Can Your Household Cleaning Products Actually Expire?

A clean home is a goal for many of us, and there's a chance you have a plethora of cleaning products stored under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. From liquid sprays to gels made to scour, we stock up on the solutions that helps us keep walls, counters, and floors sparkling. But how often are you replacing those products? If you're only buying new stuff when the old bottles run empty and you're not using some of those products regularly, you probably have expired cleaners on your hands.

When we think of things in our homes with expiration dates, most of us will have a list of foods and medications in our head. Yet other things like makeup, body and hair care items, and even household cleaners often have expiration dates too. According to Money Talk News, some of them even have the corresponding dates printed on the bottles. Go ahead and take a look under the sink and check!

We know it's best to replace items that we've kept past their expiration dates. But if it doesn't have a date, how do you know if it's still good?

Determining if your cleaning products are expired

If you can't find an expiration date on your cleaning products, it's alright — there are websites that will help you figure out the lifespan of different cleaners. However, if you don't remember when you first cracked that bottle open, it may be difficult to judge the effectiveness and safety of the product. If you know it's been in your home for at least two years, Cleanfax says to toss it out. There are even some cleaning products that should be tossed before their two-year anniversary.

PRO Housekeepers says that if you have bleach in your home that's been open for six months, its effectiveness has diminished. The site also points out that even your unopened products have a lifespan, so get them out and start cleaning! A sealed bottle of hydrogen peroxide will stay good for at least three years, but once it's in use, try to finish it within six months to get the most cleaning power from the product. 

You also want to throw away any cleaning products that look old or separated, or have bottles that are leaking. Not only do leaky products make a mess, they pose a risk to your health and they're not doing any good seeping out of the container.

How to save yourself some time and money

If your cleaning products don't have expiration dates on them, you can grab a permanent marker and write the date of purchase on the packaging as well as the date you first opened each of them (provided those dates are different). This way, when you check back to one of those websites with a breakdown on efficient chemical lifespans, you'll know what to toss and when. Having a set cleaning schedule in your home is another way to help you use up cleaning products faster as well.

Before tossing anything that has expired into the trash, All Kleen strongly suggests reviewing proper disposal methods for each of your cleaners. For smaller amounts, it's sometimes safe to dump them down the drain as long as you dilute them with water, but you should read the product label to see if there are any specific safety advisories. If so, you may need to look into hazardous waste disposal operations in your area.