As we head into spring cleaning season we suddenly remember all those things that should probably be washed. How long since those curtains have seen the inside of a washing machine, anyway? It's also a good time of year to take stock and think about replacing things, like say that mattress you've had since the Clinton administration.
In honor of Valentine's Day, why not take a spin around your bedroom and see what might need freshening up?
When to Toss It: 10 years
Let's start with the bed. Do you even remember how long you've had your mattress? If it's more than 10 years, according to Consumer Reports, it probably time to go shopping. Depending on the type of bed, says all-things-sleep review site Sleep Like the Dead, it could be even less time; their research shows latex mattresses last around eight years, memory foam around seven, and inner spring even less.
Consumer Reports has more bad news. If you're over 40 you can expect even less time out of a bed, since “your body tolerates less pressure as it ages,” they say.
How do you know when it's time for out with the old and in with the new? Just listen to your body. If it's “generally uncomfortable, or you’ve been waking up with back pain, it may be time for a new one,” says the National Sleep Foundation. (Or maybe you could just try these wake-up stretches!)
When to Toss Them: 1 to 2 years
And how about where you lay your weary head? The National Sleep Foundation tells us to plan on replacing pillows every year or two. Why so often? Apparently they “absorb body oil, dead skin cells, and hair,” which can “create the perfect environment for dust mites (common allergens).” They also recommend washing your pillows every six months and using a protective case between the pillow and pillowcase. How do you know when it's time for a new pillow? “Fold it in half and see if it stays that way,” they say. “If it does, it’s time for a new one.” If you spring for a quality down pillow and take good care of it, lifestyle guru Martha Stewart says you can get 10 or 15 years out of them.
If you're over 40 you can expect even less time out of a bed, since your body tolerates less pressure as it ages.
When to Toss Them: 2 years
Sheets can be a big outlay. How long should we expect them to last? It runs the gamut very much like the price does. Most people will replace them within two years, according to a bedroom poll from the National Sleep Foundation. Co-founder of Brooklinen Vicki Fulop says that sounds about right. “After regular use and wash cycles, the fibers of your bed linens can start to break down and show signs of wear and tear.” But don't tell Siri to remind you in 2020 just yet. “Having said that, it doesn't mean your sheets will all of a sudden fall apart after two years,” Fulop notes, “just that if they're starting to look and feel worn out, and you want the optimal condition and comfort for your bed, two years or so is a great time for a refresh.”
How do you know when it's time for a new pillow? Fold it in half and see if it stays that way.
Comforters and Duvets
When to Toss Them: 15 to 25 years
Luckily, we can expect comforters to last longer. “Because it doesn't have to support weight the way pillows and mattresses do,” according to Stewart, “your comforter should last 15 to 25 years if you keep it covered and air it regularly.” No way you'll remember how long you've had it? “Replace it when it begins to look limp and flat or starts leaking bits of filling,” she says.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
When to Toss It: 6 to 9 years
Many of us find that the right humidity level can help with a good night's sleep which means we may run a humidifier in the winter months and dehumidifier in the summer. But it's not just set it and forget it. Twice a year we should be checking our dehumidifier's filter for tears or damage and replacing it if necessary, according to online parts store Repair Clinic, and once a year the filter should be replaced altogether (or cleaned if that's an option). You can expect about six to nine years out of the dehumidifier itself. For humidifiers, replace the pad, filter or element yearly — once mineral deposits build up, they're difficult to remove.
Bras and Underwear
When to Toss Them: 6 months to a year
Your closet and dresser could stand a once-over, too. While your mileage may vary on clothes, from a season to forever, your underthings have a much more defined — and shorter – lifespan. Good Housekeeping recommends replacing bras and underwear every six months to a year, and sooner if they shrink, stretch, or otherwise become uncomfortable or no longer fit properly. That said, with excellent care, a really good bra — especially if you have them in rotation — can last years.
While You're Replacing Your Linens, Consider the Lighting Too
Now's a good time to think about replacing the lights in your bedroom. Not because they've gone bad, but for a better night's sleep. Look for low-watt bulbs (around 60) that filter out sleep-disrupting blue lights, says the National Sleep Foundation.
Hey, if nothing else, all this exhausting talk of housework and shopping should have you ready for a good night's sleep.