The 17 household items you need to replace right now 13



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There are lots of products we toss just after their expiry date, but what about your household items? How often should you replace your pillow, your toothbrush, your herbs and spices?

Here’s 17 that shocked us – we’ll be replacing them ASAP!

1. Pillows

We sleep on them every night, and I know I’m guilty of not replacing them regularly – many of us would have pillows for years and years. But according to the Australian Physiotherapy Association, your pillow may not be supporting your spine and neck if it is old and worn – you should replace your pillow when it stops providing you adequate support.

Therapeutic Pillow Australia recommends replacing pillows every 12 months to two years. Some pillows every have an expiry date printed on them.

2. Mattresses

How long a mattress will last depends on how well it’s made and how much you use it, according to The Better Sleep Council, reports CHOICE.

The council says to consider replacing your mattress if you wake up with stiffness, aches and pains, if you had a much better night’s sleep somewhere else, or if your mattress shows visible signs of overuse such as sagging, stains and rips. Mattresses generally have a lifespan of around 10 years, but you should always replace yours when it starts to feel uncomfortable.

3. Sponges

This isn’t a revelation but it’s surprising how few of us replace our kitchen sponge regularly. Sponges are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, and should be replaced as soon as they show wear. Researchers suggest not using one at all and opting for paper towel or another item to clean up with. You can clean your sponge, however, by microwaving it damp for one minute – it’s proven by scientists.

4. Chopping boards

Many believe wooden chopping boards are superior and spread less germs however CHOICE’s microbiology expert said there’s advantage to using plastic over wood or vice versa.

The simplest and most effective way to clean your board is with hot water and detergent, but should be thrown out if it’s looking worse for wear, or around five years.

5. Toothbrushes

As we put toothbrushes in our mouth, it’s incredibly important to make sure they are clean and not full of bacteria.

The Australian Dental Association’s Oral Health Committee recommends replacing toothbrushes when the bristles are worn or distorted, which is normally every couple of months.

6. Liquor

An airtight, unopened bottle of alcohol with no dairy-based ingredients will last almost forever, however once you open it, spirits like vodka, rum, and gin begin to deteriorate. After about six months, alcohol vaporises, the sugars crystallise, and in dairy-based liqueurs like Bailey’s, the cream curdles. Experts suggest replacing liquor every year or so.

7. Teflon pans

Check all of your pans for cracks or chips. If you have any, it’s time to replace those pans because those flakes could release toxic compounds. Most say non-stick pans should be replaced every three to five years.

8. Shower loofah 
Loofahs are used and stored in a wet environment, so they can carry bacteria that can lead to skin infections. You should replace it every three to four weeks.

9. Bras

a good bra is hard to find but if you’ve been wearing the same one for years, it might be time to replace it. It takes less than a year to breakdown the elastic in a new bra, so they should be replaced every 10 months or so.

10. Running shoes

Most people believe shoes are fine until they’re worn down but running shoes are only optimal if you’ve run until 500km in them.

11. Makeup

Us at SAS HQ are definitely guilty of this one: keeping makeup far past its expiry. But keeping makeup beyond these times opens your face up to nasty bacteria that breeds in the packaging. As a general rule:

Mascara: Three months, or when it starts to clump.

Face/eye makeup: Six months for liquids or creams, two years for powder

Liquid eyeliner: Three months

Lipstick and gloss: Two years

Nail polish: One year

Makeup brushes: One to five years, depending on care. Wash weekly with warm water and baby shampoo.

12. Herbs and spices

Our spice rack can be much used or remain untouched, but either way, do you check the expiry on the products? Here’s some general expiration dates:

Ground spices: 3-4 years

Whole Spices: 3-4 years

Herbs: 1-3 years

Extracts: 4 years

13. Razors

The temptation is to reach for whatever razor is in your shower but the blade on dispensable models can become worn easily. Generally, your razor should be replaced after three shaves. Alternatively, you can sharpen razors by running the blades against your hair growth on your arms, or on a pair of jeans.

14. Moisturiser

How long your moisturiser lasts depends on how many active ingredients it contains (like SPF) and how vulnerable it is to bacteria. A general rule is to throw out opened tubs and tubes after two years, and give three years for sealed products. If it has separated, throw it.

15. Bath towels

We use them every day – hands up who has bath towels with holes? Despite washing, towels can play host to mould and bacteria, and should be replaced every two years.

16. Washer and dryer

Most washers and dryers last 10-15 years, newer models are much more energy efficient. So if yours is getting close to 10 years old, you may consider switching to low-energy model.

17. Tyres

Most mechanics recommend changing tyres if you’ve had them for more than 3 years. But more important than how old they are is how worn are the treads. To ensure your tyres wear evenly, consider rotating them once a year – just ask your mechanic.


Tell us, what will you be throwing out ASAP?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Jolly good ideas but money does not grow on trees.i wash towels and kitchen cloths every time after using once.

  2. Replace my pillows every 12 mths at the post Christmas sales, nothing worse than old pillows, Uck!!

  3. How on earth have I survived my 63 years, most of it without use by dates. We knew what we could eat because it didn’t smell or go green, and we knew what we could use, if it still worked, all good. My mum never put useby dates on the fowlers vacola bottles and we had dozens of them. If you opened it and it looked good and tasted good, you ate it, same as tinned food
    Never once have I had food poisoning or broken out in a rash using old make-up.

  4. Exactly money doesn’t grow on trees I have pillows that are washable and can be dried in the drier without losing its shape I even soak in a bleach solution. The replacement cost of large items deems that they get replaced when they are broken. Towels and the like get replaced when they are too thin to be of use, then the towels get folded into 3rd’s have a patchwork top sewn on and become bath mats. As for food stuff that is just plain common sense.

  5. Two things that get replaced at the beginning of every month is my toothbrush and shower ball. Had towels for years and just keep washing them. Very rarely throw out makeup and just keep washing my brushes.

  6. I would be interested in bathroom soap – my sister said the oils in it go off & I should use mine before this happens.

  7. My pillows get aired in the sun regularly & are replaced only when they collapse. My mattress gets turned 4 times a year & occasionally gets the vac run over it. Mattress is over 30 years old & still going strong. I think the toothbrush is the only item replaced diligently….and even that is not as often as suggested. A few germs never hurt anybody.

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