50 Essential Items It’s Probably Time to Replace

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Air filters

Air filtration is often recommended for its clinical benefits, especially for people with seasonal allergies. Air filters prevent dust, pollen, dirt, and other pollutants from settling, thus reducing buildup. A poorly maintained filtration system, however, can become contaminated with dust, eventually worsening the air quality indoors. Basic air filters should be changed every three months, and every month or two if there are pets in the house. Some filters can be recycled so check with the manufacturer of your system.

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Air fresheners

Air fresheners are very common items. They seem like a quick solution to create a clean indoor atmosphere. But they contain phthalates, which are industrial chemicals used in plastics as well as in cosmetics. When inhaled, phthalates enter the bloodstream. After prolonged exposure, they may cause hormonal imbalances, birth defects, and reproductive problems.

The best way to clean the air is to open the windows or use fans to maintain air circulation.

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Antibacterial soap

The problem with antibacterial soaps is one of its main ingredients — triclosan. It is an antibacterial drug that the Food and Drug Administration banned from liquid soaps because there is evidence it may lead to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. (The ban will take effect on April 13, 2020).

Animal studies have also shown that long-term exposure to triclosan may cause thyroid problems.

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Bath mats

Bath mats are some of the most used items in the bathroom, thus they tend to collect anything from dirt to dead skin, as well as other contaminants. Wash them at least once a week and let them dry out completely. Germs and bacteria thrive in a humid environment like a bathroom.

To be on the safe side, you may want to replace them at least every two years, and preferably every few months.

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Bed sheets

Most people know they should be washing their bed sheets at least once a week. But after a while — usually about two years — bed linen fibers can start to break down and sheets may begin to tear. So before your sheets make you uncomfortable in bed, throw them out or, better still, donate them — even torn sheets can be recycled into rags or insulation.