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Do Cleaning Supplies Expire?

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You’ve had that bottle of all-purpose cleaner under your kitchen sink since your last spring. Now that the time has come around again, you might be wondering if your cleaning supplies expire.

The answer is yes, your cleaning supplies do expire, but how do you know when they’ve gone bad?

The quick and obvious answer is to look for expiration dates on the bottles. However, as time has gone on, those dates could have worn off, and you’re left with a guessing game. The good news, though, is that if you end up using an expired cleaner, there’s no real harm in it—at least not to you. The biggest issue is that it likely won’t work as effectively.

Spicy Shelf Expandable Under Sink Organizer and Storage

Keep all of your products properly stored to maximize shelf life.

Brian Sansoni, senior vice president of communications, outreach & membership at the American Cleaning Institute, said over time the products will degrade weakening how well the enzymes work or changing the pH. This means your surface will not get as clean. This is particularly true of disinfecting products. In order to kill bacteria and germs to their best ability, they must be within date.

Other than the expiration date, how can you tell if a product is expired? Try to remember when you purchased it and follow these general guidelines for shelf lives:

  • Bleach: Six months
  • All-Purpose Sprays: Two years
  • Dish Detergent: One year
  • Laundry Detergent: Six months to a year
  • Disinfectants: Two years

If spring cleaning is in your future, it might be time to clean out your supplies. When disposing of them, however, be sure to read labels so as not to mix chemicals that could become toxic, or if you want some extra help contact your local hazardous waste disposal service.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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