Food & Recipes

8 Common Items You Didn’t Realize Have Expiration Dates

BRB, buying new bath towels.

We all know items like food, medication, and even makeup expire, but it turns out those aren’t the only objects that have a limited “shelf life.” Sadly, not everything lasts forever, and even if it’s not being ingested, it doesn’t mean there’s not a proper time to dispose of it. It may not be obvious that certain items have run their course, but it’s still in your best interest to get rid of them at the recommended amount of time.

If you’re not sure what can stick around forever and what needs to go, consider these eight household items that you didn’t realize have expiration dates.

1. Disinfectants

Disinfectants such as bleach or other cleaners lose their potency after about three months. There’s no need to toss them at this time, as they’re still okay for cleaning and for laundry, but get a new bottle if you really want to do a deep cleaning with maximum strength.

bleach photo
Photo by Incase.

2. Pillows

We can go years without replacing our pillows, but this habit can have negative consequences on our health. You should change your pillow every few years, as they can become infected with dust mites, causing an allergic reaction, or become too flat and lead to head and neck pain.

pillow photo
Photo by seishin17

3. Towels

Towels are another household item that we don’t think twice about keeping for a long time, but like pillows, they need to be replaced every few years. Because they are often moist, towels can be breeding grounds for bacteria that aren’t killed by just throwing your towel in the wash.

towels photo
Photo by cogdogblog

4. Perfume

Scented products are tricky because there isn’t one set expiration date for all types of perfume. This depends on the scent’s chemical composition, but all perfumes break down and oxidize over time. Most experts say three to five years, but as long as the change in smell doesn’t bother you, you can go ahead and keep using it.

perfume photo
Photo by Vetiver Aromatics

5. Running Shoes

Even if you’re in love with your favorite pair of gym shoes and your feet aren’t going to be growing any time soon, you’re going to still want to replace those babies after 300 to 500 miles. This is because the cushioning that protects your feet from the trauma of running begins to wear down after this time, which could leave you with joint injuries.

running shoes photo
Photo by R.Duran

6. Power Strips

Power strips may not come with an expiration date on the box, but you’ll want to replace these every few years because power strips are the leading cause of electrical fires in the home. They’re only designed to withstand a finite amount of electrical currents, so if they start to get discolored or hot to the touch, it’s time to buy a new one.

power strips photo
Photo by cogdogblog

7. Sunscreen

You’ll want to replace your bottles of sunscreen every three years. If your bottle has a written expiration date, stick to it. If not, replace it every few years, and look for obvious changes in color or consistency.

sunscreen photo
Photo by JeepersMedia

8. Fire Extinguishers

Hopefully you never need to use it, but if you’ve had a fire extinguisher in your home for as long as you can remember, it’s time to get a new one. Manufacturers say most extinguishers only work for five to 15 years. Check the pressure gauge to make sure it’s still in the green, and look for any cracks or rips.

fire extinguisher photo
Photo by noii’s

See more surprising expiration dates on Bright Side.