You know that the cosmetics in your makeup bag aren’t good forever, and it’s unlikely you’d be willing to eat anything that’s been lurking at the back of your fridge for a year. But those aren’t the only products you own that need to be replaced on a regular basis—your cleaning supplies do, too.
Before you reuse that dingy mop head or wipe down your counters with another bacteria-laden sponge, find out just how often you should be replacing all of your essential cleaning supplies.
Those dirty dish sponges sitting around the edge of your sink are seriously gross—they may even be harboring dangerous bacteria like E. coli and salmonella—so it’s essential to replace them on a regular basis.
“When it comes to your sponges and scourers, these should be added to your grocery list and be changed every single week,” says Henry Paterson, operations executive at Housekeep, a London-based house cleaning company. “This not only keeps your kitchen sanitary, but ensures that the sponges stay effective for removing grease and dirt from your crockery.”
Traditional Mop Heads
Dipping that mop into dirty water over and over again means it can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria—one you’ll definitely want to replace frequently. “Mop heads can get pretty mucky with time and use. It may sound excessive, but these should be changed after a couple of months, assuming they’re getting the regular use that they ought to be,” says Paterson.
In the meanwhile, he suggests, “thoroughly wash, rinse, and wring dry after every use” to ensure they last as long as possible.
Those old rags you’ve been using to wipe down everything from your floors to your electronics? Yeah, they need a thorough cleaning, too. “Damp cloths are a breeding ground for mildew growth,” says Sean Parry, a cleaning expert at U.K.-based house cleaning company Neat Services.
“The most important thing…is that they’re washed regularly, particularly if they’re being used daily.” He adds that “they should also be hung and air dried when not being used to minimize the unpleasant damp smell.”
Those gloves you put on before cleaning your dishes or scrubbing your toilet (hopefully not the same pair!) can last you quite a while, but if they’re looking worse for wear, it’s time to ditch them for good. “Cleaning gloves should be ideally washed after each use, but again, only need to be replaced once they show signs of degradation,” says Parry.
Plastic Scrub Brushes
Considering how much grime they remove, those plastic scrub brushes can actually last you quite a while. “Plastic brushes used in tub, kitchen, and toilet scrubbers tend to be more durable than cloths and sponges,” Parry says. “Wash it every week or so, and you’ll only need to replace once the brush starts to degrade. Usually how quickly they degrade is based on how often and vigorously they’re used.”