Items That Are Dangerous After They Expire

Items That Are Dangerous After They Expire

Oct 13, 2020Eric

Nothing lasts forever. While we may think that certain household items are obviously prone to spoilage, like food, other things we think last forever do not. What's more, when these items become spoilt or are past their prime, they are not only useless but can also be harmful if left around for too long. It's important to know what items can be kept for a long time, and which cannot. 


We don't think of medicines as having an expiry date, but they do. While there is not a difference between over-the-counter medications and prescription medications, some medicines can lose their effectiveness if they are stockpiled for a long time. The debate over whether it is a risk to take them or not is also still on-going, so better to err on the side of caution and get yourself a new bottle. 

Running Shoes 

The elements that support and protect a runner's feet can degrade over time, leaving your feet and legs vulnerable to increased damage. There isn't a precise timeline of when to throw away old running shoes, but if they start to make you feel uncomfortable that is a good sign that it's time to get a new pair. 

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Make-Up and Cosmetics 

Make-up and cosmetics feature a lot of natural and artificial ingredients that can degrade over time. And because of chemical degradation, these ingredients can turn into something else that you want to avoid entirely. If the make-up changes color or smells off, or if it separates into different liquids that can all mean it's time to ditch that eye-liner and treat yourself to a new one. 

Creams and Lotions 

Topical creams and lotions can also go bad after a long period of non-use. The creams most prone to expiry are face creams, as they contain more active ingredients than other typical lotions or moisturizers. Make sure to use your face, hand, or body cream regularly until it runs out so you don't run into this problem. 

Disposable Razors 

They're not called "disposable" razors for nothing. Your favorite brand of disposable razor has a limited life, as it was meant to have. Depending on the brand, a disposable razor can last for up to four shaves or less. While there is no inherent danger to shaving with an expired razor, the dull blades can defeat the purpose of shaving and make for some infections if used too long. 

Fire Extinguishers 

This is one item you don't want to let expire. While you may think that the steel casing of a fire extinguisher makes it last forever, it is actually the foam inside that can become ineffective. Fire extinguishers come equipped with pressure gauges that show how much pressure is left inside. If the indicator is red, then it's time to recharge it or get a new one. 


Do sunglasses expire? Yes, they do, kind of. While sunglasses are not made from materials that easily deteriorate, what can get worn down over time is the coating on the lenses. After a long time, the ability of sunglasses to filter out harmful UV light can degrade, which leaves your eyes vulnerable to sun damage. Two years is the maximum for keeping your pair, but you can always switch out the lenses if you are still in love with the frames. 

Bath Puffs or Loofahs 

Whatever you want to call them, these bath sponges or loofahs are not meant to last forever. Not only to the synthetic fibers and materials degrade over time, but they can also harbor bacteria if not disposed of in a timely fashion. A typical bath puff can last for up to four weeks, but after that, it is time to toss it and get a new one. 

Kitchen Sponges 

A typical kitchen, or, bath sponge can go through a lot in its short life. Not including the fact that it can be used to clean up many different messes, which can cause cross-contamination, bacteria can begin to grow on the sponge itself if it has been used for too long. That means that instead of cleaning you can be spreading more contamination than cleaning it up. Give your sponge the heave-ho once a week. 


Bleach can be a powerful cleanser, disinfectant, and washing ingredient, but not if it has been left to degrade for a long time. Bleach has an approximate shelf life of about six months after it is opened, but after that, it can lose up to 20% of its effectiveness. So if you are using bleach to clean and disinfect your house, make sure you are using a fresh bottle. 

Cleaning Products 

Bleach can expire, and so can more specific cleaning products like your floor waxes, window cleaners, and all-purpose cleaning materials. The chemicals in these products can, like all chemicals, degrade over time and with exposure to sunlight and air. This is especially true for cleaners that have anti-bacterial properties like wipes. But, rest easy, it takes up to two years for them to expire. 

Bike Helmets 

Bike helmets are built to protect our most vulnerable part, but they can't do that forever. Bike helmets do not "expire" in the strictest sense of the word, but they should be replaced about every five years. A bike helmet that has been involved in an accident should be replaced immediately, though, as the insulating foam inside will not protect you after that.


Batteries do eventually give out, even rechargeable ones. The chemicals inside a battery cannot always maintain the same charge as when the cells were first manufactured. Batteries also come with expiry dates, and while passing that date doesn't mean the cell is no good, it does mean that it will not function as it once did and may even explode on you. You should always use fresh batteries to power important things like smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

This is another item that you don't want to go bad on you at the worst possible time. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are battery-powered so their cells need changing from time to time. But the experts say that either one can lose its effectiveness between five and ten years, so if your detector has been hanging for that long, it may be time to hang it up for good. 


Unused paint is useful for when surfaces need a touch-up, but don't make them wait forever. Unopened paint can last for up to two years, but an opened can of leftover paint starts to degrade immediately when exposed to light and air. The expiry dates can vary, but a tell-tale sign that paint has gone bad is an inflated can, which means the paint has been slowly degrading and building up gas inside, which can be harmful if inhaled. 

Which items were you surprised had an expiration date? Will you start to look differently at some of the items in your house now? Do you know any items that can expire that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below. There are a lot of things you have to do to keep yourself safe, which includes knowing when and when not to use items. While cases of people being harmed by expired items are rare, it is still a good idea to be mindful that some things need to be replaced as they can cause problems for you later on.

⚠︎ Medical Disclamer

The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, and images contained on, or available through this is for general information purposes only. does not take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this article. Before undertaking any course of treatment please consult with your healthcare provider.