January Safety Tip

Things You Should Consider Throwing Away for Better Health

Old plastic containers

Go through your collection of food-storage containers and toss anything made of clear, rigid plastic, and stamped with a 7 or “pc” (stands for polycarbonate). Glass is safer in general.

Air fresheners

“These products are simply chemical perfumes that you put in the air,” says Lunder, who argues that it’s much healthier to take care of the root cause of a smell than mask it with chemicals.

Antibacterial soap

Antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing bacteria than the regular stuff— and they may not be safe.

Your stash of diet soda

If you haven’t already, you may want to reconsider your diet soda habit, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Researchers found a link between these sweeteners, altered gut microbes, glucose intolerance and metabolic syndrome (both precursors to Type 2 diabetes) in mice and humans.

Old running shoes

Most running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 400 miles.

Frayed toothbrush

If you’re brushing in the morning and the evening like you’re supposed to, then your toothbrush bristles are probably becoming frayed and worn faster than you realize. Replace your toothbrush about every two months.


Not sure where to start? Toss things that annoy you every time you see them, like socks that have lost their match, or your overflowing kitchen junk drawer.

Clothes you don’t wear anymore

Take a peek in your closet. How many items have you not worn within the last year?

Leftovers lingering in the fridge

When it comes to highly perishable food that contains animal ingredients, the rule of thumb is to eat, toss, or freeze after three days.

Old mascara

Liquid makeup, including mascara, can harbor a lot of germs. That’s why he recommends throwing tubes away two to three months after opening.

Dirty contact lens case

“Using a dirty lens case is one of the primary risk factors for getting eye infections,” says Dr. Steinemann, who recommends replacing you lens case at least every three months, as well as cleaning, air-drying facedown, and using fresh solution daily.

Stale spices

Spices that have been hanging out in your cabinets for years probably won’t make you sick —but they won’t add any flavor to your food.

Old sunscreen

When it comes to sunscreen, the expiration date really does matter.

Musty, clogged air filters

If you have an air purifier at home, you get a gold star. One telltale sign it needs to be tossed is a musty smell.

Your kitchen sponge

Studies show the kitchen sponge is the germiest thing in the average American household.

Plastic cutting boards

Slicing and dicing on plastic cutting boards scores the surface. Once bacteria get into these tiny grooves and begin to grow, they can be very difficult to get rid of.

Smart devices

You don’t need to toss your Smart phone but you should definitely unplug from time to time. Mounting research indicates that information overload what happens when you use smart devices constantly—is linked to depression and anxiety.

Your chair

Global studies show that the average person sits 7.7 hours a day, and some estimate people sit up to 15 hours a day. The American Medical Association recommends switching to a standing desk for work as an excellent way to combat the health issues associated with too much sitting.