End-of-life cleaning solutions: can we use them?
Did you know that cleaning household products have an expiration date? You certainly check the use-by date (DLC) of your foodstuffs when shopping. Be aware that household solutions also expire. While most end-of-life liquids and powders remain usable, their effectiveness is not guaranteed.
The expiry date of common cleaning products
From descaling detergent for toilets to window spray, all cleaning solutions have a date stamped on their packaging. To begin, let’s take a look at the average shelf life of the most commonly used cleaning products:
- Laundry: it tends to lose its properties after 6 months of opening, 9 months if closed.
- Softener: it sees its effectiveness drop after 1 year.
- Bleach: works fully for 3 months in concentrated form, 1 year if ready to use.
- Multi-surface spray: it remains perfectly effective for up to 2 years.
- Dishwashing liquid: it guarantees a degreasing action for at least 18 months.
- Aerosol: it retains its properties for up to 2 years on average.
- Black soap: it is not perishable despite the date on the packaging.
- White vinegar or alcohol: it is non-perishable like soap.
- Bicarbonate of soda: it retains its effectiveness beyond the date indicated.
In reality, the dates mentioned on the boxes and bottles are given as an indication. Many other factors are taken into account in the preservation of the properties of cleaning products, such as storage conditions (ambient temperature, humidity, and light) and the nature of the solutions (powder, liquid). Just keep in mind not to overstay the mentioned date.
Is it still possible to use these products?
Whatever the expiry date of household solutions, it is possible to continue to use them for home maintenance. If the manufacturers advise to respect the dates indicated on the packaging, they remind that the use of cleaning products is possible. Only their intrinsic quality may decrease, which will probably require a little more effort to remove the dirt or even an increase in doses.
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If we take the example of bleach, it will tend to lose effectiveness due to the drop in the percentage of active chlorine after 6 months of opening. This loss of surfactant properties, therefore, makes it necessary to increase the quantities in order to obtain the same result. On the other hand, there does not seem to be any increase in the toxicity of the products, therefore no additional risks for health or for the treated surfaces.
How can we recycle our cleaning solutions safely?
Have you just found end-of-life cleaning products in a cupboard or in the garage and you hesitate to use them? If you are reluctant to use them, know that it is possible to recycle them. Be careful though: do not throw them in the trash or put them in selective sorting. This could prevent any future recovery of the waste contained in the bin or bin.
It is also necessary to avoid pouring the remains of liquid into the pipes so as not to risk impacting the environment with the harmful elements that compose them (hydrochloric acid, ammonia, sulfuric acid, etc.). The treatments carried out in wastewater treatment plants are currently not able to eliminate all the components, the rest leaving directly in nature.
Sara has completed her education in marketing and started her career as a digital marketer. She is a content writer by profession. And she would love to add multiple things to her knowledge that she can add to her writing style. She writes about cleaning services in Sydney like upholstery cleaning in Penrith.