When To Throw It Away

YOUR MATTRESS — How long your mattress will last depends to some extent on you and your sleeping partner. Your weight and your sleeping habits all play a part. Generally speaking, though, the normal lifespan of a mattress is five to seven years, according to the Better Sleep Council.

YOUR PILLOWS — Most experts say two years is the magic number when it comes to pillows. After this length of time, the weight of you sleeping on them can make them flat, bumpy and uncomfortable. Pillows also harbor bacteria, mildew and fungus that can increase over time and cause trouble for people with asthma and allergies (washing your pillow will help with this).

YOUR RUGS AND CARPETING — Generally speaking, carpeting lasts five to 15 years, depending on its quality. But there is much room for interpretation, especially when it comes to area rugs. Those in highly trafficked areas may need to be replaced much sooner if they show evidence of wear or staining. Meanwhile, high-quality area rugs, such as some oriental rugs, can last a lifetime.

YOUR TOOTHBRUSH — How quickly your toothbrush wears out depends partly on your brushing style, but once the bristles become frayed and worn, they don’t clean your teeth as well. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush if it’s worn, and at least every three to four months. They also point out that children’s toothbrushes often need to be replaced more frequently than adult toothbrushes.