It’s a fact of life that somewhere, somehow, you’ve probably forgotten about some household item or cleaning product. Maybe you’re wondering if that hand sanitizer that’s been buried in the junk drawer is still good. The answer might surprise you.
As it turns out, there are a number of household products with expiration dates you might not know about. If you’re the type of person to stockpile items when you find a good deal, you’ll probably want to keep these expiration dates in mind before you buy a lifetime shampoo supply.
If you wear mascara, you’ve probably heard that you should swap it out every 3 months. But what about other bathroom essentials? Body washes and cleansers will last about 2 years unopened, while shampoo and conditioner will last about 3 years. Deodorant and bar soap will also last about 3 years.
Over time, cleaning solutions can degrade and become less effective. The plastic containers they come in can also expire, leaving you with a potentially dangerous situation. In general, it’s best to use laundry detergent within 6 to 12 months. Use fabric softener, antibacterial and multisurface cleaners, and dish soap within 1 year.
If you use bleach for cleaning, keep in mind that once it’s diluted it doesn’t remain effective for very long. You’re better off mixing it fresh every time. Additionally, even if bleach is kept in its original bottle, it can start to degrade after only six months.
Most batteries actually do have an expiration date, so don’t just toss the packaging. Most will have the best by date printed toward the top. If you keep batteries past that date, they may still work in a pinch, but their performance probably won’t match that of a fresh set.
Self-defense sprays also typically have an expiration date printed somewhere on the canister. You’ll definitely want to mind this date, as these sprays lose their pressurization after time. You definitely don’t want to find out your spray doesn’t work when you need it the most.
Check for an expiration date on the label, as many sanitizers have a set expiration. Generally, though, these products are good for between one and three years. After that, though, it’s unclear whether they maintain their effectiveness. You’re probably better off just replacing that bottle that’s been sitting in your purse since gosh-knows-when.