Many of us have a collection of cleaning products under our sink that have been there longer than we can remember. We might begin to wonder if those products are still any good, and if not, how to dispose of them.
Do cleaning products expire? The short answer is yes – but the shelf life depends on the type of cleaner.
Cleaning supplies will lose their effectiveness over time and will simply not work as well.
Here are a few examples of cleaning products and their average shelf lives. Of course, each manufacturer is different so if you are not sure, it is best to approach them directly.
Signs Cleaning Products Have Gone Bad
The easiest way to tell that it may be time to toss a cleaning product are: it’s past its expiration date, it looks or smells wrong, the packaging is compromised or it just is not cleaning as effectively.
How Long Do Cleaning Products Last?
An all-purpose cleaner will last for roughly two years. If it contains anti-bacterial ingredients, that will be shortened to one year.
Baking soda will last between 18 months and two years. It will work longer for deodorizing than it will in baking.
Be careful though – if your baking soda is exposed to moisture, it will degrade sooner.
Stored under ideal conditions, bleach will last from 6 months to a year. If you open the bottle and it doesn’t smell “bleach-y”, it is time to toss it.
This is one of the longer lasting cleaning products. It will remain effective about 3 years.
It depends whether it’s liquid soap or powdered dish detergent. Liquid soap will last for six months; powdered detergent is only effective for six months once its opened.
A drain product like Drano will last for about two years.
This will last for about two years.
Nature’s favourite cleaner could last forever. Once you open it, a bottle of vinegar will last for about three years.
Window cleaners will last for about two years.
Storing Cleaning Products
How you store your cleaning products matters. To help your products last as long as possible, make sure you’re storing them correctly.
Powdered detergents and cleaners can lose their efficiency if they are exposed to the air. Storing them in airtight containers is your best bet.
If liquid cleaners are left open, they can become less effective.
It may surprise you to learn that storing cleaning products under the sink is a bad idea! There is too much heat and moisture fluctuations which can really negative effect your cleaning products.
The best place to store them is in a pantry or hall closet.
Disposing Cleaning Products
If the product is water-soluble, you can just dump it down the sink. Generally speaking, most cleaners are water-soluble unless “oil” is in the name.
Dispose of powders in small quantities in the sink while the water is running. If you dispose too much at once, it will lump and clog your drain.
Remember: you don’t mix products to clean. Don’t mix cleaning products when you’re disposing them either.