. If you’re not replacing the filter, air won’t flow through the HVAC system properly, debris will build-up and become clogged, and the motor fan will work harder than it needs to – resulting in overheating and, eventually, system failure.
Here are recommendations on when to replace your filter:
- Vacation Home or single occupant homes: every 6-12 months
- Average family homes: every 90 days
- Homes with 1 dog or cat: every 60 days
- Homes with more than 1 fur pet: every 20-45 days
- Homes that have people with allergies: every 20-45 days
9. Your home’s smoke detectors to keep you safe
Most of us already know from Elementary school that you should replace your smoke alarm batteries every 6 months; but did you know it’s also recommended to replace the actual smoke detectors in your home? That’s right, it’s recommended you replace them every 10 years from the date of manufacture.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 3 out of 5 home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be checked every month and replaced when they’re too old. They also state that the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
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10. The router that keeps you up to speed
If you’re wondering lately why your WiFi is so slow (or not working at all sometimes), it’s probably because you’re due for a new totally new router. According to The New York Times, it’s recommended that your home’s router needs to be replaced every 3-4 years. Just like you upgrade your iPhone, these electronic devices also need an occasional upgrade.
Upgrading your router will improve the speed and efficiency of your signal when streaming your favorite movies on TV, checking Facebook, or shopping online. Plus, you’re likely to not experience any more irritating WiFi interruptions.
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