How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress? (And 20 Other Of Your Most Used Household Items)

From your bath mat to your bras

How often should you replace your mattress, pillows and all the other questionably old items in your home? Sure, your pillows look lovely with those colorful West Elm shams. But depending on how long you’ve owned them, it could be time to swap them out. Here, a timeline for how often you should replace some of the important items in your life. 

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1. Mattress: Every Seven Years

If you’re vacuuming the surface regularly—an easy way to zap dust mites—your mattress should last quite a while.

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2. Throw Pillows: Every Two to Four Years

A lot depends on the wear and tear, but if you clean the pillow inserts every four to six months and replace the covers if there’s a stain, you can get more mileage out of them.


3. Bed Pillows: Every Two Years

Just like your mattress, pillows are a haven for dust mites, which—ugh—can cause allergy-like symptoms to develop.


4. Duvet: Every Five Years

Just be sure to wash it at least once a season so it doesn’t get gross.


5. Towels: Every Two to Three Years

If you notice they’re losing their absorbency—or worse, starting to smell—it’s time to head to Bed, Bath & Beyond and restock.


6. Bath Mat: Every Two Years

This actually gets more wear and tear than your towels, but you should replace it for similar reasons: It’s less absorbent or it starts to fade or smell.


7. Sneakers: Every Six to 12 Months

Runners refer to it as the 500-mile rule. Once they’ve crossed it, it’s time for a new pair.


8. Bras: Every Eight Months

That’s why you need up to eight in rotation. As long as you wash them properly, they’ll hold on to their elasticity and support.


9. Phones: Every Two to Three Years

While it’s smart to time your purchases with the release of the new model, as long as the operating system is still supported (find out which OS you’re running here), your phone is in good shape.

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10. Plastic Food Storage Containers: Every Two to Five Years

Be on the lookout for scratches and cracks. If you spot one, toss the container now to steer clear of food spoilage or germs.

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11. Brita Water Filters: Every Two Months

Any longer and you’ll start to notice a change in the taste.

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12. Toothbrushes: Every Three to Six Months

The second the bristles start to splay, it’s time for a replacement.


13. Makeup Brushes: Every Two Years

Just be sure you’re washing them at least once a week.


14. Mascara: Every Three Months

That’s about how long a tube should last, assuming you use it daily. Beyond that, the formula will probably dry up—or worse, bacteria will form.

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15. Bike Helmet: Every Three to Five Years

Keep up with the new technology, people. If you’ve experienced a crash, you should replace the helmet right away.

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16. Microwave: Every Ten Years

If the cook times suddenly lengthen or you notice a buzzing sound, the motor might be burning out, which means it’s time for a new appliance.

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17. Smoke Detectors: Every Ten Years

If it chirps after you’ve replaced the batteries or there’s no sound when you perform the monthly test, it’s done.

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18. Air Conditioner: Every Ten to 15 Years

It’s all about energy efficiency. The newer your AC unit, the lower your electric bills.

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19. Hair Dryer: Every Five Years

If your blow-dryer rattles or your hair starts to take a really (really) long time to dry, it’s time for a new one—like maybe a Dyson.


20. Refrigerator: Every Ten Years

If you notice excessive condensation and your freezer looks like a blizzard hit it, start keeping an eye out for sales.


21. Spices: Every Six Months

If you need to add a lot more spice to taste the flavor, it has become less pungent. Add it to the grocery list.