Many household items need replacing periodically to maintain your home and your personal care. Keeping track of them all can be overwhelming, so here’s a reminder list of seven household items it’s important to replace on a regular basis.
Neglected, dirty return air filters cause your heating and air conditioning system to labor harder to do its job. This drives up utility bills and shortens the life of the system. Return air filters should be changed at least once per quarter, preferably more frequently. Newer model thermostats come with an on-screen reminder prompt when it’s time to replace this household item.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
These vital safety alarms need new batteries periodically and will chirp to let you know they are weak. What’s less well known is that the alarms themselves need replacing about every seven years because the sensors lose effectiveness over time.
Refrigerator water filters
If you have a water dispenser on your refrigerator, you should replace the filter every three months or as often as the manufacturer recommends. Many models come with a reminder light. Changing these filters prevents the buildup of bacteria and other contaminants that could seep into your drinking water.
You spend a third of your life sleeping, so make the most of it. Mattresses absorb body oils, pet dander and hair over the years. Dust mites invade to feed on these bodily discards, adding to the “ewww” factor. You should replace your mattress every eight to ten years. Replace pillows at least every two years.
Household sponges and cleaning cloths
The dish sponge at your kitchen sink is one of the germiest items in your home. While cleaning dishes, rinse and wring the sponge repeatedly. Each time you run a load through the dishwasher, put the sponge in the silverware caddy, or sanitize it by soaking in white vinegar. Expert opinions vary, but sponges need frequent replacement, at least every two weeks. Change out dish towels every day.
In the bathroom, rinse out sponges and loofahs after every use and hang them up to dry. Change them at least every three months.
At least once per quarter, check the expiration dates of medicines in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet. Make a list of expired pain relievers, cold and cough meds, stomach relief tablets, and ointments to remember what needs replacing, then trash them. Pour prescription medicines into a zipper-locked plastic bag, mix with coffee grounds or cat litter, seal the bag and trash them. Scratch out your name and the name of the medicine from the label on the bottle before disposing of it. Better yet, drop the expired medications in a Drug Take-Back box at a local pharmacy or police department.