Trash these items today for better health and wellness

Have some of your products been around so long that they've turned into a breeding ground for bacteria? Here are some things you may want to bid farewell to.

When we talk about what to do to improve our health and wellness, it often involves accumulating new things – whether it's the latest exercise equipment, a fitness tracker or superfoods. But sometimes, it's just as important to purge things for the sake of wellness. Here are some things you may want to consider trashing for better health.

Frayed toothbrushes

Old toothbrushes simply aren't as effective at cleaning your teeth. So you're actually putting your oral hygiene at risk by neglecting to switch up your brush. Old brushes can also be a breeding ground for bacteria – one that you're putting in your mouth two to three times a day!

As your toothbrush gets more frayed, you may also find yourself brushing harder to compensate for the old toothbrush which can damage your gums, wear your enamel and increase tooth sensitivity.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months so you shouldn't even be waiting until your bristles get busted to bin your brush. If you're having trouble remembering when to switch it up, think of getting a new toothbrush with the changing of a new season. And if you want to give your brush a good cleaning in between changes, give it a soak once a week in mouthwash – the antibacterial properties of the mouthwash will help keep the germs at bay.

Old bras

An old bra isn't just a fashion crime, it could also impact your health! Bras have a lifespan and when you continue to wear one past its expiration date, you simply aren't getting the same support. This can put you at risk, not only for sagging, but for back problems as well.

Most bras last about six months to a year. Washing your bra in the washing machine can speed up that expiration date. We have a helpful way to tell if your bra should hit the bin: if you were once using the first clasp on the bra and find yourself having to use the third clasp to get the same support – it might be time to bid your bra farewell.

Scented candles

Who doesn't love to kick back and relax with a few scented candles, right? But while scented candles may be soothing, they may also be toxic.

Paraffin is the major ingredient in most conventional candles and is a sludge waste product from the petroleum industry. It releases carcinogenic chemicals when burned. The soot/fumes are similar to that released from a diesel engine and can be as dangerous as second-hand cigarette smoke. This can contribute to serious respiratory issues, like asthma.

The Environmental Protection Agency in the US warns against the scented chemicals benzene, ketones and toluene, which are found in the sooty residue from burning candles. Benzene is cancer-causing and toluene can affect the central nervous system. 

However, there's no definitive ruling on this, and scented candles certainly aren't banned. Just because they're expensive, doesn't mean they don't release chemicals – so just be mindful of the ingredients. So, just do your research and know the ingredients in your candles. If you're concerned, opt for beeswax, hemp oil, soy, or coconut wax candles as they're believed to be the safest!

Old kitchen sponges

Kitchen sponges are the dirtiest thing in your home – because people rarely wash and dry them. There can be up to 10 million bacteria per square inch of a kitchen sponge making them dirtier than your trash can and even dirtier than your toilet!

Sponges are a moist breeding ground for bacteria and if you use them to clean food off dishes, or wipe down after food prep they can carry nasty bacteria like salmonella, E.coli and listeria. So, that bacteria is lurking even though your dishes look clean. The best sanitizing agent for cleaning your sponges is a chlorine bleach/water solution once a week. And make sure to replace those sponges every 30 days!

Hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap

It's common for anti-bacterial items like soap or hand sanitizer to contain the ingredient triclosan. The Food and Drug Administration in the United States believes triclosan can be harmful – that it can cause bacterial resistance and even hormone problems. In fact, the FDA announced back in September that triclosan must be removed from all anti-bacterial products within the year.

However, Health Canada hasn't followed suit and stated that there's no definitive proof, so triclosan is still permitted for now – although it says it will continue to investigate. But just to be on the safe side, maybe don't wait for an all-out ban. Be progressive and trash these items!

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