9 Surprisingly Dirty Household Items You Should Replace RIGHT NOW

9 Surprisingly Dirty Household Items You Should Replace RIGHT NOW

When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? If you're struggling to remember, chances are, you're not doing it often enough.

Most of us don't realise, or perhaps even know that many everyday items (including toothbrushes, toilet brushes, razor blades, makeup and even cooking spices) need replacing regularly.

With so many things to replace, there's no time to waste! Let's get started...

STOP! Before continuing, be sure to sign up to the Expert Home Tips newsletter to get even more home hacks, living tips, competitions and more. 

1. How often should I replace my toothbrush?

coloured toothbrushes
Are you replacing your toothbrush often enough?

The age-old debate - how often does your toothbrush really need replacing?
Our mouths can be pretty dirty places, and all that scrubbing at food and bacteria can soon take a toll on out toothbrushes.

Pretty gross, right?

Colgate say that the amount you should get a new toothbrush really depends on the individual and your usage, health and personal preferences. Some toothbrushes also wear much better than others, which is something to bear in mind.

As a rough guide, look to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. If it's stored in proximity to others', you've been sick, or the bristles are looking particularly worn, however, it'll need replacing sooner.

2. How often do razor blades need replacing

Many of us are guilty of only replacing our razor blades when they're as blunt as a butter knife and no longer do their job properly.


It's not just effectiveness that needs to be considered when replacing razor blades. A build-up of dry skin and body hair along with wet conditions mean razor blades can grow bacteria fairly quickly.

It's because of this that dermatologists recommend replacing razor blades every five to seven shaves and never keeping them for longer than a month.

3. How long should I keep a kitchen sponge?

dirty sponge
This sponge definitely needs replacing...

Did you know that kitchen sponges are actually the germiest item in the whole home?

Pretty shocking, right?

Kitchen sponges can pick up bacteria from faeces carried on raw meat and soil from fruit and veg, and their often damp, the warm state encourages bacteria to multiply.

That's why it's so important to carry out the correct cleaning procedure when using them. Kitchen sponges should be disinfected after every single use and kept no longer than a week.

TOP TIP: you can use lemon essential oils to disinfect your sponge between uses. Alternatively, microwave on high for 30 seconds to kill germs.

4. Does alcohol go off?

vodka and beer bottles
Did you know vodka goes off?

We've all got that one bottle of spirit that hasn't been touched for years. Whether it's Sherry, Baileys or Vodka, it will definitely have an expiry date, which is often sooner than you might have imagined.

It may surprise you to know that...

...as soon as you open a bottle of alcohol, the air will react with it, weakening its strength and quality. Some spirits such as vodka will still be ok after 2 years, and bourbon can last up to 10. Rum, however, tells a different story and should be consumed within 3 months of opening. For Tequila it's even shorter - 2 months.

Liquors that contain dairy, such as Baileys, can spoil even before the bottle is opened, so it's important to keep an eye on their expiry dates.

5. How often should I change my shower pouffe/loofah?

Scrub-a-dub-dub feels so good.

There's nothing that gets those itches quite like a shower pouffe, but if you're not changing it regularly enough, it could be doing more harm than good.

One of the reasons scrubbing with a loofah feels so good, is that it exfoliates the skin, removing dead and dry skin cells. All these skin cells then remain in your wet pouffe - the perfect breeding ground for germs and other bacteria.

The secret to staying clean?

Change your shower pouffe every 3 weeks to keep your shower as hygienic as you intend it to be.

Wondering whether you should exfoliate or shave first? Check out our blog post. 

6. This is how often your water filter needs to be replaced

When was the last time you changed your water filter? Did you even know it needed replacing?

You'd better listen up...

Turns out, water filters need replacing much more frequently than we thought. Hard water and other elements in the water can cause the filter to become clogged, and reduce performance. 

You should look to change your water cartridge at least once a year, but if you notice your water tasting off or a reduction in the water flow in the meantime, it's worth getting a new filter ASAP.

7. Do herbs & spices go off?

When was the last time you replaced your spices?

Dry store ingredients are often neglected. As they don't contain moisture, it's easy to see how we could think they'd last forever.

But it's far from the truth.

Even dry foods such as spices have an expiry date. Although they don't actually 'go off',  they will lose their potency over time.

If you want really flavoursome food, replace whole spices after 4 years, ground spices after 3 and leafy herbs after 2.

8. How often should I replace my toilet brush?

You don't need us to tell you that toilet brushes can get dirty.

Toilet brushes arguably have the dirtiest job in the home, so it seems logical that they'd need replacing over time.

Providing it's not looking too worse for wear and is disinfected regularly, you can get away with replacing your toilet brush once a year.

Next up, find out if you should be flushing hair down the toilet

TOP TIP: Toilet brushes should be cleaned using diluted bleach and boiling water. Where possible, you should always leave your toilet brush to dry out - a damp environment encourages germs to grow and breed. 

9. Does makeup have an expiry date?

Are you using out of date products on your face?

Makeup? Expire? Surely not.

We've got some bad news...

...even your cosmetics have a lifespan, and it's probably a lot shorter than you'd think.

We've all been guilty of lathering year-old foundation onto our faces before,  and 3-year-old mascara you've found lurking at the bottom of your gym bag can't do too much harm, right?

Well, turns out makeup expiry dates should, in fact, be adhered to. The molecules in skin products can break down over time, and have adverse effects on our skin including inflammation, redness, bumps and even swelling.

Not only that, but over time, cosmetics can develop and grow bacteria, which could lead to all sorts of nasty infections.

If in doubt, replace:

  • Mascara - every 3 months
  • Lipstick - every 1.5 years
  • Eyeshadow - every year
  • Foundation/powder/blusher - 1 year
Are there any other household items your replace regularly? We'd love to know about your routine in the comments below.

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author sally on February 14, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    We really are getting to be a nation of wimps. Kitchen sponges can go in the washing machine as can shower poufs.

    1. Author Stephanie C on February 16, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Hi Sally, If you are using your washing machine to disinfect kitchen sponges and shower poufs, please be advised to use a trong detergent and wash at 60°C to ensure all germs are killed. Thanks

    2. Author Hazel Severn on February 17, 2018 at 3:18 am

      Make-up has a life span, it tells you once it's opened his long it's ment to last, but mine never lasts long enough lol

    3. Author Stephanie C on February 19, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Hi Hazel. That's right, but many of us ignore it. I personally don't wear makeup often, so it's frustrating when I have to throw nearly-full products away! Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Author Jill on June 20, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Well I'm still happily using the Clinique eyeshadow I bought for my wedding makeup, and what a good investment that was.....wait for it....28 years ago. Ha ha, thought that would shock you!!

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 28, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Hi Jill, WOW, that is a long time! Powders often fair better than liquid makeup, so you should be ok. Talk about saving money!

  3. Author Jacqueline Straw on June 20, 2018 at 9:43 am

    I completely agree with you Sally. And if we don’t expose ourselves to some germs and bacteria our immune system would be useless.

  4. Author Margaret McAlister on June 20, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Hello I do not wear makeup very often as when I was younger I had eczema a was allergic to most of it, it cost a fortune to keep buying some only to find your face burning and eyelids swelling up, and having to throw it in the bin, so I finished up not bothering at all,

    1. Author Joanne A on August 16, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      Hello Margaret. That's a shame! We bet you have lovely smooth skin now as a result though. Not to mention how great you must look to be able to go bare-faced every day!

  5. Author Mary on June 20, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    I gave myself a bad eye infection using an old mascara. The trouble with me is, I don't wear make-up that often that it's out of date after using once. I wish manufacturers would make small mascaras as its such a waste of money.

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 28, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Hi Mary, I'm the same! You can get mini mascaras in sets - perhaps that would be a better option for you? Or, go for cheaper makeup. At least then when it's out of date, it won't be such a loss. I hope that helps :)

  6. Author Rose Trickett on July 7, 2019 at 10:30 am

    I don't use razor blades ever. I have bamboo toothbrushes on a 12 week order system. I do not use plastic body puffs, I use natural Ramie scrunchies and hot wash it every day. I do not use plastic kitchen sponges, I buy cellulose sponges and cotton dish cloths. As part of my weekly cleaning I hot wash the toilet brush and let it air dry, but would live to to find an effective plastic free one. I will write a guarantee no feceis ever got near my kitchen sink, my sponges or any if my food. Some ofcthis is a little insulting to us in our 60's who always managed to jeep things clean without modern plastics culture.

    1. Author Joanne A on July 8, 2019 at 10:23 am

      Hi Rose! Reducing waste is very important, and it's a shame that hygiene and looking after the environment don't always go hand in hand. With items that need replacing regularly, it's a good idea to seek out plastic-free, biodegradable alternatives - just like the bamboo toothbrush you use. Hopefully, this will inspire some of our readers!

  7. Author Anne on April 29, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Kitchen sponges are so affordable, just throw away when mucky & replace 40p for a small pack in Tesco

    1. Author Joanne A on May 1, 2020 at 5:40 pm


  8. Author Sarah Childs on February 7, 2021 at 3:29 am

    For the lady talking about mascara, I tend to get a few free samples in places like boots or department stores from the counters like chanel, dior etc. They're free and last a few times. If you don't ask, you don't get!! Also free mini perfume samples are great for going out and take up no space. In your bag, If you getting chatting to the nice counter ladies, they quite often will give you samples.

    1. Author Joanne A on October 18, 2022 at 10:08 am

      Great tip!

  9. Author Janet Saul on October 23, 2021 at 10:02 am

    I put dish cleaning brushes in the dishwasher

    1. Author Joanne A on October 10, 2022 at 10:22 am

      That's a good idea!


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