10 household items you didn’t realise had expiration dates

It's not just food that can go off 

Everything has a lifetime, but some things last longer than others. 

Ingredients can lose potency after time, while other household items deteriorate, lose effectiveness, or harbour bacteria. 

So what can you keep and what should you chuck? Read on for our list of common household items.


Replace after: 6 months-3 years

Over time your pillows accumulate dust mites, and they can also lose shape and support. 

According to interior design expert Robin Wilson, depending on your cleaning habits and allergies, you may need to replace your pillows as often as every six months.


Replace after: 3 months

Bristles start to wear and they lose their effectiveness after three months. 

Hydrogen peroxide

Replace after: 6-12 months

Opened bottles of hydrogen peroxide lose their potency after six months, and turn to plain water.

An unopened bottle of hydrogen peroxide can last up to a year.


Replace after: Six months to 1 year

According to hairstylist Marc Anthony, the first sign you need a new brush is “when the bristles start to separate”.

Another obvious sign is when the bed of the brush starts to crack.

“Most people wait until this point before replacing their brush, but I strongly suggest keeping an eye on the bristles, as they will cause damage to the hair by catching and ripping it,” says Anthony.

“When you reach the stage of your hair catching on your brush, that’s the time to replace it—no matter how old it is.”


Replace after: 1-3 years

Unopened bottles of eau de parfum and essential oils can be kept for as long as three years, or up to two years opened.

Eau de toilette can be kept for up to four years unopened and two years opened.


Replace after: 2-5 weeks

The latex in babies’ dummies breaks down and causes cracks, which can harbour bacteria.


Replace after: 6 months-2 years

After six months of wear, bras can lose shape.

According to Claire Franks from Intimate Apparel Consultancy, bras should be replaced “when the hook and eye adjuster cannot be tightened enough to give a snug fit around the body and the bra rides up the back.”

“They need to replaced in order to maintain the best fit and lift and to continue to be comfortable as bras will stretch through wear,” she said.


Replace after: 1 year

According to podiatriast Clifton Bradeley, shoes can lose cushioning and support “between 450 to 550 miles” (724km-885km).


Replace after: 1-3 years

Spices can lose their taste and smell over time. Ground spice shouldn’t be kept longer than six months.


Replace after: 7-8 years

According to the Sleep Council’s Lisa Artis, a “bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, are less disturbed by your partner and are less likely to wake up feeling tired or aching.


This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens. 

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