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Do Household Cleaners Expire?

Good Housekeeping
At Home
November 2, 2012



When will these cleaning products go bad?
When will these cleaning products go bad?

Have you ever looked under your sink and wondered how long your cleaning products have been stored there? I know I have. Keeping cleaners beyond their recommended shelf lives can cause them to lose some efficacy while degrading plastic containers can alter their formulas. To ensure that you're getting the most out of your cleaners, here s what manufacturers recommend for their products:

Laundry Detergent: Liquid and powder detergent stored in a cool dry place will keep well for 6 months to one year after opening. Some laundry detergents, like All, have the date they were manufactured stamped on the cap or bottle to help you keep track of storage time. Using detergents passed their prime may not get your clothes as clean as fresh detergents will.

Oxi Clean Powder: In order for the product to deliver on its unlimited shelf life, the powder must remain dry and kept in a cool location.

Fabric Softener: Whether liquid, dryer sheet, or a dryer bar, fabric softener maintains its softening power for about a year.

Multi-Surface Cleaners: These versatile household cleaners work best for up to two years. If they contain antibacterial ingredients, their shelf life may be shortened to one year.

Lysol Disinfectant: After two years, the disinfectant spray and wipes may lose some of their effectiveness. If you keep using the product beyond this time, you'll likely notice the fragrance diminishing.

Hand Dishwashing Soap: If you like to stock up on dish soap when it's on sale, only buy what you can use up within 12 to 18 months. For automatic dishwashing detergent, don't buy more than you will use within three months.

Metal Polish: With the holidays quickly approaching, most likely you'll be polishing your silver soon. However before you apply the polish, check its consistency. This cleaner has a shelf life up to two years. If the solution is lumpy or contains excess water, then its most likely losing its polishing power and it's best to discard it.

To keep better track of your cleaning supplies, try writing the date on the label once you get it home from the store. It's always best to discard any cleaners that have separated, clumped or gotten lumpy, or have an off odor, no matter how recently you've purchased them. Check out the recommendations on the American Cleaning Institute's website for the safest way to dispose of cleaning products.

Any other cleaning products you're wondering about? Ask me in the comments!

-By Christina Peterson

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