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How often to clean or replace household items

How often to clean or replace household items

Here’s the thing. In a bid to be more environmentally friendly, we tend to hold onto items longer than we should. Whether it’s waiting a few more days to wash the bedsheets to save on yet another wash or holding off on replacing the kitchen sponge, we’ve all been guilty at one time or another. But in terms of health and safety, you may want to rethink how often you replace some household items. Hint: that dish sponge should probably go.

We’ve rounded up the most common household items that should be replaced from time to time — and how frequently you should be doing so.

A guide cleaning and replacing household items


1. Toothbrushes

Brilliant for cleaning your teeth, also good at harbouring bacteria. And with the spray from a flushing toilet traveling up to six feet, your toothbrush is likely home to more bacteria than we’d like to admit. It’s recommended to change your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) every three to four months.  

Consider recycled plastic or bamboo toothbrushes to lower the environmental impact.

2. Towels

If you’re not washing your towels regularly, you could be making yourself dirtier after a shower! Wash your bath towel after every three to four uses. Let it dry completely after each use. Ideally, you want to replace your towels every few years for optimum hygiene.

3. Toilet brush

It sits in the corner, and we try not to think of the icky soup at the bottom. Most toilet brushes are not cleaned or replaced nearly as often they should. Plastic brushes should be replaced every six months. So opt instead for a more eco-friendly wooden toilet brush with natural bristles – they also need to be replaced less frequently. Rinse the brush after every use. And whenever you clean your bathroom, wash the toilet brush and holder using a disinfectant. 


1. Bedsheets

There’s no better feeling than getting into crisp, clean bedsheets. So wash your bed linen every two weeks. More often if you sweat a lot at night.

2. Pillows

If you’ve had the same pillow since college, it’s time you bought a new one. Pillows are the perfect environment for bacteria, dust mites, and other nasty things. Can I wash pillows? You certainly can but it’s recommended to replace the pillow you sleep on every two years. You can upcycle old pillows by disinfecting them and using them as pet beds, decorative pillows, or outdoor cushions.

3. Mattresses

An old mattress can offer two things: poor sleep posture and bed bugs. A mattress cover extends the life of your mattress, but ideally, you should be replacing your mattress every five to ten years. Suffer from back or neck pain when you wake up? Definitely time for a new one. 


1. Kitchen sponge

Depending on how often you use your sponge, you should replace it every two to four weeks. Running your kitchen sponge through the dishwasher or steaming it in the microwave will kill some bacteria, but not all. It’s also good to mention that sponges used for dishes should not be used for cleaning counters as well and vice versa!

As dish sponges are essentially plastic, you may want to consider a natural sea sponge. They are more bacteria- and mould-resistant.

2. Cleaning cloths

Sure, they clean your home, but are they clean? Chuck them into the laundry after every use, rather than being left damp and icky under the sink. Replace your cleaning rags completely every one to two years or when they’re frayed.

3. Food storage containers

Tupperware is terrific, but plastic food storage can harbour harmful bacteria. Be wary of BPA and PVC and say goodbye to containers that are stained, warped, and scratched. Why not slowly make the move to glass food storage containers? Overall, they are more hygienic. Just watch out for the lids. They often contain mould-attracting rubber rims. Keep lids in ship-shape by soaking in hot water with a dash of bleach every six months and make sure you follow the correct food storage temperature. 


1. Vacuum cleaner filter

The nature of its job — to suck dirt and dust — means your vacuum cleaner filter is grimy. You should replace the filter every six months (or less) to avoid dust particles leaking back into the room. 

2. Smoke detectors

They save lives when they work. Replace your smoke detector every ten years, but change the batteries every year. 

3. Mops

Like with other common household items, you can make your home dirtier instead of cleaner with a mop that’s not replaced often enough. Replace mop accessories every two to three months. 

Looking for more clever ways to clean your home? Look no further! Ask Team Clean’s got you covered.