It’s pretty easy to know when things like milk and eggs go bad. And other things, especially foods, have clearly marked expiration dates on their packaging.
But here we’re talking about products that don’t always have a listed “expiration date,” but will lose their effectiveness over time.
Some things, like car seats and potatoes, can actually be dangerous once they pass their usefulness date. Other things, like sunscreen and bleach, will just stop working after a certain time. And others, like razors and mascara, can start to grow bacteria after being used a number of times.
Solution: Don’t eat green (unripe) or sprouted (overripe) potatoes; store potatoes in a cool, dark place.
2. Bleach (and Other Disinfectants)
Solution: Toss your bleach every few months or so. Same goes for Lysol and other household disinfectants.
3. Power Strips and Surge Protectors
Solution: Only buy surge protectors and power strips with a UL rating, and if they start to get discolored or hot to the touch, get a new one. It’s generally a good idea to replace them every couple of years just to keep you (and your electronics) safe.
Solution: Buy new mascara every couple of months, and don’t share with anyone else.
5. Car Seats
Solution: Check for the expiration date on the individual model and don’t buy used versions unless you know the history. If you’re uncertain, there are car seat inspection stations that will check the seat for you
Solution: Use clean hands to apply lotion, and toss after a year or so.
Solution: Past the expiration date or after two years, any lipstick that’s been opened should be tossed out. It’s also smart to give your lipsticks a good cleaning every once in a while.
8. Running Shoes
Solution: For hard runners, get new shoes every 200 to 300 miles. For less strenuous users, replace your workout shoes every six months to a year.
Pro tip: Use permanent marker to write the day of purchase on anything you have that might expire.
Solution: Throw out sunscreen past the listed expiration date. If it doesn’t have a date on the bottle, just note the day of purchase and toss after a few years.
Solution: Refer to this cart of how long different spices last.
11. Fire Extinguishers
Solution: Check the pressure in the gauge often, and make sure to recharge (aka refill) after any use.