Condoms and 8 Other Products with Expiration Dates That Really Matter

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It’s often hard to determine how long products are good for. Even though they have an expiration date on the packaging, how long should you keep things in your home before they begin to break down and deteriorate? A lot of common household items can be hazardous to your health if you keep them around for too long, so that’s why it’s important to do some research into this no matter what the expiration date might say on the package.

Here are 9 items that will, surprisingly, expire.

1. Bleach

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This one catches most people by surprise because a lot of us assume that bleach never goes bad. Well, you’re wrong. People who worked for the Centers for Disease Control in 2014 learned this lesson the hard way. That year, over 75 CDC employees were exposed to live anthrax by accident. Workers could not remember if they had used expired bleach to decontaminate areas that had been exposed to anthrax.

Bleach has a shelf life of about 6 months after it is manufactured, which mean about 3-5 months by the time you take it home after purchase.

2. Latex condoms

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Pay close attention to this one! We don’t want any…accidents, now do we? I didn’t think so. Latex condoms have a shelf life of about five years, but you also have to be careful where you store them. Keep them away from heat and humidity. If your latex condoms have spermicide, they’ll only be good for three years. You better get busy!

3. Sunscreen

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I might be in big trouble, because I think I used sunscreen from the 1980s recently. Whoops! But the fact is, sunscreen expires.

Sunscreen is meant to hold its original strength for three years. After that, the effectiveness will decrease, but you can still use it if you need to. Heat and humidity can also accelerate the breakdown of sunscreen, so keep that in mind after you spend some long days at the beach.

4. Mascara

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Mascara doesn’t last for very long, so best to use it up quickly after you make that purchase. In fact, the shelf life for mascara is only three months. The window is so short for mascara because after a while bacteria begin to develop, and you don’t want that anywhere near your peepers, do you? We also naturally have bacteria on our eyelashes and that transfers to mascara wands and into the tube. So buy it, use it, and toss it!

5. Loofahs

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Ahhhh, the magical loofah, everyone’s favorite shower accessory. Although they feel good and usually look pretty clean, you shouldn’t keep your loofah around for very long. Loofahs never really dry out, so they become breeding grounds for bacteria. You might be surprised to learn that it’s recommended you replace your loofah every 3-4 WEEKS. Yeah, time to go get that baby out of your shower ASAP.

6. Anti-acne creams

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Once you pop the top on these, they start to deteriorate. So, to be on the safe side, toss your anti-acne creams three months after opening.

7. Hair products

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What about all those canisters of hair products in your bathroom, like hair gel and spray? Unopened, most hair products are good for about three years. Once opened, count on being able to style your locks for 1-2 years with them before it’s time for the dumpster.

8. Soap

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Soap? Yes, soap. I always assumed soap was okay to use forever, but I’m wrong (once again). If soap contains essential oils, it will deteriorate faster, but the maximum shelf life for a bar of soap is 3 years.

9. Motor Oil

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If a container of motor oil is unopened, it can have a shelf life of 5 years. However, once opened, the breakdown begins and you should pitch that motor oil after 90 days.

Now that you’ve read this article, it’s time to search through your cabinets and clean house! And remember, if you happen to be cleaning up anthrax, make sure your bleach isn’t expired.