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17 Frequent-Use Household Items You’re Forgetting To Replace

Are there things around your home that you are forgetting to replace? Chances are there are quite a few that have slipped your mind or that you possibly hadn’t even considered replacing or cleaning between uses.

The frequency of replacing the items on this list may surprise you but are essential to a healthy household —especially for things that are still fulfilling their purpose without obvious deterioration.

The truth is, there are many products in our homes that have recommended expiration dates that are much shorter than we realise.

Toothbrushes forgetting to replace

It can be a little ironic to consider the fact that the items we are using to clean our home are often the most unclean items in our home.

They need cleaning often to help maintain a clean and healthy household.

Equally important is replacing items around our home to ensure it is a safe place to live.

After all, home maintenance can often help minimise the need for major repairs around our home too!

So add these items to your regular cleaning schedule as things that you need to replace on a regular basis so that you don’t forget again!

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Essential Household Items That Need To Be Replaced

There are certain items around the home that we may be forgetting to clean as often as we should.

These are the items that can easily be cleaned and put back into use, without having to dispose of them.

Unless of course, they are worse for wear and a permanent replacement is a better alternative!

There are also items that cannot be cleaned that need replacing on a regular basis and in most cases, many of us don’t think to replace items that are in reasonable working order until we have to.

While I am a big fan of being thrifty, having a healthy household is even more important so this list of household items are items you should replace on a regular basis in your home.

These are approximate guides only and the frequency of use of these items may make it necessary to replace them more often or possibly less often.

Hand Towels

Replacement Frequency – Daily if used frequently or every 2-3 days otherwise

Handtowels in bathrooms and kitchens get a lot of us. They are left damp through this frequent use and become a perfect home to unwanted germs.

While regular washing of dishes and drying hands in the kitchen is usually a good reminder to replace kitchen towels often, those in other rooms may be easier to neglect.

Toilet Brush

Toilet brush and cleaner

Replacement Frequency – At least annually

Let’s get honest… have you ever changed your toilet brush?

A toilet brush has one of the ickiest jobs in the whole house, yet it’s not really an item we give much attention to. But we should.

While you can absolutely attempt to sanitise your toilet brush semi-regularly, it should also be replaced regularly too. Plus a new brush will help keep your toilets clean as well!

Tooth Brushes

Replacement Frequency – Every 3 months

It’s somewhat crazy to think that we are putting worn, old toothbrushes into our mouths twice a day. But it can be easy to forget to replace your toothbrush as often as you should.

So, how often should you change your toothbrush? At least every 3 months.

The reason for this is that your toothbrush will become worn and the bristles less effective in doing their job to clean your teeth. This can also cause damage to your gums.

If you have young children who are in the habit of chewing their toothbrushes, you may find the need to replace theirs more frequently.

Water Filters

Replacement Frequency – Every 6 months

There are many different types of water filters around the home. The type of filter will determine the frequency that it should be changed.

In most cases, you should change water filters at least every 6 months.

If you have a water filter jug or a free-standing water cooler, these may require more frequent replacement to continue filtering effectively.

Refer to the manufacturer instructions for their recommendations.

Kitchen Sponges & Cloths

Household cleaning sponges you're forgetting to replace

Replacement Frequency – Once a week

Disposable kitchen sponges and clothes should be used for no longer than a week before replacing them with a new one. Any longer than this and their effectiveness in cleaning is greatly reduced as they become home to bacteria.

If you are using reusable kitchen clothes, such as washable anti-bacterial clothes, these can be changed far more frequently.

Both are due to the fact they are more budget-friendly to allow you to change them every day or two.

Plus this will keep them in good cleaning condition.

Body Sponges

Replacement Frequency – Every 4 to 6 weeks

Body sponges are another one of those things that you probably don’t think about replacing. But a sponge can grow mould and other bacteria if it’s left damp for too long.

So make sure to replace your body sponges every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how often they are used!

This is definitely a lot more often than most of us would consider replacing a body sponge or loofah, but considering how much moisture is in the bathroom, this is no great surprise.

Fire Extinguisher 

Replacement Frequency – Have checked every 5 years

Further to maintaining a safe home, fire extinguishers should be checked by a professional service at least every 5 years. At this time they will either be pressure tested, refilled or require replacement.

Smoke Alarm & Batteries

Smoke detector

Replacement Frequency – 10 years for alarms & annually for batteries

NSW Fire & Rescue advises that smoke alarms should be completely replaced every 10 years.

This is legislation in parts of Australia, although may differ where you are located. Check with your local emergency services website for requirements.

They also recommend changing smoke alarm batteries once a year and doing monthly tests to ensure it is in working condition.

Automatic Air Fresheners

Replacement Frequency – As needed

Automatic air fresheners are another great way to make your house smell fresh. They are battery-operated units that spray air freshener at set intervals. Usually every 15 or 30 minutes.

The spray cans typically last a couple of months before needing replacement. You will also need to ensure batteries are changed if you are wondering why your air freshener has stopped spraying.

Reed Diffusers

Reed diffuser

Replacement Frequency – 3 to 4 months

Reed diffusers are a simple way to add a pleasant fragrance to your home, however, they are only effective for approximately 3 to 4 months before they need replacing.

If you have a reed diffuser that you don’t want to replace, you can instead top up the oil and replace just the reeds. This is often a cheaper alternative to replacing the entire diffuser.

TIP: You can also use bamboo skewers in your diffuser in the place of reeds. Just cut down to size and chop off the pointy end.


Replacement Frequency – Every 12 to 24 months

We spend around 8 hours a night with our heads on our pillows. This is after a busy day of activity, dirt and grime because there are few of us who wash our hair before bed each night.

They get sweated on, have oils from skin and hair and residue from skincare and haircare products.

They tend to sag more and lose their shape over time, which means less support for your head and neck while you sleep.

They also become a breeding ground for dust mites if they’re not washed regularly enough. For this reason, pillows should be replaced about every year or two.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing pillows every 1 to 2 years.

For high-quality pillows, with regular washing, you may be able to extend the life of your pillow for an extra year or two, which makes higher-quality pillows a worthwhile investment.

Check out my guide on how to wash pillows, including memory foam pillows, body pillows and throw pillow washing tips. Always take care to read the cleaning instructions first.

Makeup Brushes & Sponges

Make up brushes

Replacement Frequency – Every three months to one year

We’re quick to buy new makeup, but are we being just as diligent about replacing our old makeup tools?

A lot of things that touch your face on a regular basis should be replaced regularly – especially because brushes and sponges can accumulate bacteria if they aren’t cleaned properly (or at all).

Makeup sponges can be washed, however, a 3-month life span is a safe option.

For makeup brushes, the lifespan will depend partly on the quality and type of fibre the brush is made from, but replacing every 12 months is a reasonable time frame. Get more tips on replacing makeup brushes and sponges.

Old Cosmetics & Toiletries

Replacement Frequency – Every 12-24 months

Older items can harbour germs and bacteria which are bad for your skin. It’s best to replace these every 12 months or so, in addition to products with a 24-month shelf life (like toothpaste).

It doesn’t matter if you use them all the time or not, it’s important that you replace these items regularly.

For more accurate makeup replacement recommendations, check out this guide.

Air Filters 

Replacement Frequency – Every 12 months or more often if needed

Get into a routine of replacing your home air filters at least every 12 months.

They do have recommended replacement guidelines on the packaging so take note of when you install them so you know to replace them in time.

If you live in an area with a lot of air pollution, then replacing your filter more often is essential to prevent health issues like asthma.

If you’re not sure when it’s time for a new one or how often they need changing, consult the manual or follow this guide on how to change an air filter.

This is a task that can fit into your annual deep cleaning schedule.


Replacement Frequency – According to best before date

Medication is one of those items you don’t want to risk using past the recommended use dates. While the best before is typically very conservative, your health is more important than saving a few dollars to avoid replacing your medication.

Regularly declutter your bathroom, including your medicine cabinet, so you can ensure there are no out of date medications or anything that looks questionable, with broken seals or leaking bottles.

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Chopping boards

Replacement Frequency – Every few months

This one is easy to forget, but it’s important that you replace your chopping boards every few months. Make sure they’re in good condition before storing them and remember the best ones are made of wood or glass for durability purposes.

If you go check your chopping board right now, will you find a clean, smooth surface or one with grooves from years of cutting and chopping?

It’s impossible to completely clean those damaged areas of the board so regular replacement ensures you aren’t reusing a food preparation surface that is loaded with bacteria.

Kitchen Sponges

Replacement Frequency – Every few weeks

You should replace your kitchen sponge every couple of weeks. The bacteria in the home is often found on dishes, utensils and sponges that aren’t regularly cleaned by washing with soap and water.

The exception is reusable clothes that you wash in the washing machine, but even these have a shelf life of no more than 12 months before you should consider replacing them completely.

Consider what you may be forgetting to replace around your home. It can be a little ironic that the items we are using to keep our home clean, such as sponges and dish towels, often need cleaning themselves or replacing more than other objects in our home. When it comes time for these replacements or deep cleans, set yourself a schedule so you don’t forget.

Have you replaced any of the above items around your house recently? 

For more tips on keeping a clean and tidy home:

Household items you're forgetting to replace