40+ Items That Don't Last As Long As Expected! - Health and Wellness News

40+ Items That Don’t Last As Long As Expected!


Here are 45 ordinary items around your house you didn’t know can be bad for you! You look at the mess in your room and think, “I need Marie Kondo.” Who doesn’t? But don’t forget: even your essentials have a shelf-life! After a certain time period, the products around you can stop working the way you need them to, or worse, actually cause a risk to your well-being. Your Chapstick has been lying on your bedside table without its cap; your big pack of detergent is at least 2 years old, and the batteries in your television remote only work when you hit and rearrange them for a good 5 minutes. Regardless of whether you believe in expiration dates and their relevance, here are 45 things that you didn’t know you NEED to replace as soon as possible!

Batteries

Whether rechargeable or not, batteries have a shorter shelf life than most people expect. If not stored correctly, batteries can leak toxic chemicals that contaminate water, soil, and air. Lithium, cadmium, sulfuric acid, and lead are just a few of the harmful chemicals in these tiny powerhouses.

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Disposing of old batteries carefully is very important! Check and replace the batteries in your clocks, TV, air conditioning remotes, and your child’s toys soon. The flashlight you haven’t used in years? Yup, you should probably replace those batteries, too!

Bleach

You bought a bottle of beach to try that tie dye trend from TikTok, but forgot all about it sitting under your sink. Don’t pick it up after a few years, eager to use it! Even chemicals as strong as the ones in bleach lose their efficiency a few months after opening the bottle.

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Throwing this bottle of bleach as waste has to be done responsibly; bleach can be very harmful for the drainage systems in your building as well as the environment. Whether you use this to clean utensils or create art, don’t buy bleach in bulk if you’re not going to use it!

Slippers

We know; this makes us sad, too! It takes a while to break in a pair of fluffy slippers just the right amount — the shape then fits your foot perfectly. But it takes less time than that for bacteria in your cozy slippers to grow and attach themselves to your precious feet.

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The risk of fungal infections is alarmingly high, and experts recommend changing your adorable pair of slippers at least three times a year, and a strict no-jumping-onto-the-bed-with-your-slippers-on policy, specifically if they’re made of cloth and/or towel material.

Old Pillows

You know the pillow you hug to sleep as you sink into your bed? Yes, the one that smells like your scalp and has a depression in it, too? Chuck it. Over the years in which you’ve probably been using that pillow, it has collected and absorbed your dead skin, secretions from your skin like sweat and oils, dandruff, and is a home to dust mites expanding their empire.

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All of this and more can lead to eye and ear infections, as well as skin problems, such as acne and rashes. Once pillows lose their shape, they can be detrimental to your neck and shoulder posture, causing muscle and joint aches when you wake up in the morning.

Dish Soap

You saw a big bottle of dish soap on sale at the store and lunged at it, didn’t you? As the cleaning liquid gets older in the bottle, it loses its enzymes and doesn’t clean your dishes as well as you want it to.

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This can cause stomach infections and poor cleaning of your dishes encourages various kinds of bacteria to grow on your plates and cutlery. We don’t want that! We want fresh-scented, clean, and shiny plates for you to enjoy your favorite meals on.

Loofahs

By being the one thing that instantly takes your shower to a spa-level self-care session, you’ve got a lot to thank your loofah for. But dermatologists globally suggest replacing these fluffy soap lathering devices as often as each month.

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Moisture collected in the folds of your loofah results in mold and fungus growth, and putting that on your skin while bathing can cause multiple hygiene-related issues. No, cleaning water with water doesn’t work! You’ll have to get a stash of them.

Bras

No one, as far as we know, wears bras happily; they’re unnecessary, expensive, and a burden. But if you’re someone who wears a bra every day, we hope you replace them soon! Most experts recommend changing your bras at least twice a year!

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While the best indicator for replacement depends on how the bra continues to fit you, it is suggested that changes be made frequently, due to the material and proximity to your body, and the absorption of sweat and dead skin cells. An overused elastic and wired bra also imposes pressure on the chest and spine that has long-term consequences.

Eye drops

As with most things that need to be put into our bodies to work, eye drops provide great relief from eye irritation and infections. But did you know, the innocent tube of eye drops that’s several years old might now have the opposite result on you than it was produced for?

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The liquid in these bottles is sterile only for approximately four weeks from manufacturing, resulting in reducing efficacy if not used before expiring. If you don’t use eye drops regularly, ensure you only get smaller bottles when you need them! An eye infection is painful, and you have been warned!

Canned food

This one came as a shock to us, too! Apparently, it wasn’t just us who believed that canned foods last, well, almost forever. Lesson learned: just because a product is durable doesn’t mean it will be okay till the end of eternity! If you’re someone who has a shelter underground, or a cabin in the woods, ensure you’re replacing the tins every three years, at least!

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Go with your gut, so that you don’t end up with food poisoning, and eat canned food only if it’s been stored in a cool and dark place! It would be devastating to reach a place of safety, and find your planned cache of food has expired, and poses risks to your health.

Pacifiers

Like clothes and cradles, pacifiers are also shared and handed down to younger children as they’re born, but this is a lot more dangerous. The hazardous implications would cost a lot more in terms of medical bills than a new pacifier.

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Rubber, the material of which the pacifier is made, breaks down with time, and can result in the child choking. Since this device is regularly sterilized and often boiled to clean, the plastic components can also release toxins not meant for your child. Experts recommend replacing pacifiers every few months!

Mascara

Who doesn’t like long and full eyelashes? Mascara makes your eyes, and eye makeup pop, and many come with additional essential oils to strengthen the lashes. But do you know how old your mascara is? It has a shorter shelf life than you think.

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Using old mascara can lead to eye infections, dandruff on the eyelashes, and even affect your eyesight. Dermatologists suggest replacing your mascara every three months to avoid clunks and junks. If you’re worried about waste, make a DIY eyeliner out of your mascara!

Flour

Regardless of whether you cook and bake once in a fortnight, or regularly send packages of goodies to show your love to your friends and family, you’ve more than likely used flour. But if you’re getting back to the kitchen after a well-deserved break, make sure your flour is okay to use!

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Flour is subject to mold, stale smells, and in fact, old flour can cause fungal infections, flu, and vomiting after consumption. Buy flour in small amounts if you don’t use it too often, and save yourself, and your loved ones, from potential illness.

Running shoes

Most runners have a deep emotional attachment to their running shoes, and rightfully so; they’ve protected your feet, and given you support and comfort for your favorite activity. This is all the more reason it’s sad-hitting news that your running shoes, too, have a life that diminishes according to your use.

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Sports experts urge runners to replace their running shoes every few months, or after running about 400 miles in the shoes, whichever happens to come first. This lowers the chances of twisting your ankle, tripping, or any joint injury.

Towels

As towels dry you off after a shower, and get cleaned and dried, they lose their ability to dry properly. Medical professionals and décor experts agree, while there is nothing more comforting than being wrapped up like a burrito in a soft towel after a long day of work, replacing your towels every two years is a must.

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Changing your towels can save you from yeast infections, fungal and bacteria growth in places you don’t ever want to talk to your doctor about, and also towels that leave you dripping water all over your bathroom instead of drying up before that party you’re so excited for.

Bottled water

Water as an open and running source may not expire, and this gift of nature is the cure for many ailments and functions of the human body. But merchandised and bottled water may not be the safest place to store in the long run.

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Most brands sell their water bottled in plastic and disposable containers. The plastic that encases this water finds its way into the liquid due to weather changes and time, thus polluting the drink you were so keen on having with microplastics.

Cutting board

You’ve cooked a quick, mouth-watering meal for yourself every day for the last few months. If you’re eating healthily, chances are you’ve used a cutting board to chop up some herbs and vegetables. But unless you want a breeding ground of bacteria in your kitchen, food, and stomach, replace that board now!

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Chopping boards require replacement every two years. No matter how vigorously you clean and wipe the board, the material retains moisture and germs. The flat side of the board also changes in shape with repeated movement of knives on its surface, making it impossible to clean every nook of the board.

Fire extinguisher

Those who have fire extinguishers are usually warned that they need to be serviced regularly, but they tend to forget. Being careless about your extinguisher can cause devastating damages and regrets that you would never even wish on your worst enemy.

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If you’ve had a fire extinguisher lying around for a few months now, check the gauge to see if it’s operational. A quick check method is to shake the cylinder, and listen carefully to hear the foam moving inside it. If you don’t hear it, it’s more than likely time to replace the safety unit.

Iodized salt

Salt is an essential item in almost every home. It’s used in food, on ice when it snows, and so much more. It’s so functional! But did you know that this key ingredient from your pantry can actually go bad?

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While natural salt remains fit for consumption for much longer, more commonly available iodized salt needs to be replaced every four years. Using old salt in food can make it taste metallic and also harden, hurting your teeth while chewing.

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Why? The bristles on brushes are designed in a way that encloses bacteria and makes it next to impossible to clean thoroughly. Ideally, a toothbrush needs to be changed every three months, and almost immediately if you’ve had a cold recently.

Hand sanitizer

You probably live under a rock if you don’t know why a hand sanitizer is one of the most essential items to have on you right now. But because of its alcohol content, most people assume it can never expire. That is incorrect.

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A regular hand sanitizer is effective only for about two and a half years from the date of manufacture. It will still kill the germs on your hands after that time period, but only partly. Switch to a regular hand wash with soap and water wherever possible!

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are worn, in most circumstances, to protect your gaze from the harsh sun. Most people only dispose and replace their old pair of sunglasses once they’re scratched up or broken, but that isn’t necessarily the only criteria that you should consider.

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Harsh UV rays from the sun can cause many medical problems for us, including cataract issues, leaving many visually challenged. Over time and use, sunglasses become less effective in protecting our eyes. Researchers suggest getting yourself a new pair of cool shades if your current pair is about two years old.

Smoke detectors

As with fire extinguishers, you need to ensure a regular check-in with that reliable smoke detector in your building. Nope, replacing batteries doesn’t always do the trick, and since this is your safety we’re talking about, you should pay attention.

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Most smoke detectors have their date of manufacture and date of placement written on them. While your device is safe for a decade, it should not be forgotten about in the long run. Many travelers also check their device whenever they check into a new hotel.

Moisturizer and lotion

Once opened, your favorite scented lotion in a tube or jar is going to make your skin supple and soft for a few months. Then, it will start to dry out and not soak into your skin as effectively as it once did.

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In fact, lotions in jars instead of tubes are just a separate blooming planet for bacteria, and if you’re investing in lotions, we recommend buying small sized eco-friendly containers! Use clean hands to use, and get rid of any lotions that are more than a year old.

Brown rice

One of the increasingly popular types of rice, brown rice can go bad. Unlike other rice, like basmati or white rice, fiber-rich brown rice retains oil within the grain. Secretion of this oil causes moisture and other reduction in its overall protection.

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Buy smaller packets of rice, but if you have a large packet open right now, make sure it’s in an airtight container with no bugs and insects in it! If you haven’t looked at your brown rice in six months, best to get rid of it.

Refined coconut oil

As nature’s gift to humanity, extra virgin and natural coconut oils can be safely stored for almost an indefinite period of time. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for what is more commonly consumed in our food and skin; refined coconut oil.

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Pressed by humans, refined oil (read: depleted of goodness) has a shelf life of only about three months. It has none of the natural antioxidants found in extra virgin coconut oil and cannot be of efficient use after some time passes.

Helmets

Whether you’re a cyclist or a motorcycle rider, you know the importance of a helmet. Wearing it can save you from minor to fatal accidents that are bound to happen when you’re on the road. But did you know you might need to replace yours soon?

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Helmets lose their effectiveness over time, like many other safety devices. If you’ve ever had a fall with your helmet on, it has most likely taken a beating and scratched over. Replace yours according to need and manufacturer recommendations, please!

Potatoes

Are there old potatoes in your pantry right now? Are there overgrown and old plantings in your backyard? Get rid of them now! While they’re yummy to eat, potatoes can have a negative impact on your life and health depending on how old they are.

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The plant contains traces of solanine, a dangerous toxin, and the chances of exposure to this toxin are increased when potatoes sprout, or are overexposed to the sun. Store the produce in a cool and dry place, and don’t consume it if it’s green or sprouted!

Mattress

Yup, you read that correctly. The love of your life, the mattress on your bed that helps you sleep at night, needs to be replaced every few years. While regular mattresses can last anywhere between seven and ten years, if handled and cared for properly, this is not always the case.

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If you don’t follow the suggestion to regularly turn it over, and other guidelines for taking good care of your bedding, your mattress can get worn out quicker than you expect, with a depression shaped like your sleeping body sinking into it forever.

Milk

In case you didn’t know, almost all milk comes with a clear expiration date printed on it for a very good reason. Once opened and put in the refrigerator, your carton of milk should be consumed anywhere between three and seven days.

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You don’t want to know what spoiled milk tastes like, let alone what it can do to your stomach if you drink it. If you’re traveling and coming back home only after a few days, don’t keep milk in your fridge, expecting to have a chilled glass when you’re back.

Petroleum Jelly

A product derived from nature, petroleum jelly serves multiple purposes in our day-to-day lives. While it lasts for a long time if stored correctly, the big tub of Vaseline in your bathroom from when you were three years old probably needs to be thrown out.

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While housing bacteria in that tub, the moisture also helps it reproduce. It might not be the best idea to continue using the same tub of petroleum jelly on your skip and lips. Best to replace it as soon as possible.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Solutions of hydrogen peroxide usually have a shelf life of up to three years. This is because chemicals in the solutions break down and degrade in terms of effectiveness. It’s key to remember that this is an active ingredient in many common cleaning supplies.

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Opened bottles of hydrogen peroxide solution can deteriorate in quality in fewer than six months. Today might be a good time to recall when you got that disinfectant you use to clean your bathroom and mirror; it might not be doing the best job.

Contact lenses

Most medically approved contact lenses come with a clear expiration date, after which they strongly recommend not using the product. According to most doctors, long-term wear contact lenses should be replaced within three months. Since this is your eye health we’re talking about, we suggest you take this one seriously.

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Additionally, the contact lens solution you use, too, needs to be changed entirely after every use. Not visible to the naked eye, bacteria can form a layer on the lens and solution and find their way into your eyes and onto your fingers. An eye infection is never fun for anyone.

Razors

Many brands advertise their blades and razors for shaving hair as stainless steel, suggesting a reduced risk of bacteria and infections. But in reality, this depends entirely on how the blade is taken care of by the consumer – that would be you.

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Using disposable razors more than twice or three times on your skin can also irritate it, and give you horribly itchy rashes and boils. Overused blades also turn blunt over time, and can cause nicks and cuts to sensitive skin.

Skincare Products

Skincare products have become a vital part of everyone’s daily routines, with new trends of beauty coming and going at the speed of light. These products make our skin feel fresh and dewy, but their expense makes us blind to their expirations dates.

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Using expired products on your skin can lead to breakouts, rashes, or burning. Experts advise that you only buy the products you know you can use within six months of buying them. Storing and hoarding skincare products will not do you any good in the long run.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter sandwiches and smoothies are a quintessential cultural experience, but did you know this thick and nutty paste is not made to last a long time? Whether chunky or creamy, sweetened or not, make sure you read the expiration date on the bottle before you buy your favorite snack.

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Once opened, a jar of preserved peanut butter is safe to consume for about six months. If your bottle is unfinished by then, replace it instead of taking a chance. Unopened and sealed jars can last for about two years.

Sanitary pads and tampons

If you’re someone who menstruates, you need to know this: stockpiling on pads and tampons is not a good idea. Yes, it reduces the stress of a crampy walk to the store, if you realize you don’t have any left and your period has arrived, but it’s not worth it.

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These products are prone to mold and bacteria hosting if not stored in a cool and dark place. Additionally, after about three years, the sanitary products start to degrade and are not capable of their sole purpose of providing comfort and hygiene during your cycle.

Medicines

Like most things, especially those that may be stored in the bathroom, medicines also react with the air and moisture around them. Some drugs, however, can become super harmful for consumption to patients with medical needs if they are taken after they have expired.

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Chemicals are complicated, and in medicines, they break down over time. This can result in either a lack of competency or increased toxicity of the drug. Both have negative impacts on using and doctors advise you to refill your first aid and medicine cabinet every two years.

Paint

You can use old paint for touch-ups and scuff marks on your walls, but an open can of paint reacts with air almost instantly and starts to dry up. An unopened can of paint can last anywhere between three to five years.

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However, an opened can stored away for a few years may not be a fit candidate to be used on your delicate walls. Its application and fumes, both, will have undesired effects. As a hack, try covering your paint cans with a plastic sheet before closing the top on, making it as air-tight as possible.

Sunscreen

When only used for annual vacations, your bottle of sunscreen probably whiles away at the back of your dressing cabinet. Untouched for years, a bottle of sunscreen is no longer capable of protecting your skin against the harsh sunlight and UV rays.

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Dermatologists recommend replacing that tube of sunscreen every year, and potentially only buying how much ever you can utilize in that span of time. So don’t stock up! As with sunglasses, sunscreen is meant to protect your skin, so use it!

Insect repellant

Most insect repellent creams and sprays are safe to use for about three years from the time of manufacture, but as with anything else, these sprays also start to lose their efficiency. With creams, the rule of thumb used for lotions is a fair measure.

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However, in a spray can of a gel, if you cannot shake and gauge movement inside, or if the spray doesn’t smell as potent as it once did, it’s time to get yourself a new repellent. If you want to avoid bug bites, stay on top of this.

Car seats

Attachable car seats for young children are meant to act as a safety measure to prevent slipping and sliding at the back of the vehicle. But just like pacifiers, car seats should not be passed down from sibling to sibling.


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The composition of this protective seat gets compressed with the weight of the child, and healthcare experts warn parents that a car seat should be deemed ineffective after seven years of manufacturing. Needless to say, if the seat has ever faced an accident, its chances of protection are reduced, and it should be replaced now!

Mouthwash

As with sanitizer, many assume that because of its potency, a mouthwash bottle cannot go bad. This assumption could not be more wrong! After opening and having the liquid in contact with air and moisture, the mouthwash loses potency within two years.

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While the liquid losing its burning sensation might make you feel more powerful, it isn’t you getting used to the feeling; it’s the alcohol in the solution starting to dissolve, rendering the liquid practically useless. This is another item not to stock up on. Just buy as you need.

Toothpaste

A tube of opened toothpaste can stay safe to use for about two years. But during and after this time frame, the ingredients in the paste start to separate from each other, crystallizing in the process. This is less than ideal.


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The interaction of this old toothpaste can then cause ulcers, infections, and not lead to improved oral hygiene. More importantly, if an average-sized tube of toothpaste lasts for this long, you need to start brushing more. Your dentist will thank and praise you.

Herbs and spices

People across the world pride themselves on their herb and spice collection, but foolishly render these collections useless. While these deserve to be thrown and sprinkled into drool-worthy meal preparations, many store them away in cabinets to use for a rainy day.

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This might not be the smartest move on your part, though. Most spices are safe to use for about three years, after which eating them can cause severe digestive problems and clogged toilets. Keep an organized list of everything you need and use regularly, and buy those frequently.

Vegetable oil

Using expired and old vegetable oil can cause several medical issues, including heart disease, and several neurological conditions. The time frame within which to use a bottle of oil is shockingly low, at just about six months. Again, just buy what you need when you need it.

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Doctors prescribe that any and all vegetable oil that is more than six months old be replaced and not consumed in any form. Luckily, there are ways to judge the color and consistency of oil to figure out if the liquid is going bad.