Items With Expiration Dates You Don’t Think About

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Odds are that you keep a close watch on your food’s expiration dates as they provide an easy way to tell if your food might be going bad. Plus, expired food is usually stale, moldy, or otherwise not normal. So you know when your food goes bad, but what about everything else in your house?

Appliances, sheets, and supplies don’t come labeled with expiration dates. It can be hard to tell when you need to get rid of something and replace it. In fact, you might have some things lying around that should have been thrown out ages ago. With spring cleaning around the corner, here’s how often you should replace some common household items.

Kitchen Items

Sponges: Get new sponges more often than you probably think you should. Sponges get dirty quickly, which is an issue since they’re supposed to wash your dishes. Experts recommend you toss your sponge and break out a new one at least once a month, but it depends on how often you use it.

Cutting boards: Like sponges, cutting boards can build up a lot of germs over time. You should obviously clean a cutting board after you use it, but after a year you should get a new one. There are some differences between wood and plastic cutting boards, but generally, one year is a good benchmark.

Refrigerators: Fridges are long-lasting, but can impact you the most if they break without warning. The average refrigerator lasts about 15 years so it’s not something you have to worry about often, but good to keep in mind.

Bathroom Items

Toothbrushes: Depending on how much wear and tear your toothbrush has, one can last you a few months. As a rule of thumb, throw out your brush when you notice the bristles starting to break apart and fray. Once that happens, you won’t be cleaning your teeth nearly as effectively. Generally, professionals recommend you replace your brush head about every three months.

Towels: Towels can be treated a bit like sponges. I use it for cleaning, so it must be clean, right? Wrong. Old towels carry tons of germs, and you should clean them regularly. After about two years, you’ll probably need to pick up a new one. If the towel starts to smell or isn’t drying effectively, toss it in the trash.

Bath mats: Some bath mats harbor tons of germs and bacteria, so like everything on this list you should clean yours often. In terms of replacing a bath mat, you can usually go up to two years before you need a new one.

Bedroom Items 

Sheets: Surprisingly, sheets never really need to be replaced unless they’re stained, ripped or damaged. As long as you regularly wash your sheets, they can last a while. Some experts recommend you replace them every two years, but only if they look like they need to be replaced.

Pillows: Not all pillows are created equal, but the average one lasts anywhere from one to two years. A worn-out or dirty pillow can seriously impact your health and sleep quality, so consider purchasing new ones often. If you see any stains or lumps in your pillow or wake up sore, it’s probably time for a change.

Beds: Mattresses can last a long time, but often people take for granted that they do need to switch mattresses eventually. A good mattress can last you around a decade, give or take, but Consumer Reports suggests that people over 40 should get a new mattress every five to seven years.


Running Shoes: Like many things on this list, you’ll probably know when it’s time to get rid of your running shoes after you should have already tossed them. The lifespan of a shoe varies based on your body type and activity, but generally, you should switch shoes every 300 miles. A mile running will do more damage than a mile walking though, so if you’re particularly active you may want to change shoes more often.

Fire extinguishers: Having a fire extinguisher is kind of like having an insurance policy: you don’t want to think about it until you need to use it. However, you should be changing out your fire extinguisher every five years or so to make sure that if you need it, the extinguisher will work perfectly. Better safe than sorry!

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