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These products do expire

These Products Do Expire

Updated on February 1, 2023

 Personal Finance

Do You know When These Items Expire?

You can save quite a bit of money when you stock up on items that you use on a regular basis. Knowing when things expire can help you make better decisions about your purchases. Buying 30 gallons of paint at cost may seem like a great deal, but if you can't use it in a couple of years - you're wasting money. Here's a list of common items with their suggested expiration dates. Some of them may surprise you.

Baking Soda | Expires 30 days

Sure, the expiration date says three years from the purchase date, but baking soda loses its effectiveness the minute you open it. 30 days after opening is the amount of time that Arm & Hammer thinks you should change the box, but it's not really set in stone. You can test your baking soda by dropping a few teaspoons in some vinegar. If it bubbles up like your fave champagne, then it still retains its cleaning power.

Mascara | Expires 3 months

Have you been using your Mascara for more than three months? Throw it out. When it gets clumpy or smells strange, it's time to replace it. You can get a few more mascara miles if you wipe off the excess on a tissue after each use. That will help prevent clumping... And don't ever share your mascara, that's gross.

Alcohol | Expires 2 months to 1 year

Certain types of booze last longer than others. The hard stuff like bourbon, scotch or vodka last almost indefinitely unopened because of their high alcohol content. Beer and wine will vary depending on quality.


We hate to break this to you... Boxed wine only lasts for one year after its pumped into its bag! The bottled variety – usually cheaper ones – should be drank a few years after being produced. Opened bottles of wine begin to lose flavor after a few days.


A general rule for all liquor is usually six to eight months after its opened. So that old open bottle of brandy with three years of dust on it should be tossed.


Have you noticed lately that most mass-produced beers have an expiration date on them? Drinking after that date may affect the taste, but it won't hurt you. If you like the craft beers, you should probably drink them a few months after bottling.

Sunscreen | Expires 1 year

Your sunscreen needs sunscreen and should be stored out of the sun. The moment you open that tube the water inside will start evaporating and creates an inconsistency in the formula. The active ingredients are not distributed evenly anymore. As a general rule, pitch it after your sunning season is over. A closed tube lasts about a year.

Skin Moisturizers, Cleansers and Eye Creams | Expires 6 to 12 months

Buying these products in a pump rather than a jar will decrease the chances of introducing bacteria and add a few months to their shelf life. As a general rule, all of your creams in jars should be disposed of within 9 months. Facial cleansers can keep for about six months, unless these products have hydroxy acids in them which give them a longer shelf life. Facial toners will last about a year unless they contain vitamin C, which decreases the potency of nutrients. A cool tip is to store your eye creme in the fridge to give it a longer shelf life and you can enjoy the soothing temperature on those tired eyes.

Cleaning Products | Expires 12 to 18 months

If you check under your sink you'll probably see a ton of plastic bottles with labels that are peeling off. Cleaning products really don't have expiration dates printed on them, but their potency can decrease over time. We'll make it simple for you with this quick list to help empty that plastic graveyard under your sink.


In its bottle, undiluted, bleach will start to fade after six months. If you add bleach to your water for cleaning, the 10% solution only lasts for one day.

Fabric Softener

The softening power of dryer sheets or liquid will last for a year.

Dishwashing Soap

Dish soap can last up to 18 months and automatic dishwashing detergent can be stored for three months.

Laundry Detergent

Some laundry detergents actually have expiration dates printed on the cap or bottle. If your detergent doesn't, you should know that liquid and powder detergent can be stored up to six months.

Disinfectant Sprays And Wipes

You can store your anti-germ wipes and sprays for two years. A good test for their effectiveness is to sniff and see if there is still a fragrance.

White Distilled Vinegar

As a cleaning product, the USDA says white distilled vinegar has an indefinite shelf life because of its acidic nature. It may shift in color or get cloudy, but it's perfectly safe to use for cleaning.

Face and Eye Powder | Expires 2 years

Bacteria thrives in moist and warm places. Your powdered makeup lasts longer simply because there is little water. It's time to toss them when they become flaky or packed down.

House Paint | Expires 2 years

It's very common to have a few cans of paint lounging around somewhere in your garage or basement. Did you know that latex or oil-based paints only have a shelf life of two years? If they've been exposed to high or low temperatures in that time, then they have gone bad.

Perfume | Expires 2 to 5 years

An unopened fragrance can last up to five years if it's stored in a cool, dark place. Because of the heat and steam, the worse place to store your perfume is in your bathroom. If you really want to extend the life of a scent - buy an opaque bottle with a higher content of essential oils. Trust your sense of smell and if the fragrance has altered over the years, it's time to buy some new perfume.

Lipstick and Lip Gloss | Expires 2 years

Lip gloss and lipstick have a shelf life of one to two years. If you notice a change in color and smell or the texture has changed; your makeup has expired. You can get more usage by storing them in your refrigerator before and after you open them.

Soap | Expires 3 years

Commercial liquid and bar soaps lose their effectiveness after three years. It's still safe to use, but if you prefer a good lather and a fresh scent, you'll probably want to throw it out.

Shampoo/Conditioner | Expires 3 years

If there is no expiration date on the bottle a good rule of thumb is usually three years for an unopened bottle. An opened bottle should last up to 18 months.

Baby Car Seat | Expires 6 years

Car seats are an unexpected item that need to be replaced. Because they are costly, many parents keep car seats a bit too long. Most manufacturers suggest five or six years. If in doubt, there's usually an expiration date on the label.

Fire Extinguisher | Expires 5 years

Most fire extinguishers are made to last anywhere from five to fifteen years. They usually have an expiration date printed on them, but if the pressure gauge isn't green, you need to have them serviced or replaced.

Motor Oil | Expires 5 years

Stocking up on oil when prices are low can save you money if you buy a three-year supply. The shelf life is usually five years for an unopened container.

Batteries | Expires 5 years

Most batteries have a very clear expiration date on their package. Store your batteries away from any heat and it's not necessary to store them in the fridge despite what your dad might say. Cold storage for your little power producers could actually harm them. Keep them in a place at room temperature with a consistent humidity is the manufacturers' recommendation for your batteries.

Smoke Detectors

You really don't want weak smoke detectors in your house. Newly installed detectors will last eight to ten years and the whole unit needs to be replaced after that time. Most smoke detectors have their manufacturing date, but you can write the purchase date on the inside of the battery compartment. The batteries should be replaced every year. A great idea is to pick a date you won't forget: New Year's Day, Birthday, Anniversary, Holiday... We hope you learned a few things about expiration dates - we sure did. Remember that storing these items in a dry environment with a stable temperature will keep the product shelf life consistent. If you find that some of your pricier items have expired and your next payday is a few weeks away, you can see our payday loans requirements and apply for an online installment loan if those loan options can fulfill your needs.

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Photograph of author Joseph Priebe

Joseph Priebe

Joseph Priebe takes pride in assisting audiences with his articles to help them make sound financial decisions.

With over ten years of experience writing financial content his goal at CASH 1 has always been creating engaging and easy-to-digest information for anyone searching for immediate or long-term monetary solutions.

When Joseph is not writing about personal finance, you can find him photographing the Southwest United States with his 4x5 Graflex Crown Graphic camera. He is based in Phoenix, Arizona.