10 Common Household Items You Should Replace More Often

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holding yellow sponge in hand

These common household items are going bad right before your eyes…

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and let the small things slip by with little notice. With that, some of the most typical items around your home should actually be replaced more regularly than you might think! I’m sharing some facts about these common household item replacements and when you should be ditching said products.

Here are 10 common household items you should replace:

1. The refrigerator water filter from which you drink daily.

hand pulling out water filter from inside of refrigerator

Think your water tastes just fine? The truth is, it’s probably not! If your water filter is old (most contaminants in your water, such as bacteria, are totally tasteless) the lackluster water can make you ill.

If you frequently use the water on your fridge, it’s recommended to replace the filter about every 6 months, or sooner when that little red light comes on as most new refrigerators let you know when the filter needs to be replaced. If you don’t use it often, then you may be able to push it to an entire year before replacing it.

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2. The kitchen sponge you clean your dishes with.

person washing dishes with a sponge

Just because you always use soap with your sponge doesn’t mean it magically stays sanitary and squeaky clean forever. In fact, the kitchen sponge is considered the germiest item in your kitchen, according to the NYU School of Medicine.

A not-so-fun fact: You’re more likely to get food poisoning from an unsanitary sponge in your home than in a restaurant. 😱 To avoid spreading harmful germs all over your clean counters and dishes, it’s recommended to replace your sponge every 2-3 weeks. In between replacements, it’s recommended you sanitize your favorite sponge every single day.

Here are 2 different ways to properly sanitize your sponge:

  1. Put it in a bowl of warm water and microwave it for about 60 seconds. Wring and let dry.
  2. Mix bleach with water and immerse your sponge in the solution for a few minutes. Wring and let dry.

3. Your toaster you rely on for crisp toast and bagels.

line of new toasters in store

Even your household appliances need to retire eventually. Not only should you be cleaning those crumbs out regularly, but it’s also recommended that toasters be replaced every 6-8 years depending on how frequently you use it. This will help prevent fires from loose crumbs and other foods that become wedged inside.

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4. The mattress that helps you catch lots of Z’s… 😴

mattresses on display

According to a National Sleep Foundation study, 75% of adults have problems sleeping well. Aside from any medical conditions someone might suffer, the main culprit is most likely an old mattress. It’s recommended to replace your mattress about every 8 years.

Although each mattress is different, and the quality from brand to brand can vary greatly, you should never go longer than 10 years sleeping on the same mattress. Make sure that you’re also caring for your mattress properly for even longer service.

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5. Your fluffy bath towels that dry you off.

a stack of luxury towels on a marble counter

No matter how much you spend on towels, they still need to be replaced eventually! And while I hope that you wash them regularly, it’s recommended to replace them every couple of years. This is around the time when towels begin to lose all of their absorbency from repeated and frequent washing.

Consider donating those used towels to places in need, like an animal shelter. Or keep them around the house and use them as cleaning rags.

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6. Your toothbrush you shine your smile with.

hand holding two toothbrushes in new packaging

This household item is often forgotten! An old toothbrush that is becoming deformed or frayed won’t do an efficient job at cleaning your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, you should be replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months (or even sooner if the bristles are frayed before then).

7. The razor that keeps your skin silky smooth.

Peleg Design White & Black Mr. Razor Bust Razor Holder

Whether you’re shaving your legs or your face, it’s recommended to replace your razor after just a few uses! Tugging, nicking, or visible rusting are obviously signs that a razor needs to be replaced. Most razor companies, like Gillette, say that razors should be replaced after 5-10 uses. The Grooming Lounge states that “for best results, double-edge blades and cartridges should be swapped out every 3-5 shaves“.

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8. Your home’s air filter for quality breathing.

air filters sitting on dresser

Buying an entirely new HVAC system is costly, so replacing the air filter regularly is crucial to maintaining a good running system. If you’re not replacing the filter, air won’t flow through the HVAC system properly, debris will build-up and become clogged, and the motor fan will work harder than it needs to – resulting in overheating and, eventually, system failure.

Here are recommendations on when to replace your filter:

    • Vacation Home or single occupant homes: every 6-12 months
    • Average family homes: every 90 days
    • Homes with 1 dog or cat: every 60 days
    • Homes with more than 1 fur pet: every 20-45 days
    • Homes that have people with allergies: every 20-45 days

9. Your home’s smoke detectors to keep you safe.

two smoke detectors sitting on counter in red packaging

Most of us already know from Elementary school that you should replace your smoke alarm batteries every 6 months; but did you know it’s also recommended to replace the actual smoke detectors in your home? That’s right, it’s recommended you replace them every 10 years from the date of manufacture.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 3 out of 5 home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be checked every month and replaced when they’re too old. They also state that the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

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10. The router that keeps you up to speed.

router and cables inside of tv cabinet

If you’re wondering lately why your WiFi is so slow (or not working at all sometimes), it’s probably because you’re due for a totally new router. According to The New York Times, it’s recommended that your home’s router needs to be replaced every 3-4 years. Just like you upgrade your iPhone, these electronic devices also need an occasional upgrade.

Upgrading your router will improve the speed and efficiency of your signal when streaming your favorite movies on TV, checking Facebook, or shopping online. Plus, you’re likely to not experience any more irritating WiFi interruptions.

Hip Tip: Need a new router? Check out these best-selling routers on Amazon.

Check out these 5 habits I follow to keep my kitchen spotless every day!

Sara is a self-taught blogger and photographer with 5 years of experience having work featured in various building, travel, and fashion publications, most notably Bassett Furniture and Fossil.

Join The Discussion

Comments 34

  1. Ruby C

    I have to ask, where did you get the holder for the razor in #7?? So cute.

  2. Jess

    I’m pretty good at changing out most of these things. I had no idea you were suppose to change your smoke detectors! Also, mattresses are so expensive, I find that to be an easy one to keep putting off.

  3. Donna

    Your pillow. Not only does an old one not support your head, but all the dry skin, oil, etc. Yuck!

    • lydia

      I put all of our pillows in the wash every 2 weeks. And every week when I wash our sheets they get put in the dryer to fluff up. They last forever this way and stay nice and clean.

  4. Mallory Scarborough

    Your supposed to change your router? I had no idea!

    • rochellemcgee

      Mine always seem to die every 4-5 years anyway, but still, it seems wasteful to just swap out it (or any other expensive electronic equipment) unless you’re actually experiencing problems. 🤨

    • Mary

      Our WiFi has been slow and acting out lately and we didn’t know it need to be replaced lol… we have the same router for the last 6yrs.

  5. Kathleen

    Has anyone tried the MyBillie razor? The cost looks competitive to the Harry razors and they’re made for women

    • Suzanne H

      I did. I loved the razor but didn’t like the built in shave gel/soap part. I can’t remember to remove my razor from the shower every day so it always ended up getting wet (even when I hung it up) and the shave soap turned to a messy jelly. Fantastic customer service with their company though!

  6. Bryant

    I don’t agree with the mattress, sponge, or razor. Mattress every 8 years? Most folks I know haven’t changed their mattress in over 15+ years and are quite happy with their mattress performance. Every 2 to 3 weeks for a sponge seems excessive. When you maintain a sponge it should last a good month or more. And the razor, every 5 to 10 uses? lol. I’d be throwing out razors almost every single week then. Every month I change my razor heads and continue to get a great cut. I only get nicks using new razor heads, not old, so I don’t understand the warning that the old dull heads cause nicks. I do know one thing, these companies would make off like a bandit based on these recommendations. My razor budget would be astronomical.

    • Evie

      If you keep your mattress sealed and wash the outer covering and rotate. Still using mine 20 years later.
      You can clean sponges in your dishwasher and washer and dryer.
      I never replace electronics till they die. When they rush in 5g, that causes health problems, all will have to be replaced.
      Razors are used till they do not work.
      I do believe water filterations and air filters should be replaced!

  7. Darla

    A kitchen sponge is the nastiest thing in the world to me! I don’t understand why anyone uses them. I use a dish cloth for washing dishes, wiping counters, etc.. usually more than one per day then throw them in the washer and dryer. Easy, clean, economical, and green…

    • Marsha R

      That’s such a good idea! We use a kitchen brush that gets hung up to dry after use and run through the sanitization mode in our dishwasher a couple of times per week. I like the idea of a cloth that I can run through the washer though! Thanks for the tip!

    • rochellemcgee

      I don’t use sponges much, either, but when I do, I just throw them into the dishwasher after use so they’re sanitized the next time I need it.

      • jenn

        Right, I stopped using sponges. That moldy smell is nearly impossible to keep away & there’s nothing I hate more than having to repeatedly wash my hands every time I touch a moldy sponge or towel. YUCK

  8. acgold

    Smoke detectors are made to last 10 years. There is a date on the back so you will know how old they are.

  9. Joe

    Yesterday was the big post about saving the planet and how much we are wasting. Today, now the post says to throw things out after a few uses and get a new one.

    • rochellemcgee

      Yeah. There’s changing things out regularly because they become a safety or hygiene issue (smoke detectors, toothbrushes) or could cause inefficiencies or breakdowns of expensive systems after prolonged periods (air filter) makes sense, but throwing out towels, routers, mattresses, razors, and toasters (it’s not like toaster technology is ever-evolving🤦‍♀️) that aren’t otherwise causing the users any problems is unnecessary.

      • mary

        I was thinking the same thing!!

  10. tipaye

    Toaster? I just clean the crumbs out of mine!

  11. nita

    I know most people I know don’t know about the kitchen sponge issue. When I tell them, they’re amazed. Water breeds bacteria, especially if sitting in a dirty sponge 😐 I get the real scrubbie sponges from dollar tree, which are 3x the price everywhere else, cut those in half n keep switching them out.

    • Stacy

      I run my sponges in the dishwasher. After a few weeks they are so used, they need to be replaced anyway 🙂

  12. ddallavalle

    I was looking into getting a router so I would not have to pay the $14 a month rental fee from Comcast. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good one?

    • Amber

      Whenever I decide to buy one to save on the fees I go to eBay and buy the exact model the company says to get. I paid $60 for the last one. It’ll pay itself off in 4 months.

  13. Katrina

    The vent hose on your dryer needs to be replaced yearly. I just read about it recently when we changed washers. I had no idea

    • rochellemcgee

      Are you sure that they didn’t mean to inspect and clean it annually? Replacing annually is excessive.

  14. Katrina

    Hepa filter in your vacuum

    Hood filter above your stovetop needs changing too.

  15. Katrina

    Hepa filter on vacuum needs changing

    Hood filter above stovetop on vent needs changing

  16. Laura

    I’ve always lived by the motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I do regularly change out sponges, toothbrush heads and AC filters for sure. However, I had a toaster oven I used to make toast for over 20 years. I cleaned the crumbs out regularly and worked great. I’ve had the same bath towels for almost 20 years and wash them regularly and put vinegar in the rinse which keeps them fluffy and absorbent. The suggestion of replacing mattresses every 8 years I believe was started by mattress manufacturers for obvious reasons. A good quality mattress, especially the memory foam type mattresses, will last much longer than 8 years. I have a protective cover on my mattress and pillows so I don’t worry about dust mites, sweat, oils, etc. I appreciate a great deal as much as anyone else, but I also believe being frugal also means not being wasteful and throwing things out prematurely. I love this site and absolutely no offense intended. I just prefer to squeeze as much life out of things as possible. 🙂

  17. jenn

    I have yet to own a towel that loses absorbancy! And some of my favorite most absorbant towels are decades old!

    • becki

      yes- towels actually get MORE absorbent with age and washing, until they are too threadbare.
      if people have towels that are LESS absorbent after washing, it is because they are using fabric softener on them, which coats the fibers with a chemical film, causing the fibers to be unable to absorb.

  18. Rama

    I have to agree with Laura and Jenn!

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