20 Products You Didn't Realize Had Expiration Dates That You Probably Need To Replace

She Does The City / Ottawa Family Dentist

Although I can be labelled as a bit of a pack rat, I've slowly started to declutter my home. In the beginning it wasn't an easy feat, especially since I believed the stuff I had would eventually come in handy.

However, when I found out that so many items I kept in storage had expiration dates, I realized it was time to toss a lot of things out.

Curious to learn what products can actually expire? Here are 20 items that'll make you want to start your spring cleaning.

1. Sunglasses

When you buy a pair of sunglasses, you might want to think before you splurge, because as it turns out your shades can expire.

Since your sunglasses' primary function is to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, it's recommended you replace them every two years.

As time goes on your eyewear becomes less effective from shielding your eyes from the UV rays, which is partly due to scratches on the lenses and daily wear and tear.

2. Sunscreen

While some people use up their bottle of suntan lotion by the end of summer, those who decide to save the leftovers for the following years should know it's not recommended.

After three years, your sunscreen begins to lose its ability to protect you from the sun's harmful ways. Luckily the expiration date is labelled on the bottle so you can always double check it should you forget.

3. Nail Polish

If you have a large collection of nail polishes in your cupboard, you might be devastated to learn that you'll probably have to chuck several colors out.

Once you open the bottle, its shelf life typically only lasts two years. After that point some of the ingredients begin to evaporate.

4. Bleach

Even though bleach is one of the best products to use to get rid of stains, you should stop buying it in bulk.

After three months, the chemicals in the bleach becomes less effective and it will begin to fall below the EPA standards.

5. Bras

Since bra shopping is a pain in the butt, once women buy a few good pairs they like to hold onto them as long as possible.

Sadly we should toss them out of our underwear drawer every six to eight months after we start wearing them.

Even though some people might not wash them as frequently as they should, once they do go in the washing machine the padding in the undergarments eventually gets ruined, thus making it lose their shape.

"You need to be mindful about anything that comes into contact with your skin," hygiene expert Professor Sally Bloomfield explained. "If you have a fungal infection, for example, you could reinfect yourself."

6. Loofas

Although everyone loves loofahs to lather their skin in body wash, it turns out even if you ring it out afterwards there are still skin cells that get left on the sponge.

It becomes the home of a massive amount of bacteria and should be replaced every two to three months.

However, if it's made of natural materials instead of the usual plastic mesh ones, you should toss it out every three to four weeks.

7. Hairbrushes

Like many other people, I have a favorite hairbrush that I've used for what seems like forever.

However after a year it becomes time to get a new one since your hair's germs will stick around and linger, and that's even if you regularly clean them.

8. Perfume

If you have a favorite scent but don't wear it often, you'll be sad to discover perfume only has a self life of three years.

After that time period the smell can change and won't have the same qualities as it did when you bought it.

However there is a silver lining. If the perfume is placed in a dark bottle as opposed to a lighter colored/clear one, it will typically last longer.

9. Pillows

Since pillows have the ability to make or break your sleep, it's your duty to replace them after two to three years.

After you start using them, they begin to collect your dead skin cells and dust mites.

You should also swap out your pillow cases with a fresh one at least once a week, especially if you have oily skin and/or acne.  

10. Power Strips

Power strips are a great product to have if your home or office is skimpy on outlets, but should be replaced after it exceeds a certain amount of joules.

Once this handy device device expires, it becomes one of the common reasons houses catch on fire.

While there is no exact time frame of when they should get the heave ho, a good indicator is when your warranty expires. But, keep in mind it also depends on how often the power strip is in use.

11. Liquor

Don't worry, liquor doesn't become lethal once it passes a certain date, but it does begin to change its taste.

Once the bottle is opened, the liquor typically only lasts for a year before it starts to lose its intended flavor.

Luckily this only occurs if the bottle's seal has been cracked, as unopened liquor won't become stale.

12. Soap Bars

While you'd expect soap to last until it dissipates, that isn't the case.

Once your soap bars expire (usually around the three year mark), they won't do as good of a job for ridding your body of the germs it accumulates on a daily basis.

One tell-tale sign the cleaning product should be replaced is when it starts to develop cracks.

13. Towels

Another bathroom must-have, towels shouldn't be used for more than three years.

When it's being used, its fibers begin to break down and not only will they stay wet for a longer period of time, bacteria will start to linger, and who wants to dry off with germs?

14. Toothbrushes

We don't usually think about our toothbrushes other than the times we use them twice a day, but as a people who survive on good dental hygiene, it's crucial to buy a new one every three months.

After you start using the brush, the bristles start to become frayed and lose its effectiveness to clean your pearly whites.

Another reason is germs often get trapped in the bristles and can lead to an infection .

In fact, children's toothbrushes should be replaced sooner than adult's since they tend to brush harder.

15. Tooth Paste

Another dental essential, toothpaste should never be bought in bulk.

Although the product's best before date depends on the brand, it's typically expires between 12 to 18 months.

Once toothpaste is used beyond that point, it loses its flavor and fluoride stability, which plays a massive role in repairing your teeth's enamel.

But don't despair, even though it might become expired for cleaning your teeth, there are other purposes it can be used for.

16. Running Shoes

Having a good pair of running shoes is a must for anyone who enjoys an active life. However, like any other clothing item, sneakers will become victims to the enviable wear and tear.

After a while the cushioning in the soles will wear down, which will make them harder to run in - making you more prone to injuries.

It's recommended you buy a new pair after you've walked between 200,000 to 300,000 miles in them. Since it's a massive gap, replacing them is up to your discretion to when the shoes don't feel comfortable anymore.

17. Helmets

Even though helmets are suppose to protect your head from a potential accident, if you've been wearing yours for too long it might cause more harm than good.

The salt in your sweat can erode the insides of your helmet, while the sun can damage the plastic covering - making them lose its effectiveness.

Helmets should be replaced by avid bikers every two years, while those who only take occasional rides can keep them up to four.

18. Bug Spray

A summer essential, if you notice your bug spray doesn't have the same potency as it once had, then it's probably expired. After about two to three years, the ingredients start to break down.

While most spray cans have an expiration date on them, if yours doesn't and you can't remember when you bought it, it's best to throw it out.

Thankfully there are other ways to get the mosquitoes to stay away, and they're all natural.

19. Fire Extinguishers

Based on the type of fire extinguisher you buy, they can last between five to 15 years. However once the fire extinguisher has expired, you should replace it immediately.

If a fire breaks out it won't be as effective and can potentially leave you in grave danger.

Another noticeable sign you would need a new one is if you notice cracks in the hose.

20. Car seats

When you take your child on the road, putting them in a car seat may end up saving their life.

However, if you plan on using one that's been in constant use for about six to 10 years (the best before date is usually labelled at the bottom of the seat), it's time to get a new one.

Over the years technology improves and standards change, making your old car seat unequipped with the newest life-saving parts.

As well, the material can wear down and replacement pieces could be needed - which may not be manufactured anymore.

Want to know what else you need throw in the trash? Check these products out:

[H/T: Buzzfeed, The Sun, Reader's Digest]