When we all go to the supermarket, most of us automatically check the expiration date on any product before tossing it into our shopping carts.
It is needless to say that we are even more diligent while buying products for our baby or toddler. It is important to keep an eye on the expiry date or best before date– but some products like baby wipes do not have an expiry date on their packages.
So, does it means baby wipes don’t expire? Well, baby wipes don’t have an expiration date, but they do have a shelf life. Most baby wipes have a shelf life of two years, provided they are unopened. However, the shelf life of opened packages varies according to different storage conditions as well as the brand and type of wipes you use.
So what makes the baby wipes go bad & how to store the wipes to help them last longer? Keep reading this post to wipe off all your queries regarding baby wipes.
If Baby Wipes Don’t Really Expire, Then What Happens?
Baby wipes don’t really expire, but there are a lot of things that can happen to a package of baby wipes that have crossed its shelf life:
Wipes Can Dry Out: Baby wipes contain water along with certain natural or chemical preservatives. Sometimes, even when the package is sealed properly or unopened, the water can evaporate through tiny gaps in the package to dry out the wipes and make them too dry to be used on your baby’s soft skin.
Wipes contain more than 95% water and hence their proper storage is important to retain that water. Even in properly sealed packages, the water might evaporate to leave the wipes dry and ineffective to use.
Wipes Become Less Effective: Wipes contain moisturizing oils and soapy water to aid in cleaning, but these ingredients might breakdown with time to lose their potency, especially if wipes have passed their shelf life.
Sometimes, these ingredients might accumulate at the bottom of the wipes package to leave them ineffective and unfit to use.
While soapy consistency of the wipes can still be checked, it is difficult to check its moisturizing capability and hence if you feel that the pack looks unfit to use, then it is better to toss the pack in your dustbin or use it for house cleaning purpose.
Mold Accumulation: Molds are fungal colonies that might grow even in the unopened pack of baby wipes. Contamination is more common in wipes made up of natural ingredients.
Even in the most sanitized wipes, there is a chance of contamination and in such cases, it is best to discard the wipes. If you see black or gray spots on the wipes, then it is better to discard the pack as it is unhygienic to use these wipes for any purpose.
How to Check The Expiry
Most of you would have noticed that expiry or best before date is not mentioned in baby wipes packages of many brands. So how to check the expiry of those brands?
Let’s look at what some of the major baby brands have to say about baby wipes expiry dates:
- Huggies says that all its unopened wipes have a shelf life of 2 years.
- Pampers writes on their Facebook page that unopened packages should be used within 30 months from the date of production.
- Most major wipes makers, who don’t print an expiry date on their packages seem to agree that their unopened wipes packages have a shelf life of about two to three years.
- Some manufacturers mention the expiry date at the back of the package. An expiry date is usually printed on the edge or bottom of the package, or underneath the flap.
Is It Safe to Use Expired Wipes?
Well, you are in luck, even an expired pack of baby wipes is probably still safe to use. But, it is safe to rotate your stock of wipes because even if they don’t turn bad, wipes might deteriorate in quality.
To understand this in a better and deeper way, let’s learn what makes these wipes to last long. Manufacturers add certain chemicals, preservatives, and natural ingredients to the wipes to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth.
Hence, the safety of wipes varies with the manufacturer. While wipes with chemical preservatives might still be safe to use after expiry, wipes with natural ingredients have an increased risk of mold accumulation.
Hence, it is probably best to discard those wipes as using infected wipes might expose your baby to allergies and infections.
How Long Do Baby Wipes Last if Unopened?
Most unopened wipe packages have a shelf life of two to three years. As I have described earlier in the post, wipes don’t expire but they might turn dry, ineffective or develop mold.
Once the baby wipes are opened, they remain fresh up to a year, provided the pack is sealed properly and is kept away from sunlight and heat.
It is important to store the wipes perfectly after opening, as the water content of the wipes can evaporate very fast if the flap is left open or is not sealed properly. It is best to store wipes at room temperature.
Do Seventh Generation Baby Wipes Expire?
Seventh-generation baby wipes also have a shelf life of two years or longer, provided the pack is unopened and is stored in appropriate conditions.
Since these wipes are hypoallergenic and free from alcohol and parabens, there is more chance of mold accumulation in such wipes, especially if they are past their expiry date.
The seventh-generation baby wipes contain aloe vera or natural oils as moisturizers and a preservative like sodium benzoate to arrest microbial growth.
It is important to seal these wipes properly as the increased water content in these wipes makes them more susceptible to drying out or to get contaminated by mold accumulation.
Do Water Wipes Expire?
Most water wipes contain 99.9% water and grapefruit seed extract along with traces of benzalkonium chloride. Like other wipes, water wipes also have a shelf life.
Most manufacturers recommend using these wipes within 15 months from the date of manufacture and within one month of opening.
Water wipes do not contain any chemical to bind the liquid to the wipes. Hence, sometimes water can migrate to the bottom of the wipe pack.
If you experience such an issue and your wipe packet is within the expiry date, then you can reseal the pack accurately and turn it upside down.
Then, gently massage the wipe pack and leave it for a few minutes. This will redistribute the liquid evenly throughout the pack and will help to restore the wetness of the wipes.
What To Do With Expired Wipes?
Luckily, expired baby wipes can be utilized for a lot of purposes. Believe it or not, every household needs the magic of these excellent cleaning aids in their cupboard.
Let’s see how these wipes can be an excellent arsenal for your beauty regime or an excellent aid for your home cleaning work.
Baby wipes for beauty:
- Wipes are an excellent way to remove your eye makeup. The dried wipes can be moistened either with pain water or baby oils and cleansers to remove even the stubborn smoky eye make-up in seconds. Wipes are also very gentle on your delicate eyes and very effective at cleaning. Also, wipes are cheaper than those beauty wipes and work equally well.
- Wipes are also helpful for your manicure and pedicure regime. Use wipes to quickly wipe the nail polish or to moisturize your cuticles. They are also helpful in cleaning the nails and polishing vitamin E oil or other lotions to protect your nails.
- Dry wipes are also excellent at removing excess lotions and oils from your body. Poured excess oil or lotion on your body– don’t worry– just use a wipe to clean off the mess.
- Wipes moistened with baby oil acts as an excellent aid to wipe your skin clean and wax-free after waxing. It’s not just gentle on your skin but also moisturizes your recently-waxed sensitive skin.
Baby Wipes for Cleaning:
- Wipes are an excellent way to remove dust and give an instant shine to your kitchen, bathroom and living room furniture and fixtures. You can even use wipes to clean the dust off your indoor plants. Wipes attract and accumulate dust to its surface and hence are very effective at cleaning the outside of your refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, etc.
- Are you unhappy with a dirty keyboard or screen? Don’t worry, wipes are there to your rescue. Wipes are designed for babies and hence are an excellent way to clean dirty laptops, television or mobiles. You can use dry water wipes for this purpose.
- Use wipes as a substitute for toilet paper. If you have run out of toilet roll, don’t worry, use these wipes instead. But remember, do not flush these wipes.
- Accidental spills and stains on the sofa, carpet, and mattresses can be managed by the use of wipes. Wipes are good at absorbing excess fluids and also great at rubbing off the stain. Just dab these wipes with liquid detergent and rub off the area to remove the stains.
- Wipes can be used to clean boots, leather bags or shoes.
- You can also use wipes to clean your baby’s toys to make them shiny and germ-free.
- Use wipes to clean kitchen spills. Wipes are super-absorbent and are a mess-free way to keep your kitchen clean.
- Use wipes to mop or dust the floor. Wipes can stick to most of the mops– just spray some all-purpose cleaning liquid onto the wipes and get a quick and cheap way to clean your home.
- Use baby wipes to clean dirty switchboards.
- Use baby wipes to clean dirt and germ-ridden public spots like lift buttons, public telephones, toilet seats, etc.
- Wipes can be used to clean blackboards or whiteboards.
- Use baby wipes to remove crayon marks from your walls or rugs almost instantly.
- Wipes can be used for a variety of purposes like cleaning ink or paint stains from your hands, cleaning mud and dirt from your bikes or cars, cleaning your mats, cleaning your car, and so on.
Can I add water to renew dry wipes?
Yes, dried out wipes can be restored by adding distilled water. Just mix a cup of distilled water, add a few drops of lavender oil, add two tablespoons of baby oil, and if you want you can add a tablespoon of your favorite baby wash also.
Stir the mixture gently to avoid bubbles. Pour this mixture over the dried pack of wipes and seal the package accurately. Turn the package upside down and massage it gently. Leave the package for a few minutes.
Make sure you add enough liquid to wet the wipes evenly. Too much liquid can leak out of the packet and will result in dripping wipes which are messy to use. Alternatively, you can store the liquid in a spray bottle and spray it on the dried wipes before using them.
Do Baby Wipes Sanitize?
Yes, baby wipes are formulated to disinfect and clean. Wipes can remove a great number of germs and bacteria and are hence recommended for diaper changes.
But, antibacterial wipes can irritate your baby’s skin and so, most parents are switching to seventh-generation wipes or wipes made from natural ingredients.
Even the natural wipes contain some chemical preservatives to keep the wipes sterile and free from molds. But, these preservatives are gentle on the skin and are considered hypoallergenic. Antibacterial wipes, on the other hand, are known to cause skin allergies and infections and hence are not recommended nowadays.