No matter how often you clean your home, it is still a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and even viruses. There are about 9,000 species of germs in the average home, and areas more prone to moisture — such as the kitchen and bathroom — can be especially dirty.
The items we accumulate also play a role in how and where germs decide to colonize, which is why we need to replace many common household goods regularly. Unfortunately, even big ticket purchases like mattresses and refrigerators have a limited lifespan. Improper cleaning can lead to serious home issues such as mold growth, so our guide below looks at how often to replace common items based on health guidelines and expert recommendations.
We also surveyed American consumers about how often they actually swap out bacteria-laden goods such as kitchen sponges and toothbrushes. These small items leave a big germ footprint throughout our homes — kitchen sponges are dirtier than toilet seats — and it turns out that the majority of us aren’t replacing them enough.
Here’s what our survey uncovered:
- 8 in 10 Americans don't replace their kitchen sponges once a week or more, as recommended.
- More than half of Americans wait a month or more (59%) to replace kitchen sponges.
- 12% of Americans can’t remember the last time they replaced their toothbrush, and 21% wait six months or more.
If you’ve got spring cleaning on your mind, read on for more survey findings and a complete room-by-room guide to replacing your germy stuff. You can also download our checklist to keep a running tab of items to update.