15 Things You Need to Replace a Lot More Often Than You Think

Close-up of kitchen utensils


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Close-up of kitchen utensils
Woman hand washing dishes over the sink in the kitchen
colorful plastic containers or jars
Karina Mako Oktaviani/istockphoto

Plastic Food Containers

If you pride yourself on your collection of plastic food-storage containers, ones you use time after time after time, you might be in for a surprise. This replacement regime goes by your gut — if you’re being honest, you know when it’s time to stop reusing badly stained, melted or mismatched containers. As The Kitchn notes, it’s not only aesthetics: Scraped surfaces, from a knife cut or too-rigorous cleaning, can allow plastics to seep into your food.    

Detail on antifreeze car screen wash liquid pouring into dirty car from blue and red anti freeze water container.
Lubo Ivanko/istockphoto

Windshield Washer Fluid

We’ve all been there. You’re on the highway, sun glare makes you realize your windshield is grimy or dotted with dirt. You press the wipers to clear but only get a dry sweep. American Automobile Association (AAA) notes that adding washer fluid is one of the easiest of auto maintenance tasks — when you remember. Put yourself on a schedule so you check to see your washer reservoir is always near the top. And keep a check on those wiper blades, too, as AutoZone shares that most manufacturers suggest replacement every six months to a year.   

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Home Air Filter

Furnace Filters

It’s shocking to pull out a filter from the furnace and see how dirty it is. Yes, it’s doing its job — but wow, that’s a lot of dust. The Bob Vila website notes that everyone’s system is different, so keep a close check on how dusty your filter looks to maintain optimum operation. At minimum, replace the filter every 90 days. 

Cleaning wood cutting board in kitchen sink

Cutting Board

So you use the same cutting board to slice raw chicken, dice onions, and perhaps even chop apples for pie. Of course, we all wash between each use, but House Digest notes that cutting boards tend to gather bacteria. That goes for the wooden versions but also plastic or glass. It suggests, even with the thorough cleaning protocols it explores, replacing cutting boards on an annual basis.

Close-up of kitchen utensils

Wooden Spoons

Wooden spoons tend to have a long life in many a kitchen, held onto because of tradition or ease of use. Some have even been passed down in the family. That’s all nice and sweet, but House Digest says that when wooden utensils have cracks, take very long to dry or otherwise seem compromised, it’s really time for a new one. These are not lifetime purchases; five years should be the maximum lifespan.  

Related: Kitchen Gadgets That Are a Waste of Money 

Kitchen Tea Towels On Wall Hook Rack
Kiara Bloom/istockphoto

Dish Towels

Sure, dish towels are used to dry dishes, but they are also often called into play as makeshift oven mitts, something to wipe your dirty hands on, or, in a pinch, clean a kid’s nose. Frequent washing is needed to fight the potential bacteria, but that, in turn, lessens the towel’s absorbency lifespan. According to The Kitchn, an annual assessment of your dish towels is a good idea. With so many cute options available, why not treat yourself to something new?

Man installing smoke detector

Smoke-Detector Batteries

The smoke-detector maker First Alert says that you should test your smoke detectors at least once a month and replace the batteries every six months. It’s even become a common message from local fire departments to change out the batteries when it’s time to change the clocks for daylight savings time. Safety first.

Spice rack on modern kitchen countertop

Herbs and Spices

Just because the expiration date is still in the future doesn’t mean that your herbs and spices are still at their peak. According to the Food Network, herbs and spices can indeed lose their signature flavor over time, sometimes well before the “best by” date. Ground spices, in particular, often lose their optimum flavor within six months. Use your nose to know what’s still packing its punch. 

Fire Extinguisher Sitting Behind the Door at Home

Fire Extinguisher

Home safety is a priority, so whether you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen or, perhaps, in the workshop, keep an eye on it. House Digest notes that a fire extinguisher that has not been used can last some six or more years, but once used, needs to be recharged.

Closeup of white pillow on the bed in the bedroom

Bed Pillow

Sweet dreams might not be so sweet when you realize your pillow should have been replaced a long time ago. The Sleep Foundation notes that you’ll know it’s time for a new pillow if you start to notice a lack of support (telltale signs are sore necks). For pillows to remain supportive, hygienic and free of allergens, the organization suggests replacing every year or two. 

Electric and regular toothbrush in a bathroom. Dental care. Manual toothbrush against modern electric toothbrush concept.


If you only change your toothbrush when the dentist gives you a free one, you might want to reconsider. Though the specific timelines are related to someone’s usage, health and basic preferences, Colgate suggests that getting a new toothbrush every three to four months is a good idea. It also urges a new one after recovering from being sick.

Shower curtain on shower curtain rod

Shower Curtains and Liners

Yes, we all get lazy when it comes to home maintenance. But in the bathroom, such laziness can lead to unhealthy conditions. Plumbing manufacturer Kohler notes that those who use shower curtains — and plastic liners — should make sure to properly clean them on a regular basis to avoid mold, mildew and other buildups. Every six months, it notes, might be a time to get a new one, as well. 

Cleaning now

Toilet Brush

Consumer Reports notes that the toilet brush — yes, we know, toilet cleaning is a dreaded task — should be cleaned thoroughly after every use. Some suggest replacing with a new one every six months, though the condition of the bristles, its maintaining its shape and, perhaps most important, its odor should alert you as to the time for a new purchase.

Black Mascara Tube and Brush.


Of all the beauty products used, mascara is one that’s often in heavy rotation and has the shortest shelf life. That can be an issue for those who like to use multiple formulas, not relying on the same tube day after day. A good rule to follow? Makeup authority Bobbi Brown says that mascara should be switched out every three to six months, as it’s often used and, more important, touches your eyes. Once it becomes flaky is a sign it’s lost its integrity.