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Common household products you didn’t know have 'expiry dates'

Foods aren’t the only thing in your home with a shelf life. Here are other products that have a use-by date. Hint: You may want to think twice about that toothbrush you’re using.

Common household products you didn’t know have 'expiry dates'

From house slippers to your little one's car seat, it's not just food that has a use-by date. (Photo: Unsplash/Jomjakkapat Parreung)

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SINGAPORE: Everyone takes care not to eat foods past their use-by date as they don’t want to get sick.

Yet, many people are not aware that beyond the food we consume, certain everyday items we use around the house also have expiry dates.

From the house slippers you use daily to your little one’s car seat, it is common practice to only buy new items to replace our worn-out old ones.

However, this is not only unhygienic, it can actually harm us. So, here is a list of things around your house you may not know has a use-by date.

(Photo: Unsplash/Denny Muller)


Even with frequent washing, you should get new towels every one to three years as towels are often damp and are susceptible to growth of bacteria.


Most of us probably don’t use our toothbrushes for an extended period of time, but we actually need to throw these out every three months to prevent gum damage. Also, if you’ve fallen ill, replace the toothbrush, so you won’t risk catching the disease again.

(Photo: Unsplash/Alex)


Change sponges every two weeks. This is because sponges are usually soaked with water, making it a suitable place for fungus and mould to thrive.


Unless otherwise stated, bar soaps typically last up to three years, although you’ll probably finish using yours long before it expires. You’ll be able to tell that it’s probably time to replace your bar soap when you see cracks on the soap.

(Photo: Unsplash/Kristina Balic)


Your hairbrush could be full of germs, so change them every year. Also, make sure you clean it weekly.

6. BRA

While many of us are probably guilty of using the same bras until they wear out, you should replace them every one to two years, when they begin to lose their shape and support.

(Photo: Unsplash/Jess Watters)


How long a perfume lasts varies, but if it starts to smell different or the colour changes, stop using it. Typically, perfumes with essential oils last two to three years.


You should get your tot a new pacifier every two months, or even earlier. Also, if it has any cracks, replace it immediately ― germs may grow in these and you certainly wouldn’t want that anywhere near your little one!


Many of us use our house slippers for years, but did you know that your favourite furry slip-ons can spread germs and cause a fungal infection. So, besides washing frequently, make sure to replace them every six months.

(Photo: Unsplash/Nik Lanus)


Change your pillows every two to three years, as it is bound to become misshapen, which might lead back and neck pains. Dust mites might also make your pillow their home.


While this kitchen utensil seems to be able to last, discard your wooden spoons after five years, or if they have any soft spots, cracks or discoloration. As wood is a porous material that easily absorbs moisture, your trusty wooden spoon may be housing bacteria.

(Photo: Unsplash/Ryan Christodoulou)


In tropical Singapore, many of us probably use mosquito repellent when we go outdoors, such as for hikes or picnics ― although not frequently. This means that we may be using the same bottle of repellent over many years. Do replace mosquito repellent as well as bug sprays every two years as these will become ineffective over time.


While this varies based on the brand, do replace car seats every six to 10 years. Because its foam and plastic will begin to wear, this means that it won’t be able to protect your tot.


Disinfectants last about three months before their effectiveness drops, so make sure to finish the contents before their expiry date.

(Illustration: Smart Parents/Syahirah Maszaid)

This article first appeared in Smart Parents.