While most of us religiously throw away cartons of milk or sandwiches as soon as they hit their sell-by date we are far more reluctant to throw out other ageing items.
While some household items obviously need to be regularly replaced, such as toilet brushes, others you might expect to hang on to a little longer.
However, research shows that even highly expensive gadgets have a sell-by date.
From pillows that should be binned after just a couple of years to the reason why your bra should never see a birthday – here we reveal the items you should probably throw out right away.
After a long hard day at work an old reliable pair can seem like the most comforting thing in the world – it’s no wonder we’re reluctant to throw them out.
However, according Bright Side our comfy footwear is the perfect environment for spreading fungal infection.
In order to avoid the spread of infection slippers should be washed properly and as often as possible.
In addition you should look to replace them every six months to keep feet hygienic.
For many of us our hair straighteners are seen as investment piece and are not something we are looking to replace regularly.
However, similar to cosmetics the hair styling tool does not last forever, with Mamamia reporting they should, in fact, be replaced after four years.
GHD education manager Robert Kovacs is reported by Mamamia to have said old straighteners can damage your hair.
‘The condition of your hair may be affected. It can cause dry and split ends, and lack of shine,’ he said.
‘Like all electrical tools, how long they last depends on how often you use them but we would suggest no longer than four years.’
The majority of women will wait until their makeup runs out before they think about replacing it.
However, just like food cosmetics come with a sell-by date . So how can you tell if your make-up has a use by date and what it is?
Flip it over and you’ll see an open pot with a number on. This is the number of months your cosmetic will be fresh for after you’ve opened it.
Whilst foundation and concealer can last as many as 18 months and bronzers up to two years, mascaras and liquid eyeliners should be in the bin after three months.
Pillows should be replaced at least once every two or three years, according to experts.
Lisa Artis, from the Sleep Council said: ‘When they have lost their ‘loft’, or heigh, and become lumpy, discolored or misshapen they should be replaced.
‘A good pillow should hold your head in the correct alignment – that is, in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing upright with the correct posture.
‘It should also be tucked well into the neck and shoulder to support your head fully.’
Plenty of us are guilty of waiting for our toothbrushes to completely lose their shape before we think about replacing them.
However, leaving it this long could leave us prone to gum damage says Dr Amer Saeed, clinical director of Garden Square Dental in West London.
He says: ‘Dental experts recommend manual and electric brushes should be changed once a month if you suffer with bleeding gums and after three months in any case.’
‘Although you may not be able to see any damage — a combination of wear and tear and poor brush maintenance can cause a huge build up of bacteria which can lead to contamination of the gums and possible infection.’
Ask any woman and they are likely to admit that they hang on to their bras until the wire begins to pop out.
But bra experts suggest that your lingerie should never celebrate a birthday and should be replaced regularly too.
Elise Recour, General Manager for bra manufacturer Gossard: ‘This may sound extravagant, but if you are wearing a bra regularly, even if it’s high quality and you take good care of it, you will start to lose support and comfort, and the boost and uplift you bought it for will be substantially reduced after eight months or so.’
With certain pairs of running shoes costing upwards of £100 you would hope to hang on to them for a while.
Sadly though Mark Miles, head of product merchandising for Puma says that they should only be used for half a year.
He explained: ‘Although trainers don’t come with an expiry date stamped on them, we usually suggest they need replacing after they’ve been walked or run in for 500 miles,’
‘Obviously this is just a handy rule of thumb, as wear and tear will vary according to the terrain you cover, your weight and gait.’
‘Generally, this equates to six months of average wear. As trainers start to wear out, the inner lining in the sole will feel less flexible.’
It is hard to imagine that your loofah would do anything other than keep you clean but experts warn that by not regularly replacing them you pose serious health risks.
UK-based dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting advises that plastic loofahs should be replaced at least every two months in order to avoid bacterial build up.
To keep a current loofah clean, wet it and put it on a medium heat in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.
You can also try the washing machine or dishwasher. And keep the loofah in a dry place, say by an open window, rather than in the shower.
Though they don’t need replacing as regularly as bras or running shoes but wooden spoons too have an expiration date.
Wood is more porous than plastic or metal, making it more susceptible to carrying germs and bacteria, explains John Oxford, Professor of Virology at Barts and the London Hospital.
The bacteria particularly prevalent in the kitchen is E. coli, usually from raw meat or children with poor hygiene habits. This can lead to severe food poisoning.
It is recommended that the utensil is replaced after five years, but earlier if the wood cracks, or if any part becomes soft or dark, as this could mean the wood is rotting and retaining bacteria.
One hair follicle can hold 50,000 germs and your brush can contribute to this. Brushes can also collect residues of hair products which can become sticky and attract dirt.
‘We also have lots of bacteria on the skin and what may affect one person may not affect another,’ adds dermatologist Dr Andrew Wright, consultant dermatologist with Bradford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
So diseases such as impetigo, a contagious skin infection that usually produces blisters or sores on the face, neck or hands can spread from one person to another by sharing a brush.
In order to avoid these replace your brush every four years, but sooner if the bristles get damaged as these can scratch the scalp, causing potential infections to spread.
Wooden emery boards are difficult to clean, and can accumulate germs in the crevices.
If then used on a split or lifted up nail this could cause a localized infection, says Dr Andrew Wright.
And if more than one person uses a board, infection can spread from person to person. As an alternative, invest in a glass nail file, which is not porous and can be washed under very hot running water.
Therefore nail files need to be replaced after three uses if not investing in a glass one.
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Source: Daily Mail