courtesy Wilson Furniture

When is it time to replace bedroom items?

By: David M. Higgins II

As we head into the end of summer/fall 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 Bush administration.

Why not take a spin around your bedroom and see what might need freshening up?

Pillows

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 quality down pillow and take good care of it, lifestyle guru Martha Stewart says you can get 10 or 15 years out of them.


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.


Mattress

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 innerspring 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!)


Sheets

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.”


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 the 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.


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.