June 12, 2024

Senior News Line: Expired items in the house

Most people know when fruits and veggies have gone bad or when leftovers start looking like a science experiment and should be thrown away, but there are numerous items in your house that can go bad without any obvious manifestations.

Remember that bottle of antibacterial hand soap you tucked into the back of the cabinet when the COVID pandemic first started?

People were in a panic and shelves were running low on so many things, including that hand soap. Perhaps you grabbed two — one to use and one to keep for a spare, just in case.

Meanwhile, as you needed another one, you bought it and kept that spare in the cabinet. If that bottle is still there, it’s likely expired.

Antibacterial hand soap is one of those things with an expiration, or at least a lot code that will indicate when it was manufactured.

Quite a few things seems to have a shelf life of two to three years before expiration, which means that if you bought them at the beginning of the pandemic, they’re likely expired.

The reason they go bad is that one or more of the ingredients doesn’t hold up over time. We’re used to looking for expiration dates on food, but hand soap — who knew?

The list of household products that can expire is long. Hand sanitizers, shampoo, hand lotion, toothpaste, mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, bug spray, deodorant, bar soap, dish detergent and so many more.

There are a few places online where you can put in the brands of the items you want to check, as well as the lot codes.

The codes are tricky — you’ll likely need a magnifying glass. Don’t use the bar code.

You’ll need to hunt on the container for the actual manufacturer, not just the product name. The lot number might be etched on the bottom or sides of the container. Holding it up to a lamp helps you spot the number.

Confusing? Yes, it is.

Two places to check for expiration of hundreds of items are checkexp.com and checkcosmetic.net. If in doubt, call the manufacturer.

Matilda Charles

© 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.