In light of current events, cleaning has taken on new importance. We are all washing hands and scouring countertops like our lives depend on it. Because hello, they do! But what if the products we thought were helping keep us safe aren’t actually doing their job?

It is entirely too likely that the cleaning supplies we’re depending on to banish bacteria and germs are no longer useful (or as useful) as we think. Why? Because cleaning supplies, like nearly all products, have an expiration date. When you are using an expired product, the effectiveness is severely diminished, if not eliminated altogether.

The following are the six cleaning staples folks often hang onto long past their expiration date. You’ll want to check these items and likely replace them.

6 Cleaning Supplies that Should Likely be Replaced Right Now

Hydrogen Peroxide 

Hydrogen peroxide is a common nontoxic disinfectant. It is often used in the kitchen and bathroom to kill germs and bacteria. Unfortunately, it loses its antibacterial properties over time. This is particularly true if it has been exposed to light.

You want to check the expiration date on your hydrogen peroxide. If it is expired, it is time to toss it and replace. Also, consider how the bottle has been stored. While it comes in a dark bottle, if it has been stored in a brightly lit space, this can make the compounds breakdown faster. Another thing to consider is how long the bottle has been open. While it may not be near its expiration date, it starts to breakdown as soon as it is open. While it may still be shelf-stable, it won’t be as effective as it was when first opened.

Feather Dusters

The idea behind a feather duster is great — it helps you dust hard to reach areas. In practicality, feather dusters (or rainbow dusters) are an outdated tool that should be tossed. Rather than helping you clean, they actually just move dirt and dust around.

Give your feather duster an upgrade by trading it in for a Swiffer duster, which features a microfiber cloth that the dust can cling to. That being said, you will want to do a deep clean from time-to-time with an all-purpose cleaner.

Your Toilet Bowl Brush

Cleaning the toilet bowl is something most of us think about any time we consider cleaning the house. However, the toilet bowl brush is often overlooked. The problem is, that thing can become GROSS in a hurry. And suddenly, you are hanging onto a bacteria breading ground.

Luckily, you can avoid this. After you have cleaning your toilet, spray your toilet bowl brush with bleach, rinse is clean, and allow it to dry before you put it away.

Disinfectant Spray and Wipes

Your disinfectant sprays and wipes don’t last forever. They are typically good for one year or two. Take a look at what you have on hand. If it says on the bottle that has expired, toss them and replace them. The last thing you want is to think you have sanitized something and have just moved germs around.

If you aren’t able to replace the wipes and spray, use soap and warm water to wash surfaces. This is always a good option on which you can rely.

Handheld Vacuum

A handheld vacuum can make cleaning up small messes a breeze. Unfortunately, these small babies are often not very sanitary — turning into dust traps loaded with bacteria and debris from years past.

Regularly clean out your vacuum to help limit this build up. Additionally, vacuums aren’t designed to last forever. You will need to replace it eventually — especially if you notice signs of wear on the plug or cord.

String Mops

Like your feather duster, your string mop is a bacteria magnet. It is inefficient, unsanitary and should be tossed. The fabric strings are next to impossible to clean. Plus, once they get wet, they attract even more grossness. Upgrade your old string mob to a microfiber alternative that can be slipped off and washed in the washing machine.

Additional Cleaning Tips to consider

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