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Most of us forget to clean household beauty items we use every day, but a little extra elbow grease goes a long way in ensuring better hygiene and clearer skin. Read on to discover the why, how, and how often of getting your beauty tools up to code—and treat yourself to less breakouts and allergies.

1. Your toothbrush

Why: If you’ve been sick recently, it’s time to disinfect your toothbrush in order to bid adieu to any illness-related germs. Likewise if you share toothpaste in your household, which, if your and others’ brush touches the toothpaste tube, is like playing tonsil hockey with whoever used the paste last. Gross!

How: Toss your brush, throw it in the dishwasher, or boil it for five minutes. Or, if you’re using a more pricey electric brush, pop the head in the microwave for 10 seconds to zap bacteria.

How often: Sanitize your toothbrush every few weeks and completely replace your brush about every three months, or as soon as the bristles have begun to fray or remain bent as a result of use.

2. Your Hairbrush

Why: You know all that oil, dandruff, and hair product that you wash out of your hair every (or every other) day? Well, all that debris stays on your hairbrush unless you clean it. If you don’t, every time you use your hairbrush you are depositing all that grime right back onto your clean hair, making your hair dirtier faster.

How: Remove hair from the brush with a comb and dispose of it in the trash, or get crazy and use that bundle of hair as an all natural bump-it. Once the hair’s been recycled or tossed, load your hairbrush into the flatware tray in your dishwasher. Fill with dishes, start the cycle, walk away, and come back to unload a like-new hair-care tool!

How often: Wash it once a month or whenever the collection of stray hair becomes noticeable and distracting.

3. Your Makeup Brushes

Why: Dust, old makeup, and other environmental deposits that would make your dermatologist cringe build up on makeup brushes, and then you slap all that stuff right onto your skin every time you apply your makeup. Good skin means keeping makeup brushes in pristine condition.

How: We like spraying Sephora’s anti-bacterial Daily Brush Cleaner ($6-$14) directly onto our brushes and then wiping off excess liquid onto paper towels. (Swirl kabuki brushes in circles and wipe off eyeshadow brushes like you’re painting.) Be careful not to slam brushes into towels head on, which deforms the brushes’ intended shape. Or fill your sink with water, hand wash your brushes with shampoo, and be in awe of how much junk comes off on paper towels and in the sink. Lay brushes out on a clean towel overnight and they’ll be good to go in the morning when you’re ready to put your face on!

How often: Freshen up makeup brushes as obsessively as every evening, or as often as once a week to ensure your skin is receiving the best treatment possible.

4. Your Pillow Cases

Why: All of that night cream, and—heaven forbid—makeup that you forgot to wash off piles up on top of sweat, dust, and dirt to create an unhealthy combination of no-nos on your pillowcase every single night. Fresh pillowcases mean a fresher looking face because bacteria can cause acne.

How: This is what washing machines were invented for.

How often: Dermatologists recommend replacing your pillowcase nightly. If that sounds like a hassle or an insane water bill and you’re more prone to bacteria-caused acne, put a large T-shirt over your pillowcase and get four nights out of it. Simply turn the pillow over, turn it inside out, and turn it over again. If you’re not worried about your skin, be sure to at least refresh your case once a week along with your bed sheets.

Tip: Satin and silk cases are better for your skin than cotton ones because they help keep skin hydrated, among other benefits (like taming frightening bed head).

5. Your Pillow

Why: It makes sense to toss your pillowcase into the washer because your face makes direct contact with it each night. What you might be forgetting also needs a little TLC is your pillow. Sweat turns pillows yellow over time and dust mites—well I’ll let your imagine run wild with the dangers of shacking up with mites.

How: Read the tag on your pillow and if possible, toss it in the washing machine. Lay it outside on a clean towel on a sunny day to dry. Drop off down pillows at the dry cleaner to ensure they’re handled correctly.

How often: Wash pillows at least four times every year, and consider replacing them entirely each year.

Go forth towards a more sanitary lifestyle and enjoy your freshly spruced beauty items!