Things You Should Be Changing More Often Than You Are

Here's something that may have never crossed your mind before: Did you know that toothpaste actually expires? If you look really closely at its packaging, you should see an expiration date on it somewhere because, according to Healthline, both the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and ADA (American Dental Association) require it. And just how long should you keep your toothpaste before getting another tube? Two years (even though it's not necessarily "harmful" if you use it a few extra months beyond that time).

It's these kinds of pearls of wisdom that will be explored in this piece because, the reality is, there are a ton of household (and beauty-related) items that you own that also have a time of expiration — whether you realize it or not. So, if this coming weekend, you're planning on doing a little bit of spring cleaning, here are several items that you may need to toss out in the process.


It probably comes as no surprise to you that most people, on average, spend about 36% of a 24-hour day in their bedroom. That's why it's absolutely essential that you know the shelf life of different things in that particular part of your home. NBC News published a report that said it's time to get a new mattress after 10 years, some new pillows after 12-24 months, sheets after a couple of years and (if it's a quality set) a new comforter or duvet every 15-25 years.

The reason why you need to get new sheets and pillows in a relatively short amount of time is partly due to hygienic reasons. After all, your body sheds a whopping 200,000,000 skin cells every hour! So, if your linens seem a little worn or you've got a perpetual dent in your favorite pillow, don't see going bedding shopping as a luxury. On many levels and for many reasons, it's an absolute necessity.

Washcloths and Towels

Even though you may think that your washcloth and towel are relatively clean (due to all of the soap that you use or that you're drying off a clean body), it's actually a really good idea to wash your towels no less than once a week and your washcloths no less than a couple of times a week — mostly for the same reason that was stated about bedding. The reality is, no matter how much you may rinse out your washcloth, there's still going to be some debris that's left behind.

And when should you replace both of these things? POPSUGAR interviewed Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority. She said, "Because towels are used daily and washed frequently, they tend to fray and tear after a couple of years ... They typically lose their absorbency around the two-year mark, which is a good indicator that it's time to replace them." You probably have some towels that have been around for double or triple this amount of time. Here's your sign that it's time to let them go!


A few years ago, The New York Times published "Are 8 Out of 10 Women Really Wearing the Wrong Bra Size?" inquiring if it's true that 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra and if it really matters. If you've ever worn a bra that truly complements your body and breast size, you know that it does. 

That said, just like a bra should fit you well, you also should not want to keep wearing one that has expired. When exactly would that be the case? Let's put it this way: you should take advantage of those semi-annual bra sales because bras usually expire within 6-8 months (via Well + Good).

You can keep them around longer if you buy more than a few (so that you're not rotating the same ones every day) and you wash them after 2-3 uses. But if even after doing this, the straps don't feel comfortable and/or your breasts seem to not feel supported in your cups, treat yourself — get some more.

Panties (including lingerie)

Your panties. It's not abnormal to have a huge collection of them. At the same time, according to Healthline, for the literal sake of your health and well-being, you should be getting a whole new set, every 12 months. A big part of the reason is that, even when underwear is clean, it can hold up to 10,000 living bacteria. Not to mention that when you go to wash your underwear, it can have up to one-tenth of a gram of fecal matter in it too (via ABC News).

Since panties are specifically designed to protect your clothing from bodily fluids and to keep your outer clothing from irritating your private parts, you want to make sure that if nothing else is in great condition, your panties are.

While we're here, this goes for your lingerie too. You want to make sure that what looks sexy on you feels sexy (because it's clean and fresh) as well.


Out of all of the items that will be discussed on this list, the thing that probably is kept hanging around for the longest period of time is socks — which is weird when you stop the think about the fact that they absorb sweat from your feet and stick to the inner parts of your shoes all day long.

Anyway, Health says that socks are something that should be replaced on an annual basis. The main reason is that socks tend to lose all of the support and even their shape after several months of constantly wearing them. If you're still on the fence about if this is something that you should take seriously, be daring and sniff your socks every once in a while. If they don't smell super fresh, even after you just washed them, that's another indication that it's time to get some new ones. Socks should smell as great as the rest of your clothing. Definitely words to live by.


Speaking of things that go on your feet, something else that Health says you should replace (probably way sooner than you would've ever considered) are sneakers; especially if you run in them on a consistent basis. Miguel Cunha, DPM, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Foot Care in New York City, told the site, "If you're running in them, your shoes need to be replaced approximately every six months." He also said that if your heels are worn out or it feels like your sneakers are leaning to one side when you attempt to walk in them, those too are dead ringers that they are about to expire.

Remember that sneakers are supposed to offer your feet and ankles a great amount of support as you are moving about. There's no point in keeping them if your feet are sore, your ankles ache and your toes feel like they are feeling a lot of friction. All of these point to a new pair of sneakers that need to be purchased as soon as possible.


When it comes to detergents, Reader's Digest helpfully featured an article entitled "The Safest Laundry Detergents You Can Use" that covers all the important bases. It talks about detergents that are good for your health as well as the environment. When it comes to the kind of laundry that you use, how long have you had the same box or bottle? If it's more than six months to a year, HuffPost says that it's time to get yourself some more.

The issue isn't so much that they "expire" as the ingredients in them lose their potency. And since no one wants to wash their clothes in detergent that they aren't sure will get their items clean, if yours has been sitting around since this time last year, make sure to pick some more up, the next time you're at the grocery store — just to be on the safer side of things.


If you happen to have a clear bottle of foundation in your bedroom or bathroom, pull it out and look at it for a couple of seconds — does there seem to be some liquid that's floating above the rest of the color? If so, that's a telltale sign that your foundation has definitely seen some better days. According to Health, foundation shouldn't separate, clump up or give you a hard time as you're trying to apply it. If it does, it's not going to give you the natural-looking end result that you're probably after.

That's why it's best to replace your foundation every 12 months. If it's in a non-glass container, you can probably get a few more months out of it. Also, Allure says that you can keep a new unopened container of foundation for up to two years. Bottom line here, if the foundation isn't going on effortlessly whenever you apply it, something is wrong. Buying a new bottle should correct the problem.


Shape states that you should get a new tube of mascara every 2-3 months. Sure, that might seem a bit excessive on the surface, but when you think about how fragile — and necessary — your eyes are, it's important that you do everything in your power to protect them. And so, if you happen to notice that your mascara is clumping up, flaking or it's hard to get some wetness out of it, that's your cue that you should toss one tube and swap it out for another.

And here's the thing — since there are a lot of drugstore brands of mascara that are just as good (if not better) than many of the department store options, it shouldn't be too stressful to let your old tube go. Better to throw it away and avoid irritated eyes than to hold onto it forever and end up with some type of an eye infection because of the excess bacteria that's been lingering in your old mascara all this time.

Lipstick and Lip Gloss

We all have a favorite tube of lipstick or lip gloss. It might be because of the brand. It might be because of the color. But until we can get every last bit of use out of it, we will keep it hanging around. Better Homes & Gardens did an article on make-up and its shelf life that totally challenges this resolve.

When it comes to lip color specifically, it says that it shouldn't hang around in your make-up drawer for any longer than half a year (six months). The reason why makes a lot of sense too. Rita Linkner, M.D., of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City, stated that if your lips tend to get chapped or irritated a lot, that could result in bacteria spreading and, "The lip makeup can harbor those microorganisms and reinfect the skin if you're not careful." You want healthy lips underneath your favorite hue so, six months it is.

Nail Polish

If when you go to your favorite nail salon, you look over the bottles of nail polish and find yourself wanting to ask, "How long has this bottle been sitting here?", you have every right to do so. Believe it or not, polish also has an expiration date — if it hasn't been open, 5-8 years; however, if it has, it needs to be replaced within a couple of years.

Amy Ling Lin, the founder of the non-toxic nail care brand, Sundays shared with Southern Living, "Over time the polish will thicken, which can make it challenging to apply." There's also a pretty good chance that some debris can get into bottles that have been used over and over again too.

Nail polish is supposed to glide onto your nails, smoothly and easily. If the exact opposite is what's happening to you, instead of pouring nail polish remover into the bottles to thin the polish out, just go with a new bottle. The quality will be much better if you do.


According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the two main reasons why everyone needs sunscreen are it helps to protect skin from damaging skin rays and it can slow down the aging process of the skin. As far as the kind that you should use, if you don't tend to spend a lot of time in the sun, an SPF of 15 or more is fine; however, if you're planning on spending a couple of hours outdoors, go for a bottle that has an SPF of 30 and is water-resistant too.

And when is it time to get more sunscreen? Does the bottle that you kept from last summer suffice? According to Mayo Clinic, the answer actually would be "yes" because sunscreen is able to maintain its potency for about three years or so. Just make sure that you keep yours stored in a cool dry place when you're indoors and wrapped up in a towel when you're outside. Ironically, the less heat and light that sunscreen comes into direct contact with, the better.


Do you have a bottle of perfume that's been in your possession for so long that you have absolutely no memory of when you purchased it or even where you got it from? If so, keep reading because even perfume has an expiration date. According to Byrdie, a lot of fragrance companies will say that you should get a new bottle of your favorite fragrance every 1-3 years.

Is this a hard rule? Sometimes your perfume can make it to five years. The way that you gauge is you check to see if it's as potent as it was when you first bought it. Also, the article shares that a change in the color of your perfume can be quite telling too (if it gets darker over time, it's expiring).

So, what if your perfume is super expensive and your budget is tight? Keeping it stored in a dry cool place can extend its time in your possession. Still, if it's been more than a decade, it's time to start saving up. Past time, to tell you the truth.


Without a doubt, toothbrushes are necessary — not just when it comes to maintaining your oral health but your health overall (via WebMD). That's why, if there is anything that you should take both seriously and literally when it comes to this list of items that need to be replaced when experts say so, it should definitely be your toothbrush!

Just think about it. It's the tool that you use to remove food, plaque, and all other sorts of gunk from your teeth. And just how often should you peruse your local grocery or drugstore to get another toothbrush? Healthline says that if you brush your teeth twice a day (and hopefully you do), your toothbrush will be showing clear signs of wear and tear after about the third month (the same goes for the head on your electronic toothbrush, by the way).

In the meantime, take care of your toothbrush by not sharing it, rinsing it in tap water (using a sanitizer that others in the house use can spread germs), and putting it in a closed container. Otherwise, tiny particles can get on the brush — which kind of defeats the point of using it.


If there are any companies that're probably making a mint, it would be the ones that sell disposable razors. That said, guess how often the American Academy of Dermatology says that you should replace the one that you are currently using: every 5-7 shaves. Yep, at the end of the day, you shouldn't let one week go by without throwing away one razor and reaching in the package to pull out another.

While we're on this topic, you also need to make sure to clean your razor thoroughly after every use. L'Oreal's site shares that it's important to keep in mind that between the water and the blade gliding across your skin, your pores are open and there may be little nicks on your body. For this reason, you want to make sure that you're proactive about keeping as much bacteria as possible out of your system. Clean razors can help to make that happen. Drugstore shopping, anyone?