From shower curtains to chopping boards, we don’t realise how many germs our household items actually carry. 

That’s why we’ve researched how often we need to replace 14 of the most common household items to avoid a germ infestation.

When the durability of household items starts to wear down, a simple clean or bleach can only keep it surviving for a short while before it will need replacing for good.

And while many of us like to use the good old smell test to check its condition, a fresh scent doesn’t mean an item’s not covered in harmful bacteria.


germ free

Towels, chopping boards and even screen protectors need replacing every year with others like shower curtains, toothbrushes and your toilet brush needing to be changed much more often.

It can be easy to forget to change them - after all, if it looks and smells clean, then it’s easy to assume it is. It’s all those hidden germs and bacteria we need to be nervous about.

There is a real danger that if you don’t replace some of these items, like the toilet brush or even frying pans as the lingering germs could cause you some problems. 

Make sure to have a look around the home and think about how long you’ve had some of these items and if they’ve been in use for a long while, it may be time to get the bin bag out.

Here’s how often these everyday items should be replaced:


Shower curtains - three months

The excess amount of water hitting the shower curtain leads to mould growth due to the heavy moisture conditions. With the constant showering, it’s best to swap these out every three months as there’s only so much mould spray can do to stop its growth.


Bed sheets - two years

Bed sheets that have been used for two years are a welcoming home to germs and even dust mites. They still like to infest bedding even after it’s been cleaned, so once you’re noticing a foul smell or even itchiness from sleeping on the sheets, they likely need replacing.


Sponges - when the smell lingers

There’s no time frame for when sponges should be replaced, but if they start to smell after excess usage, it’s a clear indication they need swapping out. To make them last longer be sure to ring out any excess water after each use. 


Water bottles - one year 

Drinking out of a water bottle not only results in bacteria around the lid but also around the bottom of the inside. If you’re noticing an unusual taste along with a strong metallic smell despite cleaning the bottle out, a new one may be needed to avoid drinking contaminated water.


Blankets - four years

A cosy blanket is another hard item to replace especially if you have a firm favourite. However, they tend to pick up a heavy amount of germs throughout the year, especially if you’re using them to keep warm when suffering from a cold.


Chopping boards - one year

The marks from knives can cause bacteria to deepen into the chopping board and could potentially lead to contamination of food, which can be potentially harmful when it comes to preparing meats and fish.


Toilet brush - nine months 

Nobody wants a dirty toilet brush in their home, particularly one which has outstayed its welcome. While they can be cleaned with bleach and toilet cleaner, the bacteria tend to linger on the stems of the brush. They should be swapped out every nine months at the least.


Protective phone screens - one year

Research shows that our mobile devices can be as filthy as a toilet seat, in particular the front screens. Many people buy a cover for the front to prevent the screen from being damaged, but this cover can accumulate tons of bacteria from the constant typing and swiping which is why it’s recommended to replace it once a year.


Rugs - three years

For many, rugs are the centrepiece feature in a home, but they’re a haven for germ infestation. Hoovering the rug and constantly walking over it only deepens harmful bacteria.


Toothbrush - six months

The bottom of the toothbrush is a pit for bacteria, even if the toothbrush is cleaned thoroughly. It can be swimming in a pool of germs if it’s left in a holder beside the sink. Every six months it’s worth investing in a new one to prevent any illness occurring from simply brushing your teeth.


Towels - two years

Although most people wash their towels regularly, they may need to go every couple of years. Bacteria and fungi can linger on towels which can result in skin rashes and illness, even after they’ve been soaked and cleaned.


Bins - six months 

Bin bags should be changed each day to prevent fungi and bacteria from sticking to the bin itself, however, the germs can remain at the bottom as they seep through the material. Give the bin a deep cleaning every three months and then replace them halfway through the year to prevent any nasty germs from spreading.


Pans - five years

The bacteria in pans builds up from heavy usage even after a deep scrub. But they do manage to last around five years before they need replacing. Check if any smells continue to linger and whether food stains can be cleaned out first before swapping for a newer model.


Sofa pillows - two years

Lifespan for pillows on the sofa ranges between a year and a half to two at a maximum before they need swapping out. The covers may need changing more frequently as bacteria forms the more we lay on them, but the germs bury through to the material itself, infecting the pillow’s condition.

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