Do Diapers Expire? (Is It Safe to Use Old Diapers?)

Baby diaper

Diapers are Godsend for many parents and in this case, we are talking about disposable diapers.  Cloth diapers were a lot of work and in regions where clothing is not machine-dried but instead sun-dried, cloth diapers became a challenge especially during bad weather.  This is why many parents then and today opt to stock up their disposable diapers to last them months.

Do Diapers Expire? Most diaper brands don’t expire instead they lose their effectiveness in areas such as absorbency, lose stickiness on the sides and in some cases a lose their elasticity or turn yellow. Still, they can be used.

However, many parents always wonder whether diapers expire. You will find them writing on forums and asking around if diapers expire.

Some will have diapers of various brands dating a few years back. They will wonder if it is safe to use those diapers. Do diapers expire?  This has become a common question for many parents.

What are Diapers made of?

Diapers are made of common materials that are known for their safe use for a long time. The average-sized diaper weighs between 1.4 and 1.8 ounces and is mostly made of cellulose, polypropylene, polyethylene and a super absorbent polymer.

There are also some tape, elastic and adhesive materials used during their manufacture.  However advances in the materials used to make the diapers have made them lighter, thinner, better performing and more environment-friendly.

Common Materials Found In Diapers

As a parent using diapers it is important to know what the diapers you use are made of:

Sodium Polyacrylate

This is a polymer that is often used in the diaper’s core and often acts as the main absorbent. A few decades back this polymer was used in tampons and caused toxic shock syndrome in women.

However, in diapers, it can be said to be safe since it is located on the outside and covered by layers of other material to prevent direct contact with baby’s skin.

The acrylic acid that is in some instances mixed with sodium  Polyacrylate is what has been the common cause of skin irritation in some babies.


Most dyes used in diapers are natural and safe for the skin, but in some cases, they have been known to cause rashes for babies with sensitive skin.

Volatile Organic  Compounds

There are some diapers in the market that have been known to emit compounds such as toluene and xylene.  These have also been known to irritate the baby’s skin.


These are chemicals that are emitted when wood pulp which a common ingredient used in the manufacture of diapers are bleached with chlorine. 

There have been instances where some diapers have retained some dioxin residue. However, the residue in most instances is too little to be considered harmful to the baby. 

In real sense dioxins that have been known to cause cancer are often found in the environment and less likely in diapers.

Armed with the knowledge of what these diapers contain, this allows parents to make an informed choice of the kind of diapers to use because some manufacturers indicate on their packaging what the diapers contain on the inside.

For safe diaper use, it is always advisable for parents to always change the baby’s diaper frequently and always go for eco-friendly diapers.


Do Diapers Generally expire?

According to findings from various diaper brands, diapers don’t expire but the different parts used to make the diaper are the ones that break down over time. 

For example, the cloth on the diaper may turn yellow after some time, the elastic waistband might also break down or lose its elasticity, the adhesive strips too may not be as sticky as when the pack was first opened but they will still work.

There have also been instances where diapers that have been opened for a long period failed to absorb moisture as effectively as when they were bought.

The diaper brands have informed customers that exposure of the diaper to a lot of moisture from the air will result in a reduction of their absorbency level. 

Most diaper companies advise consumers to repackage their diapers with tape or vacuum sealer when they know they will not use them for a long time to prevent moisture from the air from getting absorbed within them.

What is the expiry date of most diapers?

For most diapers, it can be said that the failure to work effectively after a certain period means expiry.  In most instances, the expiration date of baby diapers depends on their composition and the surroundings in which they are stored. Most diaper brands don’t write their expiry dates but they do have expiry dates.

Most of the diapers have a shelf life of 2 years. However, for those types that are made with an elastic waistband, their shelf life could be less than a year. Most of them last less than a year and the elastic not only loosens but becomes discolored as well.

They can still be used but they will not be as fresh and effective as they should. In most cases, the adhesive might fail due to prolonged exposure to heat in its storage surroundings. If you have to store your diapers, ensure that you store them in a cool dry place as indicated in most diaper packs.

About the expiry dates, let us have a look at the various diaper brands and find out whether they expire or not.

Do Pampers Expire

Pampers a popular diaper brand and according to their statement their diapers don’t have any expiration date or shelf life. Their performance over some time will not change but depending on how or where you store them, they might have some fading in their color or change from the way they smell.

However, this will never affect their performance. Pampers diapers will also lose their scent if you don’t use them for three years unless you store them in a cold-compact area.

So if you buy stock to last you months don’t worry about them expiring because you can store them in a cold compact area and use them for as long as you need them.

Baby diaper

Do Huggies Expire?

Huggies another popular diaper brand has had questions about if their diapers expire. As per the official Huggies Facebook page, an expiration date is not required for their training pants and disposable underwear however they state that their diapers lack any ingredients that expire.

Still,  they indicate that the performance of their diapers may decrease slightly after 3 years without use from the date of manufacture.

Do Luvs Diapers Expire?

Luvs diapers like Pampers are made by Procter &  Gamble and are less priced. Similar to pampers diapers, luvs diapers also don’t have an expiration date but they lose their performance with time.

The materials used in their manufacturer are chemically stable and would not degrade if well stored in a cold and compact area.

Do Swim Diapers Expire?

Swim diapers are also another brand that is known and just like the other disposable diapers they lack an expiration date.  The materials used in their manufacture might degrade with time. This is why their effectiveness could reduce with time.

Do Parent’s Choice Diapers Expire?

Parent’s Choice diapers may not be as popular as Huggies or Pampers but they perform the same function.  Their quality compared to the two popular brands is wanting.

Still, they can be used for a long time of course when stored well in good conditions meaning in a cool, dry and compact place to avoid moisture absorption and degradation of the materials used to make them.

Do Kirkland Diapers

Kirkland diapers are great diapers to use for some time but once you have them for more than three years you will notice a change of their appearance which will be discoloration to a slight yellow.

You will also notice their difference in performance over time because they will not work as effectively as when you first bought them.

Do Baby Ganics diapers expire?

Just like the other diapers, Baby Ganics diapers don’t have an expiry date according to the information on their packaging. They recommend storage in a cool, dry and compact place and state how when left unused for a long period they might reduce their performance.

As per the information on the diapers above,  on whether diapers of various brands expire, it is obvious that diapers genuinely don’t expire. 

For all these diapers that don’t expire, which are most of them in this case, there is a reduction of their effectiveness after a certain period has passed.

For most diapers, after around 3 years, the adhesives that hold diaper sides together become less sticky. Even though the diapers will still stick together in some instances you might be forced to add tape to hold them in place. 

After such a period the diapers also happen to lose their absorbency because of the intake moisture from their surroundings.

Can Expired Diapers Be Used

It is obvious that the moment a diaper loses its elasticity, becomes less sticky or turns yellow, it has begun its expiry journey. Many parents will wonder whether it is safe to use them.

For such diapers, there is nothing wrong with using them. They will still serve their purpose though not as well as new diapers.

You will find them less absorbent and the sticky sides less sticky. Such diapers are also more likely to leak and stain your baby’s clothes.

If you are traveling or going for an outing, it would only be proper if you dress your baby in new diapers and carry only the new ones as extras to avoid such leakages.

Is It Safe To Use Old Diapers

Old diapers can be used and they will not harm the baby and except for the leakages, they still serve the same purpose. But it is important to keep diapers not for more than 2 years unused.

What to do with old diapers

Old diapers don’t have to be lying around. If you don’t want to use them on your baby, there are various things you can do with them they aren’t just for holding baby’s pee and poop!

Mopping spills

You can use old diapers to mop spills, dirt and any messes that the baby makes or any small kitchen messes that happen and require instant cleaning.

Holding Ice Packs in Place

If your old diaper is a size 5 then you are going to have happy joints after your intense workout. Simply wrap the diapers around your knees and hold it in place with a piece of cloth.

Put it on the dog

You can also use your old diapers on your dog.  Put it on him to keep him from peeing on your rug if he hasn’t been trained yet. He could also be an elderly dog with a tiny bladder.

Wrap your chilled drinks

During summer when it is hot and the cold drinks are what your heart craves, no need to sweat it. Just grab an old diaper and ensure that your hands don’t freeze while you enjoy your drink and that it remains cool on that hot summer afternoon.

As a potholder.

When cooking in the kitchen, you can avoid burns and slips by using your old diapers as a potholder. A diaper makes an awesome potholder and enables you to cook and serve your meals safely.

As slippers

Okay, remember those cold months when the tiled or wooden floor gets cold and stepping on it is uncomfortable? Rather than baring the cold and walking barefoot, consider turning your expired diapers into slippers. They make quite comfortable slippers and will protect your feet from the cold floor.

Sell them online

There are sites out there that will take in diapers from the 1980s if you have them and they go for a really good price. Some collectors would value old pampers from another era and are ready to pay a good price if you have them.  Sites like eBay are great for putting such items on for sale.

There you have it, all the information about diapers and whether they expire along with some fun things you can do with your expired diapers. You now know that diapers don’t expire exactly but their performance reduces with time.


Hi there, I am Monica mother of one and this is my blog. I share some useful tips about pregnancy and specially parenting. xoxo

Recent Posts