Here's How Often You Should Be Replacing Common Household Items

Hint: You should probably throw out your sponge right now.

White bed in bedroom interior
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When was the last time you swapped out your dish sponge for a new one? What about when you last bought new pillows? And can you even remember when the water filter was changed? The truth is, there are probably quite a few things in your home that need replacing you may have forgotten (or don't even know!) about. And on the flip side, there might even be a few things you've been replacing too often that, with proper care, could last you a lot longer.

So, here's your room-by-room guide to making sure your household products, from your dish sponge to your air conditioner, are aways replaced in a timely fashion. You'll thank yourself later!

General Household Items:

When to replace smoke detectors: If you've been in your home for more than a decade and have yet to swap out the smoke alarm, it's time. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, your smoke detector should be replaced entirely after 10 years (if you're unsure, you can look at the back of the alarm to see the manufacture date). Even if they seem to be working okay—it's not worth the safety risk. You should also be testing them by pressing the button once a month.

» Shop best-selling smoke detectors on Amazon.

How often to replace smoke-alarm batteries: Speaking of smoke detectors, make sure you're replacing the batteries every six months, too. While it's likely that the batteries will last longer than six months, Consumer Reports recommends changing them anyway as a safety precaution—if you don't want to waste battery life, you can always use those batteries for other household items instead. Again, it's just not worth the risk. To make sure you don't forget, it's recommended to change the batteries when changing the clocks for daylight savings.

» Shop batteries on Amazon.

Air conditioners: Air conditioners can actually lost quite a long time, so long as you take proper care of them (that means cleaning them properly before putting them away, changing the filters, etc.) According to Plumbline Services, they should last about 10 years, maybe even up to 15 and you'll know your AC is in need of a replacement if it frequently breaks down or if the humidity in your home fluctuates while it's on. If you move into a much bigger space, you might also need to change it to ensure that it's powerful enough to cool the room.

» Shop best-selling air conditioners on Amazon.

In the Kitchen:

Dish sponges: There's some debate about how often you should be changing your dish sponges. Some say once a week, some say once a month. The answer is, it depends on how often you use it and if you're cleaning and disinfecting it (which you can do easily in the microwave!). A good rule of thumb is every two to four weeks, according to Well + Good.

» Shop sponges on Amazon.

Water filters: If you're using a pitcher water filter, like a Brita, it's recommended by the brand that you change the filter every two months. Try labeling your water pitcher with the date of your last filter change, so you don't forget—or, upgrade to a pitcher that has a monitor that will alert you when it's time.

» Shop water filters on Amazon.

Microwaves: Your microwave should last about a decade, according to Hunker, but timing isn't the only factor in this. It's important to make sure your microwave is functioning properly no matter how old it is, so be sure to listen for any strange noises while it's operating and check the seal of the door thoroughly for damage. Also, pay attention to how long it takes to warm up your food—if it starts slowing down beyond the recommended time, it might be time for a new one.

» Shop best-selling microwaves on Amazon.

In the Bathroom:

Towels: You use your towels daily—and to clean yourself!—and wash them frequently, so it shouldn't be surprising that after about two years, your towels will be in need of a replacement. Rather than tossing them out, Parachute founder Ariel Kelly told TODAY it's a good idea to repurpose your old towels as cleaning rags, or wash and donate them to a local animal shelter.

» Shop top bath towels on Amazon.

Shower liners: First thing's first: You should be washing your shower liner every month, or at least every two to three months, according to Merry Maids (they also have a handy guide to getting it done if you don't know how!). But if you're not washing it frequently enough, it's a good idea to replace it after a year, especially if you see any signs of mold or mildew—if you've been thorough in your cleaning and it still looks good as new, you can keep on keepin' on.

» Shop our favorite shower liner here.

Bath mats: Just like your towels, you should be replacing your bath mats every couple of years. And honestly, since you walk on it every day, it's probably going to see even more wear and tear than your towels in that time. In the meantime, Real Simple says you should be washing your bath mats weekly (you can get away with less if, say, you live alone versus a whole family sharing one bathroom) much like your towels, and hanging them to dry out after use (they need the ventilation!).

» Shop our favorite bath mats here.

In the Bedroom:

Sheets: After about two to three years, your sheets will start to look and feel worn (which can affect the quality of your sleep), much like your favorite t-shirt. Except you don't wear your favorite t-shirt every day, but you do sleep on your sheets every night, and wash them frequently—or at least, you should. You can make your sheets last longer by buying higher quality sheets, alternating between a few sets, and washing them in cooler water.

» Shop our favorite bed sheets here.

Pillows: If you've been sleeping on the same pillow for more than two years, it's time to get a new one. Along with needing a new pillow for cleanliness purposes, after a year or two—and sometimes less, depending on the pillow—your pillow won't give you the same structural support (which you definitely need!) anymore.

» Shop our favorite bed pillows here.

Mattresses: You know mattresses are meant to last a long time, but do you know actually how long? A good mattress should last you eight to 10 years (definitely before that 10 year mark, according to Consumer Reports), though some mattresses might need to be retired at seven years or earlier, according to The Better Sleep Council. And you won't always be able to tell by looking at it, though sagging and damage are indicators that it's time to upgrade. In this case, listen to your body—if your mattress is affecting your sleep, it's time.

» Shop our favorite online mattresses here.

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Alice Morgan



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