When Should You Change Your Toothbrush and other household items

How often should you replace these 7 common household items? Find out here.

When should you change your toothbrush? How often should you change your hairbrush? And what about those sponges? These are questions that often arise when it comes to personal hygiene and grooming. While we want to stretch a dollar and make the items that we use on a daily basis last as long as possible, we also want to avoid contracting and spreading germs throughout the house. These strategies will help you identify when it’s time to toss these 7 common household items,


Sore throats and infections can be caused by the bacteria that lingers on your toothbrush. To keep your toothbrush clean and prevent illness, it is recommended to replace it monthly, even before the bristles show signs of wear. Additionally, it is important to replace the toothbrush after any contagious sickness. For added protection, consider placing the toothbrush in a glass of hydrogen peroxide overnight at least once a week to kill germs and extend its lifespan. Remember to rinse the toothbrush thoroughly under running water before brushing.

Hair Brush

Regularly inspect the bristles of your hair brush for any signs of wear or damage. If the bristles are damaged, it’s essential to replace the brush to avoid causing harm to your hair. However, if the bristles are in good condition, simply use a comb to remove any hair that may have accumulated on the brush. In instances where stubborn hair remains, carefully trim it away from the brush using scissors. Next, submerge your hair brush and combs in a sink filled with hot water and a few drops of shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to dry completely before using them again.


In the process of tidying up our bathrooms, kitchens, and ourselves, synthetic sponges accumulate bacteria and should be replaced every few months or at the first indication of wear, mold, or staining. While buying a synthetic sponge infused with antimicrobial substances may seem like a solution to prevent mold and bacteria growth, the substances, particularly Triclosan, may have adverse health effects. Fortunately, there are natural methods for cleaning sponges. Once a week, you can sanitize synthetic sponges and mesh bath sponges by soaking them in undiluted, distilled white vinegar for a minimum of five minutes. Another way to eliminate germs is by microwaving a wet sponge (excluding mesh sponges) on high for one minute or running it through the dishwasher. To extend the lifespan of any sponge, ensure that it is thoroughly air-dried after use and never left sitting in water.


Mascara needs to be replaced more frequently than any other makeup product to avoid possible eye irritations and infection. As the wand is being repeatedly transferred back and forth from the mascara in the tube to the eyelashes, the chance of bacteria growth is great. Discard the mascara as it dries out or after 90 days, whichever occurs first.


The lifespan of a pillow greatly relies on its quality. To enhance the longevity of your pillows, avoid washing them in the machine. Rather, regularly wash your pillowcases and use zippered pillow protectors. Sleep Number advises on testing pillows to determine if it’s time to replace them:

Feather/down pillows: Fold the pillow in half and squeeze out the air. If the pillow remains folded when released, it’s time to purchase a new one. However, if your feather or down pillow springs back into its original shape, it’s still good for a few more years.

Synthetic pillows: Place your pillow on a flat surface. Fold it in half and squeeze out the air. Then, position a hardcover book on top of the pillow. If the pillow effortlessly “tosses” the book and regains its original shape, it’s suitable for continued use.

Check out our story on Dust Mites!


Sleep is essential to your well-being, so it is important to ensure that we have a good mattress set. Sleeping on a sagging or worn mattress can attribute to aches and pains, preventing you from getting sound sleep. How long you should keep a mattress before replacing it depends on the original quality and type of mattress, the amount of use, and other factors.

The general consensus for the duration of a traditional mattress is 7 -10 years. Quality beds with programmable air-filled mattresses should last ten years or more. “Evaluate your mattress for replacement when you change your clocks twice a year. Gaining or losing sleep is already on your mind,” The Better Sleep Council. They also offer these indications that you may need a new mattress:

  • You wake up with stiffness, numbness, aches and pains
  • You get a better night’s sleep somewhere other than your own bed (such as a hotel)
  • Your mattress shows visible signs of overuse (it sags, has visible tearing, ripping, holes, staining, or damage)
  • You are tired after a full night’s sleep
  • Your mattress is 7 years old or older

Water Filters & Cartridges

The water quality and your consumption will determine whether you should change the filter more frequently than the manufacturer suggests. If you detect a change in taste, odor, or clarity, or notice a decrease in water pressure these are indications that the filtration system needs to be replaced. Brita™ suggests replacing their brand of filter every 40 gallons or about every two months. Users with hard water should replace filters more often.

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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I agree on the makeup. Your skin elasticity and tone change, and as someone who helps customers pick and match their makeup colors, you would be amazed at how many people say they can’t believe they need a new shade.
RAZORS…if you will rinse a razor in hot water and air dry it each time you shave it increases the longevity of the blades.
Toothbrushes are a must and if at any time you have pets…COVER THEM!!!! Otherwise your critters enjoy a good brushing and you may never realize it. I found out by waking up to catch two of our kitties using ohr toothbrushes in the mirror and immediately bought new ones that day.
Underwear and socks every six months!!!


To Antoinette Vawter, re; assistance with replacement of mattresses.
Your story was a bit off topic but it effected me so, that I had to reply.
I am sorry to hear about your old mattress injuring your back, the way you described how it happened sounded horrific! However, when you stated that your son only helped you set up your new mattress only after he noticed and saw your injury, that horrified me even more! When I was of able age to help my Mother (or Father) do a household chore, if I told them “I’m busy”, then the repercussions of my thoughtlessness and rude behavior would have had severe consequences. ie; no TV or (at that time= land-line) phone privileges for a couple days.
Maybe you are more forgiving than my parents but if physically able, one’s children should ALWAYS help their Mother/Father if asked to do so. No excuses!

Antoinette W Vawter

Many years back, I bought two mattresses that can be air pressure inflated. To remove these from their boxes, I required some help. None the less, the tall, thin boxes stood in my living room like sentinels. My son did look at them but ignored them (not easy, they are big). .Even when I asked for his assistance, he merely stared and then refused. “I’m busy, Mom!” As living room furniture, these boxes failed miserably. Meanwhile, I slept on a Queen Sz. mattress which belonged to my now deceased mother. One night, I woke screaming. The mattress had spring a cork screw which tore a huge hole in my back, close to the spine. It remained stuck into me and I bled all over myself and the mattress and bedding. The next few days, my son noticed a change in my carriage and asked about it. I told him what had occurred & showed him the gaping hole. Finally, I got his help and we unboxed the sleep # beds, put them in frames and I began to heal. Was a lesson learned. Decidedly, NO! .But I now can sleep in comfort in the master bedrm. So, no matter the good intentions one brings to the principle of changing mattresses when that is needed, life may make it impossible to so take action.

Thomas Hood

The longevity of pillows can be greatly extended by not sleeping on the pillow directly. Instead, cover the pillow with a towel and sleep on the towel. The towel will protect the pillow and can be easily washed. During the winter, the towel can be folded over one’s head. Ninety percent of heat loss for a sleeping person is through the head, I have read. Once you develop this habit, you will never want to be without a towel on your pillow. Of course, I fluff up the pillow each morning when I make up the bed. Pillows last years longer by this method.


Just sharing!
These are just basic common sense makeup care tips that I myself use/practice.
This is what I follow for items that have been opened/used.
Every 3 months mascara and liquid eyeliners should be thrown in the trash. Every 6 months to one year liquid foundation makeup should be thrown in the trash. Every year for solid foundations. Wooden eye pencils should be freshly sharpened once a week with the proper type/size of a clean eye pencil sharpener.
Every 3 months lipstick should be inspected for foul taste or foul odor and thrown away if needed, after 1 year they should be thrown away regardless. Lip gloss, toss it after 3 months or sooner if need be.
At anytime if a makeup product smells funky or the product has chemically separated or congealed… THROW IT AWAY.
Makeup application brushes should be properly washed and air dried 1 or 2 times per week, and should NEVER be shared with others. NEVER! Throw away disposable Eye shadow applicators/Qtip style cotton swabs can be bought fairly cheap.
Makeup is expensive so keep the containers and compacts that they come in clean and sealed tightly and in a cool or room temperature area. Keep makeup table/vanity area clean. Just buy what is NEEDED that way I won’t keep nasty germy products around for longer than necessary.

Susan Higgins

Thank you Thomas Hood and rmj92 – these are great tips!

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