When Should I Replace That?

When Should I Replace That?

Ever wonder when you should throw away your tooth brush, or that dog-eared kitchen sponge? Find out just how many months, or weeks, you should be keeping these things around the house.

Dish Sponge

Cesspool. That’s what could be living on the surface of your kitchen sponge. Sponges were made for cleaning. That is what makes it kind of ironic.

“While a sponge is excellent for wiping up messes and absorbing liquid quickly, it can also absorb harmful foodborne pathogens along the way,” reports HomeFoodSafety.org.

Even the Wall Street Journal has weighed-in on the topic of regularly replacing your dish sponge.

“There are ways to clean a sponge and keep salmonella, E. coli and other harmful bacteria at bay,” they say.

One recommended way is by sticking your sponge in the microwave for approximately one minute.

“In a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, running a kitchen sponge through a regular machine dishwashing cycle, or microwaving a wet one for 60 seconds, decreased bacteria by nearly 100%,” the Wall Street Journal reports.


Do you know what you’re cleaning yourself with in the morning?

According to experts at the Cleveland Clinic, loofahs and bath sponges are often kept on the shower rack for weeks, if not months at a time.

“They’re used in a wet environment. You hang them up in the shower, which is also a wet environment, and they kind of stay there. They don’t ever totally dry out, so that’s a beautiful breeding ground for bacteria,” Dr. Melissa Piliang told the Cleveland Clinic.

Your dead skin cells are often taken off in the shower, she explains. These dead skin cells can eventually fill the crevices of your loofah, and become a host to a bacterial breeding ground.

According to the doctor, standard loofahs should be replaced about every month.


When a toothbrush starts to look worn, you should change it, dental experts suggest.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), toothbrushes can also be home to multiple varieties of bacteria. You should also store your toothbrush in an upright container where it will receive a lot of free-flowing air.

“A moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms than the open air,” ADA members say.

If you see no signs of wear-and-tear, dental officials suggest switching your toothbrush to a newer one approximately every 3 to 4 months.


Ever look in the refrigerator only to find the same bottle of syrup that was there sometime before last summer? Yep. You aren’t the only one.

Even if some of these foods, or dressings have an expiration date, is it still safe to eat?

The following are some shelf-life suggestions for common condiments.

  • Ketchup, cocktail or chili sauce: 6 months;
  • Chutney: 1 to 2 months;
  • Horseradish: 3 to 4 months;
  • Mustard: 12 months;
  • Pickles and olives: 2 weeks;
  • Mayonnaise and salad dressing: Up to 2 months;
  • Barbecue sauce: 4 months;
  • Worchestershire sauce: 12 months;
  • Jams and jellies: 6 months

*List provided by Consumer Reports.






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