Household Items with An Expiration Date

Household Items with An Expiration Date

Mar 26, 2020Peter File

Everyone is aware that food does go bad - so when you are doing grocery shopping next time, better check the expiration date before buying them. Also, it would be a good idea to check your fridge and cupboard on a regular basis to get rid of food that has gone bad. However, there are also things that seemingly do not expire, but do have an expiration date...kind of. Nothing lasts forever, and everything has its own life span. We have compiled a list of items for you - perhaps you should have a look at your house after this, and replace the items accordingly.


Ah...sponges, the evilest of them all. Although everyone does try to replace them when they are falling apart, it might be better to replace them before they get to that stage. There were 362 different kinds of bacteria lurking in the crevices of sponges they collected over a period of time. When should you replace them? Preferably two weeks.

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Though vinegar seemingly lasts forever, they don’t. Okay, there is still some debate about this - given that it is opened already, it is better to either finish them or discard after the three-and-a-half-year mark; however, some people do argue that they don’t go bad. But hey, better stay on the safe side right? If you cannot finish a bottle of vinegar in three years, why not replace it? They aren’t too expensive anyway.


For people with long hair, having a hairbrush is a must - unless you are into the rugged look (still have enough time to jump on the hipster bandwagon). Though a lot of people tend to hold on to their hairbrush for years and grow emotionally attached to it, it is supposed to be something that you change on a regular basis, to avoid damaging your scalp and hair. 


No, we are not referring to the pillowcases - we are actually referring to the pillow itself. Pillow loses its shape over time, where it can lead to a bad sleep and neck pain. And apart from physical discomfort, hygiene is also a concern - unlike pillowcases where they are washable, you cannot really wash pillows sometimes, where dead skins and dust mites might be left there and lead to allergies. Depending on the material of your pillow, it's better to change them every one to three years.


Yes, laundry detergent goes bad as well. Over time it loses its effectiveness, and won’t be able to clean your clothes properly like the way they should. How long do they last? About a year unopened, and perhaps six months if opened. While not considered “expired”, it simply means that they will break down and lose their effectiveness over time.


Bleach is a useful household item everyone should have - just remember not to mix it with Ammonia-based products, and also, don’t dilute it with hot water. And yes, they can expire as well - they normally degrade after a shelf life of six months. So next time when you are cleaning your house, remember to check the date.

Bar Soap

Contrary to popular beliefs, bar soaps do go bad. Depending on the brand and the components, they will last between 18 months to three years. But depending on the way you store it as well, if you noticed they are getting dry and cracking, that’s probably a good sign for you to discard them and get some new ones. They probably have the expiration date printed on the package as well.


Yes, shampoo does expire as well. Like other products on this list, the components will degrade over time, and after a certain period of time, they are no longer effective. Again, depending on the brand and exact components, it will last for 2-3 years once opened and 3-4 years unopened.


I just realized that my flour has been there for quite some time… As it turns out, flour also has a date of expiry. And yes, normally they do have a best-before date printed on the packet. Normally, they will last from four to eight months after the printed date, depending on what kind of flour you have. While it might be hard to tell when it is bad - as a rule of thumb, if it smells bad, it’s a no go.


This one makes sense actually, and also depending on the way you use them, they can last from a year to three years. Bacteria thrive in humid well as other organisms. So the trick is to wash your towels regularly, and make sure they are dried quickly after using them.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter tends to last for some time - but they also come with an expiration date. Depending on the brand and the preservative (uhm...) they contain, they can last for months or years after the listed expiration date. But in general, just stick to the date listed on the jar, or better still, finish them as soon as you can. I mean, finishing a jar of peanut butter should be seen as an enjoyment, not an obligation.

Tea Bags

Generally speaking, tea does not go bad - they just lose flavors over time. Generally speaking, they should be fine for a year in the pantry. Therefore proper storage of tea is important if you want to have a fine cup of English Breakfast in the morning. While they do have a date stamped on the box, it is more like an expiration date for the best quality, rather than safety. If you are interested, check out the tips from the Brits.


Got some old paint lying around the house? It might be a good idea to double-check the date before using them again. It probably comes as no surprise that paints do go bad as well. Depending on the kind of paint you have, they might last for 10 to 15 years. A long time still, so you should be fine if you want to use some old paint. Just make sure they are not dried or have chunks in them.


A lot of people prefer buying things in bulk when they go grocery shopping. While some of the things like toilet papers are okay in bulk, some of them are not. Toothpaste, for example, is not a good idea - they do have an expiration date. Some brands last for up to 2 years after the listed date, but they vary by brand and components.


This might concern the ladies more - it’s better not to reuse a loofah over a long period of time. As you scrub your body with it, dead skins do get attached to the loofah itself. Combined with the constant humidness in the bathroom, bacterias thrive. It’s better to replace them every few weeks.


We seldom use batteries these days, as a lot of gadgets come with rechargeable lithium batteries. However, if you do have batteries lying around, on closer inspection you might see the date printed on them. While they do hold some charge, it just will not function as well as fresh ones do.

Here are some of the items that do have a life span. Did you go around the house and look at these items yet? Did we miss anything? If you find this article useful, why not share it with your friends and family?