From hand towels to kitchen sponges, there are so many common household essentials that need replacing quite regularly. For the products that don’t have clear expiration dates, it can be tricky to know how long to hang on to them. Take toothbrushes, for example. If they’re old and frayed, should you chuck them out? Or will they do it for a couple more weeks? Brushing your teeth is an essential part of our day-to-day routine, so cleaning them with a worn-out brush probably won’t give you a sparkly smile. According to Public Health England, individuals should replace their toothbrushes every one to three months.

But when should you replace the other essentials within your home? Read on to find out.

Your kitchen sponges

The sponges used to clean your dishes tend to be wet, warm and covered in food particles – because of this, they should be replaced regularly. If you’re using them often, you should aim to change your sponge to a fresh one after a week, but if you tend to eat out regularly, this essential item can last between two to four weeks before it needs replacing. Because they can pick up all kinds of bacteria, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Your bath towels

You’ll know when it’s time to get new bath towels, because they will have lost a huge amount of their absorbency, will be flattened, or even fraying around the edges. They may also lose a lot of their softness. Instead of throwing them away completely, you could always choose to use them as cleaning rags.

Your chopping boards

According to the Global Hygiene Council, your chopping board has approximately 200% more bacteria on it than a toilet seat. Because bacteria are invisible, you won’t be aware of the contamination taking place. To prevent this contamination, you could choose to color-code your chopping boards according to whether you are preparing raw meat, fish or vegetables. After you have finished using these items, ensure that you scrub them in hot water to sterilize them, or pop them in the dishwasher if it is safe to do so.

Your pillows

Most of us hang on to pillows far longer than we should. What we tend to forget is that they attract dust mites, which feed on the flakes of human skin we shed each day. Your pillow could also be giving you acne, as it collects dirt and oil, so ensure that you keep a protector on it at all times. Wash your pillowcase at least once a week, and replace your pillow every couple of years.

Before going out and buying the above in bulk to replace all your old items, ensure that you have carefully budgeted for all these new household items.