19 Things You Never Knew Had an Expiration Date

| Living

We're all familiar with expiration dates on things like milk cartons, egg crates and canned goods, but what did you know that lotion, hydrogen peroxide, and even bike helmets can expire too? Buzzfeed compiled a list of 19 household items that can actually expire. Check them out below!

expiration date

Potatoes: The common potato and other plants of the same nightshade family (like tomatoes and eggplants) contain traces of a toxic chemical called solanine that can be very dangerous and even deadly. The toxin is minimal in raw, unspoiled potatoes, but if sprouted, overexposed to the sun, or stored near other vegetables that increase spoilage (like onions) for a long period of time, the concentration of this chemical can become harmful. When stored correctly, ripe potatoes should stay good for two to three months.

Solution: Don’t eat green (unripe) or sprouted (overripe) potatoes; store potatoes in a cool, dark place.

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 cleaning.

Solution: Toss your bleach every few months or so. Same goes for Lysol and other household disinfectants.

Sunscreen: According to the Mayo Clinic, most sunscreen works at full strength for around three years.

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.


>> Read more: Don't Be Rash, Wear Your Sunscreen

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.

Solution: Only buy surge protectors and power strips with a UL or OSHA 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.

Spices: Dried spices often last for two to three years, but it depends on the kind, how they were dried, and how they are stored.

Solution: Refer to this chart of how long different spices last.

Fire extinguishers: Most fire extinguishers don’t expire for five to 15 years, depending on the type, but things like cracks in the hose and the pressure can affect how well they work.

Solution: Check the pressure in the gauge often, and make sure to recharge (aka refill) after any use.

fire extinguisher
(Photo: Amazon)

Car Seats: Because they are made from materials that expand and contract with age and temperature, and the car itself changes temperature so frequently, most car seats expire six to 10 years after their manufacture date, which should be stamped somewhere on the bottom or side. Previous damage or car crashes can also affect the safety of the seat, which is why it isn’t a great idea to buy a used model. (For more info on buying a new car seat, go here.)

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.

Mascara: Bacteria (like the kind that causes pinkeye and other infections) can start to grow in an open mascara tube within three months of use. Plus, with lots of pumping, the product will begin to dry out around the same time. Some products even have a hidden expiration date.

Solution: Buy new mascara every couple of months, and don’t share with anyone else.

Loofahs: Sponges and natural loofahs can start to breed bacteria in just a couple of weeks. Plastic mesh loofahs are safe a little longer, up to eight weeks.

Solution: Rinse and dry all your loofahs after each use. Replace natural loofahs every couple weeks, and mesh ones every other month.

Curious for more? Click here to read the original article from Buzzfeed.