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10 Items You Should Replace in Your Household

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

Read on to learn what 10 household items are important to periodically replace.

Read on to learn what 10 household items are important to periodically replace.

You Should Replace That!

It is not unusual for people to still use certain items in their households long after their expiration date. Everything has shelf time and should be replaced periodically.

Some household items might be outdated because you forgot to replace them, or you are holding onto them to save money.

Below is a list of items that should be replaced at a certain time for personal health and safety. Don't wait until an emergency to purchase them. Have them on hand before you need them. Here is a brief overview of the items this article discusses:

  1. Toothbrushes
  2. Sponges
  3. Cutting boards
  4. Mattresses and bed pillows
  5. Heating and air conditioning filters
  6. Water filters
  7. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  8. Showerhead filters
  9. Toilet brushes
  10. Fire extinguishers

1. Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months and more often if you have been sick. The American Dental Association also recommends that toothbrushes to be replaced whenever the bristles become frayed or worn even if you haven't been using them for three or four months.

Most toothbrushes have colors on the bristles to let you know when it is time to change them.

Person cleaning with a sponge

Person cleaning with a sponge

2. Sponges

The sponges you use in your kitchen and bathrooms are breeding grounds for bacteria, according to a study in Scientific Reports. Researchers suggest replacing sponges weekly. Most people use them much longer.

You don't have to throw away good sponges. You can wash them on the hottest setting in the washing machine. Use powder detergent and bleach.

Some people don't use sponges at all since they quickly collect a lot of bacteria. They use paper towels to wipe counters. It's the same for dish rags and dish cloths. If you're cooking every day these items need to be replaced with clean ones on a regular basis.

Wooden Cutting Board

Wooden Cutting Board

3. Cutting Boards

Whether you use a wooden, plastic, or a stone cutting board, it should be cleaned thoroughly with hot, soapy water to prevent cross-contamination after you use it to cut up meats and vegetables. The USDA also recommends adding one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.

A wooden cutting board could last up to eight years, but if it is too worn or has deep grooves that are hard to clean, replace it with a new one.

4. Mattresses and Bed Pillows

According to, many doctors say you should replace your mattress after about eight years and your pillows after two years. However, it is recommended that you wash your pillows at least twice a year.

Synthetic and down-filled pillows can be washed in the washing machine and dried in your dryer. However, latex and memory foam pillows shouldn't go in the washer and dryer. You can hand wash them with cold water and gentle detergent and lay them out to dry.

Pillows help you sleep comfortably by supporting your head and neck, but they won't do their job if they are old and worn. Worn-out pillows will affect your sleep and your health. Therefore, you should throw them away even if they are less than two years old.

5. Heating and Air Conditioning Filters

Your health suffers if the heating and air-conditioning filters in your home aren't changed frequently. The filters protect you from allergens such as animal dander, dust, smoke, smog, and pollen. Make sure you change filters on a regular basis.

6. Water Filters

Water filters in refrigerators, faucets, and home filtration systems should be replaced regularly. The product manuals will let you know when and how to change them.

Water filters have different expiration dates. No matter which system you have, those in refrigerators should be replaced once every six months, in your portable water pitcher every two months, and in your whole house system every three to six months. Harmful bacteria, chemicals, and heavy metals are minimized when you use this schedule.

7. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Working smoke detectors increase fire survival chances by 50 percent, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Smoke detectors last up to 10 years, but batteries in them need to be replaced once a year.

Carbon monoxide detectors last up to seven years, but like smoke detectors, you should change the batteries once a year.

8. Showerhead Filters

Mineral deposits affect the efficiency of shower heads. The buildup of bacteria also affects the shower head filter function. Some people never change their shower heads. The filter in your shower head should be changed every six to 12 months.

9. Toilet Brushes

Change your toilet brushes regularly and more often if someone in your household had been sick. Keep a spare toilet brush on hand so you can replace one as soon as you need to do so.

Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher

10. Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers have a shelf life and should be replaced after a certain time depending on the type you have. Rechargeable fire extinguishers can last up to six years, but disposable fire extinguishers can last up to 12 years.

Since there is a long time before you have to replace them, you should check the pressure gauges monthly to determine if yours needs to be charged. You might need to recharge or replace it if it is not charged or full even before the six or 12 years are not up.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on February 18, 2021:

Yep. That tooth brush is a definite one.

As for the sponge, they say you can nuke them in the microwave.

My pillows...well I wash mine more than the average bear. I guess I like to keep them fluffy.

Nice article to remind people of things we need to discard though.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 18, 2021:

Sp Greaney, you are absolutely correct. I often forget to change the things in my household. I have promised myself to do better.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on February 18, 2021:

These are really useful tips. I think sometimes you can forget to replace items in your household if you don't take note of their lifespan.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 15, 2021:

E Randall, Thanks for reading and commenting on my article. I must admit there are some things I need to change more often.

E Randall from United States on February 15, 2021:

Thank you so much for posting this. Like many I tend to be so caught up with life that I end up being guilty of not replacing things as often unless forced to do so. Thank you for sharing your article Mrs. Minnicks, God bless.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 15, 2021:

Alyssa, I need to take my own advice. There are some items I use longer than I should. I will do better (smile).

Alyssa from Ohio on February 15, 2021:

What a helpful list! As spring approaches, most of us will be preparing for the great seasonal cleaning. This is a wonderful reminder and comes at a perfect time!