15 Things You Never Knew Had an Expiration Date

15 Things You Never Knew Had an Expiration Date

It’s pretty easy to know when food goes bad. They become a funny color, grow mold, or start to stink. These visible signs are a clear indication that they need to be thrown away. However, there are non-food items around your home that can make you sick as well. [1]

Unlike food, these items show no obvious sign that they are past their expiration date. So, how do you know they need to be replaced? Read on to find out.

1. Power Sockets

I’ll bet you’re surprised. Yes, power sockets have an expiration date. Although they don’t have written expiration dates, experts recommend you change them every four years. This is because they are the leading source of electrical fires in the home. If your sockets are discolored or hot to the touch, it is a clear indication it’s time to change them. [2]

2. Wooden Spoons

Unlike metal, wooden spoons are porous and susceptible to germs and need to be replaced over time. They should be changed every five years. If the wood cracks, becomes soft or black, replace it immediately.

3. Makeup

Whether it’s eyeshadow, mascara or lipstick, they all come with an expiration date. Expired makeup can breed bacteria and you don’t want to put that on your face.

Experts recommend that mascara should be replaced about three months after opening it. If it dries up before three months is over, throw it out. Trying to moisten it with saliva or water will only add more bacteria.

Concealers and liquid foundation can last for six months while lipstick and gloss can be kept for two years.

4. Bra

Every woman has a bra she holds on to for years due to its comfortability. But are you aware that bras also have an expiration date? No? Well, now you know.

Bras should be replaced every six months due to the deterioration of the straps and cups. Wearing an out-of-date bra can put extra strain on your muscles and cause back pain. [3]

5. Disinfectant

Disinfectants tend to lose their potency after three months, so if your bottle has been lingering in your cupboard for over three months, you need to replace it.

6. Toothpaste

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t buy in bulk, it has to be toothpaste. Its expiration date largely depends on the brand and manufacturer. Generally, Colgate toothpaste is good for only two years from the manufacture date.

But not to worry, if you’ve got some older toothpaste, use them for household projects like cleaning your clothes iron and removing shoe scuffs.

7. Towels

Because towels are made to absorb water, they provide the ideal environment for bacteria. Most people wash towels in hot water to get rid of germs, but this doesn’t eradicate bacterial build-up. While doing this may prolong their use, towels should be replaced after three years.

8. Toothbrush

Your toothbrush should be replaced every three months. If the bristles are worn down, it is a sign that it needs to be replaced. Also, replace your toothbrush after you’ve had the flu or a cold.

9. Sunscreen

Although your sunscreen may not come with an expiration date, it certainly doesn’t last forever. Sunscreen is effective for only three years. Experts recommend jotting down the purchase date on the bottle in order to know when to replace it.

10. Slippers

Do you know that your soft, fuzzy and comfy pair of slippers that you wear every day could be harboring a high level of bacteria and germs? Unlike socks, slippers are rarely washed and due to their being on our feet all day, they can cause fungal infections. It is recommended that slippers should be replaced every six months. In addition to this, make sure they are washed regularly. [4]

11. Spices

Different spices have different expiration dates, depending on if they are ground or dried. Ground turmeric, for example, lasts for about three years but dried turmeric lasts longer.

Beyond their expiration date, spices start to lose their color and taste, which defeats the entire purpose of adding them to your food.

12. Insect repellant

Have you been wondering why you still end up with mosquito bites after spritzing yourself with insect repellent? Then you need to check the manufacture date. As long as you keep it out of extreme heat or cold, insect repellant will last for about three years after the manufacture date. After that, it begins to lose its effectiveness.

13. Sponge

Keeping the body sponge in a wet environment makes it easy for dirt and bacteria to accumulate on it. Generally, sponges should be replaced every month.

14. Pillows

Although pillows do not have a conventional expiry date, experts recommended they should be replaced every two to three years due to the bacteria accumulated while we sleep.

15. Pacifiers

Due to hygiene reasons, pacifiers should always be replaced after two months. However, if you notice a break or crack in the pacifier, especially if it is latex, you need to replace it immediately.


  1. 20 Household Items You Didn’t Realize Had Expiration Dates“, Bright Side. October 2017.
  2. 19 Forgotten Items In Your Home That Are Probably Very, Very Expired“, Little Things.
  3. These 16 household items have an expiry date – but you didn’t know“, Coventry Telegraph. April 2018.
  4. 16 Things You Never Knew Had an Expiration Date“, Reader’s Digest.