Being frugal and holding on to the things we buy for longer is imminently sensible.If you’re bucking the trend of the throwaway society that we live in by buying less and making do with what you have, you are to be commended. Your efforts will not only save you money, but they will save some of the planet’s most precious resources and help in the fight back against climate change too.
That being said, there are a number of things which you should really replace regularly for the sale of your health and wellbeing. Here are some of the most common items that you shouldn’t hang on to for too long:
This one should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people there are out there using their toothbrushes months after they should have binned them. Ideally, you should aim to replace your toothbrush, or your toothbrush head if you have an electric model, once every three months. That’s because the bristles will start to wear down and become less effective at doing the job after a few months; wear and tear. Not only that, but bacteria is likely to build-up on the brush and be introduced back into your mouth every time you brush, too.
If you hate the thought of throwing out so much plastic each year, trey switching to a biodegradable bamboo brush instead.
If you use disposable razor blades, you should aim to replace them after a maximum of 7 uses. This is important because razors that have seen this much use will stop being so effective, which could cause you to hurt yourself as you shave. Not only that, but dirt and oil builds up on the blades, so if you want to prevent acne from shaving, switching your razor regularly is a good way to do it. If you’re worried about sending so many razors to the dump, invest in an electric one, which will last much longer providing you look after it right.
How long have you had your kitchen sponges? Three months? 6? A Year? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear some of you have been using the same sponges for several years! If that’s the case though, I have some bad news for you because, although it’s common to keep the same kitchen sponges for a long time, it’s a really bad idea due to the fact that they come into contact with so much bacteria, and the conditions of the average sponge are prime for breeding.
As a minimum, you should wash your sponges at least once a week, although after every use is what is really required, and you should replace them monthly. if that seems like too much, at least get rid of them when they start to smell!
I don’t want to gross you out, but your pillowcase is a veritable graveyard for dead skin. If you’ve had your pillowcases for a long time now, they might even be more skin that fabric!
If you clean your pillowcases each week, this will help to cut down on their grossness somewhat, but really you need to replace them (and probably your pillows too) at least once every six months to maintain the best levels of hygiene. Remember to throw them in the nearest textile recycling bin, so that they don’t end up in a landfill.
Sunscreen is vitally important to your health. If you don’t wear sunscreen when you step out into the sunshine, it could actually damage your skin and even cause you to develop skin cancer eventually, but just putting on sunscreen isn’t enough. If you want to ensure that you truly are protected from the sun’s damaging UV rays, you need to replace your sunscreen as soon as it expires. You need to do this because sunscreen does get less effective over time and you could end up putting yourself at risk even when you think you’re doing the right thing if you don’t change it regularly.
If you use bathroom sponges, then like kitchen sponges, you need to replace them regularly. It is recommended that you buy new bathroom sponges at least once every four weeks, lest you end up scrubbing yourself ‘clean’ with oodles of bacteria, rendering bathtime pretty much pointless.
If you have a mascara sitting in your makeup bag that dates back, well, so far you don’t even know when you bought it, just because it somehow hasn’t dried up yet, doesn’t mean you’re fine to keep using it.
Although you should replace all of the contents of your makeup bag regularly, mascara, due to its very nature, can pretty easily find its way into your eyeballs, so you want to make sure that it is as clean and safe as possible, lest you end up with a nasty eye infection or worse! Really, you should be tossing those tubes around 2-3 months after first use. If you’ve bought a mascara while ago, but you haven’t used it, then it should be fine to keep.
Another makeup bag staple that you might think you can keep indefinitely, but which for the good of your health, you should replace regularly, are your makeup brushes. Because they’re in such close proximity with your skin, they pick up all manner of dead skin cells and bacteria, and thus need to be replaced at least every two years and cleaned regularly between replacements.
Again, you can buy bamboo brushes if you’re concerned about the environment and the implications of throwing things out so often.
If you drink filtered water with any regularity, you should be looking to replace your filters every two years as a maximum. Any longer than that and they could stop working and cause you to drink unfiltered and possibly unsafe water, without your knowledge.
If you’re tempted to hold onto any of these items longer than their recommended lifespan, you have to realize that there could be consequences and it’s probably not worth it in the long-term!