Are You Replacing These 11 Household Items Regularly?

items you need to replace

Many household items need to be replaced regularly in order to avoid unpleasant consequences, but a lot of them are pretty obvious. You know you need to replace a bouquet of flowers when it starts to wilt, and you know it’s time to replace your kitchen towels when they develop stains or holes.

Unfortunately, not everything that needs to be replaced in your home is quite as obvious as dying flowers or stained towels! In fact, there are plenty of less-obvious household items that we ought to replace on a regular basis, and the only way to know they need to be replaced is to know how often you should replace them!

And that can sound like a lot to learn, but the information in today’s blog post is sure to make this task easier! Today we’ll be exploring 11 common household items we need to replace, but that often go overlooked, so you know exactly what to replace and how often.

Related: 3 Simple Rules That Will Make Your Entire Kitchen Safer

Bonus Tip: Use Your Calendar!

  • The idea of having to remember a bunch of different dates when you should replace things can be overwhelming!
  • So instead of committing them to memory, let the Calendar or Reminders app on your smartphone do the work for you!
  • For example, when you start using a new tube of mascara (see #3 below), create an event or reminder for 3 months in the future to let yourself know it’s time to replace it again.
  • You can also do this to help yourself remember other occasional household tasks, like changing the air filter, cleaning the gutters, or vacuuming out your dryer vent.

11 Household Items You Need To Replace Regularly (& How Often)

stuff to replace

1. Sponges

Aim to replace your kitchen sponge every 2-8 weeks, depending on how often you use it. If you wash all of your dishes by hand, you’ll need to replace yours more often than someone who only hand washes a couple of dishes here and there.

To sanitize your kitchen sponge between uses, boil or microwave it for a couple of minutes once a week (or just toss it in the top rack of your dishwasher!)

stuff to replace

2. Herbs & Spices

Dried herbs should be replaced about once per year. Ground spices can be replaced every other year, while whole spices can stay fresh for up to 4 years.

stuff to replace

3. Makeup

You should shoot to replace your eye makeup (like mascara, eyeliner, etc.) every 3 months in order to avoid bacterial growth that could cause an eye infection. For powders like eyeshadow, foundation, blush, and bronzer, replace them after 2 years. Liquid and cream makeup will last about 1 year.

While you don’t necessarily need to replace your makeup brushes according to a certain schedule, it’s very important to clean them regularly! Learn more about how and when to clean your makeup brushes here.

stuff to replace

4. Toothbrushes

Replace your toothbrush (or the brush head for your electric toothbrush) every 3 months or so. Doing so will ensure your teeth and gums are getting properly cleaned every time you brush your teeth!

I use Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program to get new toothbrushes delivered every 3 months. It’s one less thing I have to worry about, and it’s an easy way to make sure I’m taking good care of my teeth and gums! (To learn more about Subscribe & Save, read my post about it here.)

stuff to replace

5. Water Filter

If you use a water pitcher with a filter (or if you have a fridge door water dispenser with a filter), it’s important to replace that filter regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Check the user manual to find out how often your particular filter should be replaced.

stuff to replace

6. Vitamins & Medications

Vitamins, supplements, and other over-the-counter medications usually have expiration dates listed on the package. If you only take vitamins or painkillers every once in a while, it’s probably a good idea to check the dates of the ones you have on hand.

stuff to replace

7. Fire Extinguisher

You should definitely have a properly maintained fire extinguisher in your home, because you never know when you might need one! And once you do have a home fire extinguisher, make a habit of checking the pressure gauge about once a month.

The needle should be in the green area, and if it isn’t, it’s time to replace the extinguisher (or have it recharged, if that’s an option!)

stuff to replace

8. Contact Lens Case

You already know you need to keep your contacts clean, but what about your contact case? Replacing your contact case every 3 months will help keep things clean and sanitary (which is especially important when it comes to your eyes.)

stuff to replace

9. Toilet Brush

There’s isn’t really a hard and fast rule about when to get rid of your toilet brush, but it’s safe to say that if it looks grimy or frayed, it’s probably time to replace it.

Standard toilet brushes are already magnets for bacteria, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

stuff to replace

10. Pillows

Aim to replace your bed pillows (at least the ones you sleep on every night) every 2 years or so. Don’t worry about replacing your decorative pillows unless there’s some sort of obvious issue.

But if you wash your bed pillows regularly, you won’t have to replace them as often. Learn how to wash your pillows here.

how to clean your vacuum

11. Vacuum Filters

When it comes vacuum maintenance, many people only think about emptying the dust cup when it’s full. But keeping your vacuum’s filters clean is equally important, because when they get too dirty, your vacuum can start spitting dust, dirt, and dander back into the air!

Aim to replace your vacuum’s filter(s) every three to six months (or wash them, if your vacuum has washable filters.) Refer to the user manual for instructions on accessing the filters, and for more tips about cleaning and maintaining your vacuum, check out this post.

Which household item are you the most diligent about replacing?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • Herbs and spices – Many dried herbs and spices can be kept indefinitely in the freezer if in the correct containers. Using a mortar and pestle and help to release their flavors when they get older.

    OTC medications – Expiration dates are actually Best By Dates, where the manufacturer won’t guarantee quality after that date. This isn’t Cinderella where the product goes bad at midnight on that date. Each type of OTC product has an extension guideline so you can safely use the majority of them after the expiration. I work at a food bank and we get donations of food and non-food products close to their expiration dates very often so we have to know about expiration date extensions.

    Google “otc expiration extension” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So, please don’t throw away perfectly good OTC items – check the extensions first.

    Toilet brush – instead of tossing a still usable brush, and filling the landfill with even more plastic, spray it with diluted bleach water and let air dry. I do this with mine until the bristles start to fall out. So, each brush lasts years.

  • I use microfiber covered sponges that are machine washable. They have microfiber on one side and a non-scratch scrubbing material on the other. They last a long time and eliminate the cost of replacing the kitchen and cleaning sponges as often.

  • My 3 month pack delivery of contact lenses arrives with 3 cases so my optometrist would clearly be advising a new case for each one monthly pair. For sponges (if people choose those as opposed to biodegradable cotton cloth), it’s surely worrying to think a household discards those every 6 – 8 wks, the effect of that on our planet must be horrendous? Surely the various cleaning methods mentioned mean they can be used for longer? I soak my bathroom ones regularly in vinegar.

  • I actually try to replace my contact lens case every time I change out my lenses or at least once a month . I think it was probably my eye Dr who recommended it All sorts of nasty stuff can build up under the lids and it also helps to prevent eye infections.

  • Hi Jillee – Thanks for this article. I love that you listed the Fire Extinguisher. Can I add something to your list? Not only should you replace the batteries in your smoke detector, you should also replace the units themselves at least every 10 years. I just learned this lesson the hard way this morning at 4:00 am when every smoke detector (all 6 of them) went off. No sign of a fire, but I didn’t know how to stop the madness. We ended up calling the fire department and they helped to sleuth the problem unit and asked us to replace all units today. I will be heading to the hardware store during my lunch hour.

    • You actually don’t have to throw them away, unless they get too dried out or cracked. At least once a month, just spray both sides with an all-purpose cleaner that contains bleach. Let it sit for a while, then scrub both sides. Rinse with cool water. If it still seems dirty, repeat the process. Of course, this doesn’t mean never replace them, but they should be good for a year or 2.

  • Here is my question. Rather than replace things like contact lens cases and sponges, why not just dunk them in rubbing alcohol or bleach? PLMK … I’m very curious. Thanks.

    • With contact cases, it’s just not worth the risk! While you could disinfect it, you would also have to be very careful about how you dry and store it afterwards. Since they’re inexpensive, it’s just safer to replace them.

      With sponges, they just accumulate SO much bacteria, that you can really only clean them a few times. :-)

  • I put my spices in the door of my freezer compartment of my refrigerator. They last forever. What’s wrong with that? I label the tops with numbers and the names in alphabetical order so I can reach and get what I need quickly.


  • Jillee, You are a great blogger. Actually, your suggestion make me so careful about me and my family. I never forget your 10 household replace idea. I think every family member must take this step carefully.

  • As spices age they lose some of their flavour but all you have to do is use more. Never throw out perfectly good spices. As long as they are still good just use more.

  • I replace my toothbrush once I am done with the tube of toothpaste. Also my bath sponge when I am finshed with the bath soap. That way I will never forget when it was I last changed them.

    • I replace my toothbrush with the change of season. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Easy! shower and the sponge just goes in the wash with the towels.

      • I take this one step further – I replace my toothbrush on Jan 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct 1. So easy, no thinking required. :)

    • That’s actually a pretty god idea, at least if it’s just you emptying the bottle/tube and not a whole family having a go at it. That way when you have to buy more, you will automatically buy a new one of the corresponding item that needs to be replaced.

  • The heat of the dishwasher will soften the glue that holds the bristles in the brush. It’s best to hand wash them in soapy water & then let them air dry.

  • I replace my contact lens case about twice a month.I wear the two week disposable lenses.The cases can get all crudy from the dried up saline. About the spices- we may have to start putting the dates on. It’s hard to keep track of. Some of our spices that we use frequently we replace every few months.

  • Clean old contact lens cases have so many uses. use them to keep a few pain reliever tablets handy in your purse or gym bag. Since they won’t leak, a bit of lip gel, lotion or when traveling enough face product for a single facial!

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