10 household items you should regularly replace

When it comes to food, most of us are rigorous: we throw things out as soon as they are one day over the expiration date, no matter whether the food is actually spoiled or not. On the other hand, most of our household items are in use daily over months and years — but only a few people know when they should be replaced to best preserve our health and safety. At least for the following 10 items, you will find some advice on when their time is up.

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1. Pillows

You should replace your pillows roughly every two to three years. For one thing, it can become a hotbed for dust mites the longer you use it. Pillows also lose their shape over time, which can lead to tension and neck pain.

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2. Power outlet strip

Admittedly, power outlet strips can't, in the proper meaning of the phrase, "turn bad," but you should be careful how often you use them — they are the household item most likely to cause a fire by short circuiting. As a result, rigorous safety testing every two years is advised.

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3. Your bra

As soon as your bra becomes uncomfortable in any way  — because it loses its elasticity, becomes deformed through washing or doesn't provide support anymore — you can dispose of it without feeling guilty. Generally, this will be the case after about two years.

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4. Hairbrush

Hairbrushes should be cleaned at least once a week. Ideally, you should remove the combed-out hair from the brush by hand. After a year, you should replace the brush completely; for brushes with natural bristles you should do this even a little bit earlier.

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5. Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer can be used for three months. After that, it loses its effectiveness.

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6. Bug spray

A bit like hand sanitizer, bug sprays — like those used against mosquitoes — lose their effectiveness over time. But in this case, that happens after about two years.

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7. Fire extinguisher

After 20 to 25 years, fire extinguishers should be properly disposed of. Alongside this, they should, of course, be serviced every two years and refilled as need be. If the device shows obvious damage, understandably it should be immediately replaced.

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8. Pacifier

Both latex and also silicon pacifiers can be used for one to two months. But latex pacifiers should be replaced at the very latest when they start to stick. Silicon pacifiers with bite marks or cracks should also be immediately replaced. In addition, it can also be advisable to give your child a new pacifier after they have been ill.

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9. Kitchen sponge

The kitchen sponge is actually the dirtiest place in your kitchen, as bacteria and fungi feel right at home in its moist environment. Change your sponge every two weeks or at least boil it in hot water, so that the bacteria die off and you can wash your crockery without fear once more.

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10. Toothbrush

As previously explained, bacteria flourish in really damp and warm conditions. If they can find a lot of surfaces to hide on anyway. Your toothbrush provides these exact conditions, which is why you should buy a new one at least every three months. Dentists recommend a new one every month. Also after illnesses, it's advisable to throw the old, germ-infested one away.

But at the very latest, when the bristles are worn and frayed, it's time for a new brush.

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Even when household items, strictly speaking, don't come with a use-by date, it's good to evaluate when you should gradually replace them. In the end, your intuition and the degree of wear will help you know when things need to be replaced.

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