Did you know that everyday household items have their own best before dates? Improve the health and hygiene of your home as kitchens in Glasgow specialist DM Design explains which items you should be changing and when.
How long before you should replace them: At least every two years
Believe it or not, your pillows contain bacteria, mould, sweat, dead skin cells and dust mites. Considering you will be resting your face on your pillow at the end of each day, it’s vital that you replace them at least once every two years.
Stains, stenches and reduced support are signs that your pillow needs to be replaced. You can also extend their period of usefulness a bit by washing pillowcases on a weekly basis.
How long before you should replace them: Every eight years maximum
A third of your life is spent asleep, so it’s vital to have a supportive mattress in place. However, both those associated with the mattress industry and the Sleep Council have recommended that you replace your mattress at least once every eight years, as this is found to be the time when the item will have lost most of its original comfort and support.
To prolong your mattress’ usable life, flip it and rotate it regularly — at least once a year. However, telling signs that it’s time to get a new one will be if you wake up in the morning feeling tired, have noticed worn, lumpy or visible sags around your mattress, or if your body is stiff and sore after a night’s sleep.
How long before you should replace them: Every three months (this is also the case for electric toothbrushes)
Every three months is the recommended timescale for replacing your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head. This is because the items are magnets for bacteria, which can accumulate from toilet spray when a toilet is flushed with the lid up, splashes from a bathroom sink while washing hands and also bacteria present in your mouth — between 100 and 200 species of oral bacteria can exist in your mouth alone! All of the bacteria mentioned can be harmful and may lead to tooth decay or gingivitis.
To prevent this build-up of bacteria, rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after use, allow it to air dry and soak it in antibacterial mouthwash from time-to-time. However, bristles becoming frayed are signs that it’s time to replace your toothbrush.
Item: Toilet brushes
How long before you should replace them: Every six months maximum
Using the same toilet brush repeatedly results in moisture within the bristles that bacteria thrive on. This in turn will lead to bacteria thriving and spreading around your toilet and bathroom.
Change your toilet brush every six months as a guide. Keep an eye out if the brush looks grungy and grimy though, as these are signs that the item should be replaced as soon as possible. Plus, it’s not like you’re going to be spending a fortune on each toilet brush!
Kitchen & utility room
Item: Fridges & washing machines
How long before you should replace them: Between 15 and 30 years, depending on the manufacturer
Fridges and washing machines are long-lasting appliances. Depending on the manufacturer that you’ve opted for, these essential items of your kitchen or utility room could remain effective for between 15 and 30 years after you first purchased it new.
15 years is a good time to start considering buying new versions of these appliances. This is because fridges and washing machines built today are known to use a lot less energy than models that were manufactured even 12 years ago.
If your fridge has a water filter, replace it twice a year on average. These filters collect bacteria that can build up to mould over time.
Item: Chopping boards
How long before you should replace them: Once a year maximum
Our wooden chopping board has more than double the amount of faecal bacteria than our toilet seats! This is in spite of the idea that wooden chopping boards are often deemed to be the more hygienic of the different types of chopping boards available!
Thoroughly clean your chopping board after each use. However, colouring stains and deep cuts are clear signs that it might be time to buy a new one.
Around the home
Item: Smoke detectors
How long before you should replace them: Every ten years for the entire unit, once a year for the batteries
Three fifths of fire-related deaths are in homes without any working smoke alarms, the National Fire Protection Association has warned. It’s statistics like these that should act as a wake-up call to ensure your home’s smoke alarms are in good working order.
To avoid malfunction, smoke detectors are generally replaced every ten years. However, the batteries for a smoke detector should be replaced on an annual basis at the very least. Remember to frequently test your detector to ensure it’s still working.
How long before you should replace them: For an apartment-grade carpet — between 1 and 5 years maximum; for a medium-grade carpet — between 5 and 15 years; for a high-grade carpet — between 15 and 25 years maximum.
There are a number of factors that can impact the date when you should replace your home’s carpets, including the type of material and how it’s maintained.
Consider purchasing a new one if large chunks of your current carpet has become matted, is filled with large rips and tears, or has lost its tuft.
Carpets can also begin to smell. While this can be sorted out with a thorough, regular clean of your carpet, if a lingering smell remains then it’s a sign that the odour has penetrated deep into the fibres of the carpet, the carpet pad or the subfloor. A new carpet is often the most cost-effective solution here.