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When to Throw It Away: From Pillows to Mattresses to Rugs & Other Household Items


When one day you realize that you can barely stay on your mattress without rolling off the edge or plunging into the soft spot in the middle, this may cross your mind: is it time for a new one?


Keep reading to find out the ultimate test to determine if your pillow needs to be replaced.

The same goes for pillows that are so flat it takes two or three to get to the right height, or rugs that have such deep wear patterns the floor underneath shows right through.

But things are not always this black and white, and besides, we tend to get attached to our household items and delay parting with our favorite ones, even if they are "lovingly" worn.

As a result, most of us hold on to things much longer than we should, perhaps to the detriment of our sleep and general quality of life. Here, once and for all, we have ended the mystery of how long is too long to keep certain household items, and given concrete recommendations of when it's time to replace them.

Your Mattress

How long your mattress will last depends to some extent on you and your sleeping partner. Your weight and your sleeping habits all play a part. Meanwhile, most people tend to require a more supportive, comfortable mattress as they get older, meaning you may need to replace your mattress more frequently as you age.

Looking for the Ultimate in Long-Lasting Rugs?

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Learn Which Mats to Avoid, Why the Grand Premiers are Superior

Generally speaking, though, the normal lifespan of a mattress is five to seven years, according to the Better Sleep Council.

They say, "In general, a mattress set that has been in use 5-7 years is no longer providing you with the best comfort and support."

They also point out that since mattress technology is constantly advancing, you may want to visit a mattress store more often than that to see whether a newer mattress could help you get a better night's sleep.

Often, it does just the trick. About 87 percent of people who purchase a new mattress say they are satisfied with their choice and its impact on their quality of sleep, the Better Sleep Council reports.

If you're in that 5-7 year timeframe, how do you know it's time to start looking for a new mattress?

According to The Better Sleep Council, "A good rule of thumb is to assess the condition of the mattress at least twice a year. If you're regularly waking up feeling stiff and sore after a good night's sleep, it may be time for a new mattress."

Your Pillows

Most experts say two years is the magic number when it comes to pillows. After this length of time, the weight of you sleeping on them can make them flat, bumpy and uncomfortable. Pillows also harbor bacteria, mildew and fungus that can increase over time and cause trouble for people with asthma and allergies (washing your pillow will help with this).

If you're not sure your pillow needs replacing, here is the ultimate test: fold it in half. If it says folded, it's time for a new one.

Your Rugs and Carpeting

Generally speaking, carpeting lasts five to 15 years, depending on its quality. But there is much room for interpretation, especially when it comes to area rugs. Those in highly trafficked areas may need to be replaced much sooner if they show evidence of wear or staining. Meanwhile, high-quality area rugs, such as some oriental rugs, can last a lifetime.

brushing your teeth

If your toothbrush bristles look frayed, they're no longer cleaning your teeth as well.

Your Toothbrush

How quickly your toothbrush wears out depends partly on your brushing style, but once the bristles become frayed and worn, they don't clean your teeth as well. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush if it's worn, and at least every three to four months. They also point out that children's toothbrushes often need to be replaced more frequently than adult toothbrushes.

Your Fire Extinguisher and Smoke Alarms

Fire extinguishers do not last forever. In fact, their contents lose pressure over time, meaning if they're too old they won't work when you need them. Experts recommend replacing fire extinguishers every 10-12 years, and also if they show signs of corrosion, which is a signal that air is leaking out.

Smoke alarms, meanwhile, wear out over time due to stress on their sensors (from typical particles in the air such as pet dander and pollen). After it's worn out, it may either go off all the time or not go off at all. To be on the safe side, experts recommend replacing your smoke alarm after 10 years.

Recommended Reading

How Long Before Different Refrigerated Foods Spoil (& Other Secrets to Your Refrigerator)

You are Burying Your Face in a Hot Zone for Fungal Spores Every Night: Your Pillow


The Better Sleep Council

The American Dental Association

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