Even if you religiously clean your home, some things are just unhealthy to use beyond a certain point. Food items aren’t the only things in your home that expire. There are everyday household items that you use and should replace regularly.
Every morning or at night when you brush your teeth, you likely rinse your toothbrush after using it and store it upright to dry. You may even soak it in hydrogen peroxide which the American Dental Association says significantly reduces the bacteria on it.
However, the ADA says you still need to replace it every three to four months, or more often if the brush frays because it harbors bacteria.
2. Kitchen sponges
Your kitchen sponge may look clean, but a scientific report published by Nature.com found “massive colonizations” of bacteria in used kitchen sponges. Many variables cause bacteria to build on sponges, including their porous nature, but researchers say sponges get dirty very quickly and can spread bacteria in your home.
The experts recommend you change your sponge at least once a week.
3. Refrigerator water filter
The water filter in your refrigerator traps contaminants, but if it’s not regularly changed, it can transfer contaminants to your drinking water, according to researchers. In extreme cases, that can also include mold.
Many refrigerators have a warning light that alerts owners that they need to change this filter. If yours doesn’t, read your owner’s manual for guidelines.
4. Bath towels
You may feel clean when you step out of the shower or bath, but your towels aren’t. Yeast, mold and bacteria including E. coli are among the lifeforms that thrive on your towels, especially in the humid bathroom.
Even with regular washing, bath towels should eventually be replaced, especially if they become musty smelling. A host of variables, including material and frequency of use, contribute to how often you should replace bath towels. Every two years is a good rule of thumb.
5. Old slippers
Old slippers may be comfortable, but they lose their shape, meaning that they can cause wearers to slip and fall. But even if they do maintain their form, slippers are a breeding ground for mildew, fungus and bacteria. Podiatrists recommend you replace slippers at least once a year
6. Plastic food containers
If you still use plastic food containers, discard the ones that are scratched, cloudy or stained. They can transmit dangerous compounds and bacteria into your food that can lead to heart disease and other health concerns. That’s especially true of containers that are 10 years old or more. Toss them.