How long is too long to hold onto items in your bathroom? Whether it’s a toothbrush or razor, we’ve all held on to items longer than we know we should have, most often out of convenience. Here’s a guide to help you determine when various items in your bathroom should be purged or repurposed and why.

Toothbrush

Experts say its important to replace your toothbrush every month. According to dentists across the country, many people keep their toothbrushes longer than the recommended 30 days.  We often wait until the bristles start to splay before we replace it, making our toothbrush less capable of removing plaque. A combination of wear and tear and poor toothbrush maintenance can also cause a large build-up of bacteria, which can lead to possible infections. Instead of throwing away your toothbrush, why not repurpose it for cleaning tasks around your home. Make sure to soak your toothbrush in bacterial mouth wash for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly, before you use it to clean your home. This will prevent the transfer of germs.

Bath Towels

After two years, bath towels become less absorbent and therefore should be replaced. To keep your towels clean in the meantime, and to avoid the build-up of bacteria, bath towels should be laundered after three to four uses. Instead of tossing old bath towels, why not repurpose them? Towels that have lost their luster can be used as rags for those extra dirty cleaning jobs, or even for cleaning up after your pets! Throw an old towel in the back seat of your car to protect your car seats after a muddy walk in the woods. Or simply stash one near the back door to wipe your dog’s feet before they come inside.

Loofah

Experts say to replace your loofah after 15 uses. More often than not, we tend to keep our loofahs longer than we should. The purpose of a loofah is to clean and exfoliate your skin, and therefore, it is likely that bacteria and dead skin cells will build-up on your loofah over time.  To increase longevity, purchase a mesh loofah, as they are more resistant to bacteria.

Chap Stick

Many people have a collection of chap stick scattered throughout our home, especially during the winter. According to the experts, chap stick actually last a lot longer than you may think; up to 2-3 years. Some chap stick brands print an expiry date on the label, but if you’re unsure of when you purchased your chap stick, a quick examination should do the trick. As long as it doesn’t look or smell funny, it should be safe to use. If you think you’ve had it for longer than 2-3 years, its best to replace it as it may contain bacteria and fungus, which can develop on old chap stick over time.

Disposable Razor

The shelf life of your disposable razor depends on how often you use it. Razor manufacturers advise consumers to replace their disposable razors anywhere from 5-10 shaves. If your razor becomes dull or appears rusted prior to 5-10 shaves, it is important to replace it immediately to avoid any health risks or infections. To keep your disposable razor in good condition, and extend its lifespan, remove your razor from the shower and let it air dry. Keeping your razor in a wet environment will increase the accumulation of bacteria.