Spring Cleaning: Things You Should Throw Away Now from Spring Cleaning: Things You Should Throw Away Now

Spring Cleaning: Things You Should Throw Away Now

Unknown dangers are prowling in your home, and you are most likely not even aware of them. Now is the time to take control. For some people just a few rites of spring are more or equally satisfying than the annual clean. The nicer weather and longer days seem to trigger an urge to organize your life. After all, spring is often referred to as the season of new beginnings. It all starts with your living space.

Old mattresses


Back pain and insomnia can both be the result of a bad or worn-out mattress. Also, bed bugs, tiny bloodthirsty insects, can be a big problem. It’s very hard to get rid of them; you’re better off throwing out the mattress and getting a new one. There have been no reported cases of bedbugs transmitting disease to humans. But the blood-sucking insects can cause anxiety and sleeplessness. Other concerns with old mattresses are mold, bacteria, and dander. (Don’t forget to wrap it in plastic.)

Bath mats


Anything from the floor increases the risk for mold and dander. It makes sense if you think about it. They are soaked after you leave the shower, providing a moist environment where mold and bacteria can thrive undisturbed. Make sure you follow the washing instructions. They usually need to be laundered once a week at a very high temperature and with bleach. Don’t wash together with bed sheets or clothes.

Old electronics and DVDs


Are you using old devices and are you watching movies on DVD’s or do you just stream them online? Declutter your home and do your body a big favor. Electronic equipment is produced with heavy metals, according to the NYC Department of Sanitation. In the future, buy electronics made with fewer hazardous chemicals. Products rated as EPEAT Gold, Silver, or Bronze meet certain product and manufacturer standards. Bonus: You can sell old electronics and DVD’s online.

Bed sheets


When was the last time you washed your sheets? Probably at least two weeks ago. You are increasing the chance of oil irritants, dander, pests, and chemical residue. Just imagine all the sweat, body oils, even saliva, and other fluids that remain…You can get an infection even if you have a scratch and go to bed to sleep in such dirty sheets. Also, the dead skin cells that you shed can attract dust mites.

Clothes that don’t fit


You may want to keep a dress or two as motivation if you need to lose weight. Other than that, clear the space. Too many clothes in the closet, after a while, begin to smell. Start with items that are too small, you don’t like anymore, or know that for whatever reason you won’t wear them again. The best way to get rid of them is donation. You may even get a tax deduction.

Juice blender


“They are an interesting case,” Bruce White, Education Committee Chair at the Indoor Air Quality Association, says. Most people don’t clean the bottom thoroughly, he adds. “It holds a gasket where bacteria actually stay.” You increase the risk of variety of health issues, White says, such as salmonella, norovirus, and listeria. The CDC issued a warning and recalled certain dairy products after several deaths. Past outbreaks have been due to listeria in raw vegetables.

Old makeup


Most common products’ shelf life is 24 months; mascara is three months. Makeup products have a lot of preservatives to keep them fresh. As time goes by, they become less effective leading to change in color and consistency of the product. Also, bacteria inside the product start to grow without the preservatives, which can damage your skin.



Unless you got a new toothbrush a month ago, throw it out. They have to be replaced at least every 3–4 months, according to American Dental Association (ADA). The bristles become frayed and worn with use and cleaning effectiveness will decrease. Check brushes often for wear and replace them more frequently if needed. Children toothbrushes need replacing more frequently than adult brushes.

Old air filters


A poorly maintained AC system can become contaminated and potentially harmful, studies suggest. Moisture-related HVAC components such as cooling coils and humidification systems may be sources of contaminants that cause adverse health effects. Findings also provide an initial suggestion that outdoor air intakes lower than 18 stories in office buildings may be associated with substantial increases in many symptoms such as worsening asthma problems and allergies.

Shower curtains


Most plastic curtains are mildew magnets. Washable fabric shower liners will last longer than plastic ones, but do you really want to bother to wash and clean them often? Besides, you’re still going to have to throw them out in about three months. People with mold/mildew allergies will probably need to replace them even more often.

Expired food products


Some items have a very long shelf life and that’s why people forget to check the expiration date. But it’s there for a reason. Products won’t work after a certain amount of time. You risk food poisoning, cramping, and vomiting.

Newspapers and magazines


People often end up in a vicious cycle of stacking newspapers and magazines because they want to read an article later. Be honest with yourself: Are you really going to get to it? Life gets in the way and you forget you even have the edition. Besides, everything is available online. If you don’t like to read on a screen, print the article when you finally have some time to read all of it. Don’t forget to recycle the paper.

Plastic containers and bags


You may have heard of the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA) found in plastics. BPA disrupts normal endocrine function, studies have shown. The chemical can have a significant impact on the brain. BPA also messes with hormones even at low doses, a University of Texas study has indicated. Don’t take a chance and switch to glass containers or stainless steel.

Scented candles


They may smell good but what you’re inhaling can really harm you. The benzene chemicals can irritate the skin and cause breathing problems. Reproductive issues and damage to the brain and central nervous system have also been listed as possible side effects, according to the EPA. As they burn, the candles release toluene, another carcinogen. Consider essential oils or soy-based candles as replacements.  

Certain paper documents


Why would you want to keep junk mail, past taxes and old bills and just accumulate clutter? The easiest solution would be to scan them. That way you have them electronically and can keep them forever. You can always print them if necessary. Less clutter means better use of space. This will help you become more organized.

Well-worn cookware


Non-stick pans and pots are very tempting but can also be harmful. This kind of cookware has been made with chemicals that can be harmful to the liver, thyroid, and immune system in general. The problem is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Toxicological studies on animals indicate potential developmental, reproductive and systemic effects, according to the EPA. Go for stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or iron pots and pans.