Here’s the thing: The world is a notoriously germy place. And while most bacteria are pretty chill and don’t do you much harm—some of them you actually need—you’re still going to have to maintain some kind of regularity when it comes to the lifespan of your personal belongings. Here’s a nifty list to start you off:
1. Pillowcases and bed sheets
Whether you’re the type to shower before bed without fail, or collapse into slumber without so much as a second thought, you’re gonna need to switch pillowcases every two weeks. For every night you’re rolling around in bed, you’re sloughing off skin cells and rubbing off oil from your skin and hair on your sheets and pillows. Imagine resting your cheek on that overnight—eep, breakout alert! Be sure to wash your sheets with hot water,too. We’re not promising 99.9% effectivity, but we’ll take what we can get. (P.S. Your actual pillows need to be replaced every few months or so. It gets vile under there.)
2. Mascara wands
You probably already know you should be replacing your mascara every one or two months, regardless of how much is left. Your lashes are a breeding ground for wormlike bacteria that cause staph infection, among other nasty things. I know—it’s 2016, why haven’t we found a solution to this yet? But if your little tube of black magic is far from empty, and if we have to pry it out from your cold, dead hands before you ever consider throwing it away, then here’s an alternative: Buy a cheap set of mascara wands to get the most bang for your buck, and replace it once a week.
Okay, show of hands—how many of you actually read the back of your toothbrush’s packaging before tearing it open? Having to replace something every three months seems pretty low-maintenance—that’s a longer time than most Tinder relationships. See, toothbrushes live in your bathroom. Where you flush the toilet and send a flurry of poopy bacteria into the air. Where the moist atmosphere is a perfect incubator for viruses and whatnot. At this point I don’t know why you would need more convincing.
4. Your desktop keyboard
Your keyboard is an incubus of viral plague, just like your phone and your wallet. You can get by with a monthly deep-cleaning (where you’ll need to remove each and every key) for a long time. Rule of thumb: If you bought your keyboard two presidents ago, it’s probably time to get a new one.
5. Trash bins
Sometimes, icky liquid trash trails down the sides of our bins, and that constant buildup is nothing if not absolutely revolting. Sure, you wipe down your bin every few weeks or so, and sure, you take out the trash on an I’m-a-decent-person basis, but that doesn’t change the fact that the actual bin is in constant contact with garbage. As a general rule, be sure to disinfect your bins every time you switch garbage bags, and replace the actual bin every six months.