5 Household Products That You Didn’t Know Had Expiry Dates

wood polish dusting furniture

(image: Anne Worner)

Some products you in your home lose their quality over time, and you might not know it. Here are 5 of them to think about replacing, if you haven’t lately.


Although it may come as a shock, food isn’t the only thing in your home with an expiration date. That’s right, whether it’s under the sink, in your bathroom cabinet, or in the garage, just about anything in your house can expire. With surprising expiration dates in mind, here are five household items that have a shelf life.

1. Wood polish

From furniture to art to your flooring, chances are you have a lot of wood in your home. As a result, you probably also have a few different types of wood polish. Well, unfortunately, many wood polishes such as pledge and other common wood floor polishes expire within a two-year period.

The reason for the short lifespan: most polishes are made up of wax compounds and essential oils. Over time, these two elements separate, which can leave an oily residue on your wood items. Keeping polishes out of direct sunlight and at room temperature will help them last their full lifespan.

2. Sunscreen

Before you head to the beach, check the expiration date on your sunscreen bottle. Why? Well, most sunscreens are only effective for up to three years. Expiration dates on higher SPF sunscreens are even shorter.

Even if your sunscreen doesn’t have an expiration date printed on the bottle, look at the manufacturer date or simply write the purchase date on each new bottle. The chemicals in expired sunscreen breakdown over time, which reduces potency and SPF rates.

3. Paint

If you have a vast collection of paint cans in your garage, it’s probably time to search through them and discard the expired cans. Most latex, oil, and acrylic paints have a two to five-year shelf life once opened.

The main issue with household paint is color separation. Although thoroughly mixing paint blends the color with the base substance, this process becomes less effective over time. To give your paints the longest life possible, make sure the lid is clean and tightly closed and never let the paint drop below 50 degrees.

4. Laundry detergent

Yes, even your fresh smelling laundry detergent can expire over time. Liquid, powder, and even pod-type drop-in detergents last anywhere from six to twelve months. Liquid detergents can actually lose their ability to break down in water and absorb into clothing and other laundry items.

Likewise, both powder and pod detergents are very moisture sensitive. Powders can clump and become so hard that they’re impossible to scoop. Likewise, the plastic shells on detergent pods can harden when exposed to moisture, which affects their ability to break down. To keep your detergents potent as long as possible, keep them in a cool, dry place.

5. Household cleaning products

Everything from glass cleaner to bleach has a three-month to two-year expiration date. Considering these items usually stick around for years on end, you might want to consider making your own all-natural cleaners using common household ingredients.

For example, white vinegar makes a great germ killer and deodorizer. Lemon juice has a number of anti-mildew properties. Even sea salt can be used as a scrubbing abrasive. The options are endless when you go with all-natural cleaners.

Everything has its limit

When it comes to the potency of household items, keep in mind the expiration dates above. Everything has its limit, even some of the things in your home that you forget about after you use them. Dispose of them conscientiously according to their expiry dates. And get better results later on!


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The BuildDirect Product Expert Team is here to support any questions you may have regarding your home improvement project.