It’s common knowledge that standard household items like milk and eggs go bad, they have clearly marked expiration dates on their packaging and you are told at a young age to check this before consuming or using these products.

Our list of ’10 Household Items That Parents Should Know Have An Expiration Date’  don’t always necessarily have a listed “expiration date,” but will still lose their effectiveness over time. Some things, like car seats can actually be dangerous once they pass their usefulness date. Other things, like sunscreen and peroxide, just plain stop working when expired.

 

1. Bike Helmets

Bike helmets can lose their safety effectiveness over a couple of years and after any kind of crash or trauma. Replace helmets if they’ve been damaged in any way, and otherwise replace every three to five years or based on the manufacturer recommendations. Some manufactures will even replace helmets at a discount or even free of charge, all they require is your damaged helmet in return (to complete analysis on).

2. Bleach (and Other Disinfectants)

Bleach loses some if its potency around three months. This shouldn’t be a problem for household laundry, but the disinfectant qualities fall below the EPA standards around this time, which means it isn’t effective for disinfecting your bathrooms, counters, etc.

3. Sunscreen

Most sunscreen works at full strength for around three years. Some sunscreens include an expiration date — a date indicating when they are no longer effective. Discard sunscreen that is past its expiration date. If you buy sunscreen that doesn’t have an expiration date, write the date of purchase on the bottle. Also, discard sunscreen that is more than 3 years old, has been exposed to high temperatures or has an obvious changes in color or consistency.

4. Power Strips and Surge Protectors

Cheap power strips or ones that have been overworked can be a fire hazard, and use a lot of energy in your house. Even good-quality surge protectors are only designed to last for a certain amount of joules, which is the amount of excess electrical surges they absorb. Neither products typically come with an expiration date, but the product warranty is a good way to gauge how old they are. The rule of thumb is if they start to get discolored or hot to the touch, replace it.

5. Spices

Dried spices often last for two to three years, but it depends on the kind, the drying process, and how they are stored. Refer to this chart for a complete list of spice expiration dates.

6. Fire Extinguishers

Manufacturers say most extinguishers should work for 5 to 15 years, but you might not know when you purchased yours. Check the gauge often, ff the needle is in the green area, it is still functional.

7. Car Seats

All manufacturers of car and booster seats set an expiry date on their seats.  The length of useful life varies and is most often a set amount of time from the date of manufacture.  The date of manufacture is found on a sticker somewhere on the seat, but sometimes in an ackward spot and is only visible once the seat is uninstalled. Once a seat has expired, destroy it. Do not give it to a friend or relative to use as it is now deemed unsafe. The same goes if the seat was installed in a car during an accident as the plastic may have warped, etc. Yes, they are expensive but what matters is who is sitting in the car seat stays safe.

8. Smoke Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can stop working after 10 years, even if the batteries are replaced on an annual basis.

9. Hydrogen Peroxide

When it’s opened, hydrogen peroxide only lasts a few months before it becomes ineffective, the oxygen evaporates and it simply turns into water. Even if unopened, it should be discarded after a year. A sure sign of it being expired is when it stops fizzing.

10. Insect Repellent

Insect repellent loses effectiveness after around two years from the manufacture date, which should be clearly marked on the bottle.

photo credit: Enjoyment’s Interval via photopin (license)