Keep or toss? How long to hang onto household productsPosted: Updated:
Common products come without expiration dates. How do you know when to keep them and when to toss them?
Rubbing alcohol: Toss it after two years if it has been opened. Sealed, it will last about three years. Alcohol evaporates quickly so it will become too weak to kill bacteria. Use expired alcohol as window cleaner by combining it 50/50 with water in a spray bottle
Hydrogen peroxide: If it has been open for six months, toss it. If sealed, it will last three years on the shelf. Test to see if it is still good and effective by pouring some into a dish or sink. If it is still good, it will fizz and bubble. If exposed to light, it will break down quickly. That's why it comes in the brown opaque bottle.
Laundry and automatic dishwasher detergent: It doesn't expire, but it does lose effectiveness. Excessive heat or cold speeds up the process. Opened, use it within six months; sealed, nine months to a year. Powders or pods will break down faster since they are exposed to air and moisture more frequently. If powder is hard or caked, toss it. It won't dissolve properly.
Chlorine bleach: This is good for about six to nine months. After that time it can actually start to break down the container it is in. At this point, it is no longer effective for disinfecting. Do not store in a hot garage.
Disposable razors: It is recommended that these be tossed after every three shaves. After this, the blade can become nicked and can cut you. Bacteria can also develop. If you want to extend the life of it, soak it in hydrogen peroxide to disinfect it every three to four shaves.
Toothbrush: Toss after three months, sooner if you have been sick. Soaking your toothbrush in peroxide every other week will keep bacteria from growing. Ready to toss it? Put it in your cleaning kit.
Loofah, body buffers: These love to harbor bacteria in all the crevices and infect you via an open cut, scrape or acne. Loofahs and buffer lose their ability to slough off dry skin after a few weeks. Mesh puffs are more resistant to bacteria and can last several months. Be sure you hang them to dry between uses.
Nail polish: Toss open bottles after two years. Once a bottle is open, it will start to thicken making it hard to apply and slow drying. To stretch the time on it a little, add a few drops of nail polish remover to it. Need to toss it? Keep it in your cleaning area for marking and labeling things.
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