Does Laundry Detergent Expire?

While thinking about cleaning clothes, laundry detergent comes first. We can’t even think of cleaning clothes without laundry detergent. And undoubtedly, it’s a vital in our daily life.

We all know that buying more than one can save money as well. That’s why, most often, we stock this in large numbers getting the “buy 1 get 1 offer” from super shops. Therefore, you may have a query, does laundry detergent expire!

You know everything has an expiration date. Hence, the same thing goes for laundry detergent. Indeed, it has a long shelf life.

But it comes to expiration after a certain period of time. However, it doesn’t increase its toxicity; instead, it reduces its effectiveness. Some of them don’t lose effectiveness or expire until the detergent is exposed to air, humidity, or water.

There are a few more things you should know about the expiration of laundry detergent. Let’s move into the facts.

Does laundry detergent expire
Does laundry detergent expire

Does Liquid laundry detergent expire?

Liquid laundry detergent never becomes useless if sealed. Nonetheless, if opened, it just reduces effectiveness but never comes to an end.

There is no such detergent as liquid detergent that is supposed to be effective in a convenient way. Not only that, liquid detergent is long-lasting compared to other forms of detergent.

The texture of the liquid detergent is totally different from powder detergent. Additionally, liquid detergent is the gel form of detergent, that’s why it doesn’t get dry easily, even if left open.

Does laundry detergent expire
Does laundry detergent expire

The chemical formulation of liquid detergent combines the chemicals that are given below.

  • Anionic surfactants
  • Anionic surfactants
  • Phosphate,
  • Phosphonate derivatives
  • Bleach agent like chlorine bleach,
  • Solvents, etc.

(Source Link: Liquid detergent ingredients )

Including all these chemicals mixed with almost 60-90% water, liquid laundry detergent is formed. For this liquid formulation, it doesn’t get dried and does not lose efficacy easily.

Here, chlorine bleach is one laundry product that should be monitored closely for usage dates. When a bottle of chlorine bleach is opened and exposed to light and air, it loses its potency almost instantly.

After six months, an opened bottle of chlorine bleach degrades into an ineffective cleaning solution and should be thrown away.

Here, other chemicals that are used in liquid detergent help to get rid of that fact. All in all, we can conclude that liquid laundry detergent doesn’t expire at all.

Does Powder laundry detergent expire

Does laundry detergent expire
Does Powder laundry detergent expire 

Powder laundry detergent does not come to expiration. Over time, the chemical formulation of powder detergent starts to break down and gradually become weaker.

First thing first, you must know about the core ingredients of powder detergent. These are as follows:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Ethanol
  • Cyclodextrin,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Alcohol Ethoxylate,
  • Amine Oxide,
  • Carboxymethyl Cellulose,
  • Alkyl (or Alcohol),
  • Diethyl Ester Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride,
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol,
  • Propylene Glycol,
  • Sodium Hypochlorite,
  • Sodium Carbonate,
  • Zinc Phthalocyanine,
  • Percarbonate, etc.

As powder detergent is totally dry, and sensitive to air and moisture, it easily gets dry. Moreover, powders become cakey and lumpy. It might be called “expire” when it fails to clean clothes. It can happen, but like a blue moon.

Does Laundry Pods detergent expire

There is lots of doubt about the expiration of detergent. But an interesting fact is that there is no requirement in North America for household detergents to include an expiration date.

Does laundry detergent expire
Does laundry detergent expire

Just like that, pods have no specific date of expiration. Though it gets dry, becomes powdery, loses fragrance, and the colors fade away, PODS have a 15-month average shelf life.

However, as the shelf life has been fixed by the manufacturer, you can still use it even after the expiration date is over.

The reason for the pods not to expire is that they have a bacteria fighting formula. That’s why it is never attacked by bacteria or fungus and remains new even after the stamped shelf life has ended

Does Laundry Sheets detergent expire

Nowadays, sheet detergent has become the most popular cleaning agent for its convenience and effectiveness. A laundry sheet looks like it loses power when it becomes dry over time. But, the thing is, dryer sheets do not even expire or go bad!

Does Laundry Sheets detergent expire

Pre-moistened sheets can mildew or dry out if the environment around the pods is not suitable. And if they are mildewed, there is a possibility that it will not work. By adding a few tablespoons of water to the container, sheets can be made reusable.

Does Homemade laundry detergent expire

Many of us try may to make homemade detergent inspired by some YouTube videos, right? These homemade detergent are cost effectiveness and also eco friendly.

Does Homemade laundry detergent expire

There are fewer ingredients used in homemade detergents. But a problem arises from the lack of powerful chemicals. In that case, mildew can grow on homemade washing detergent. Moreover, it doesn’t include any bacterial inhibitors, so it has a short shelf life.

They can also soon get cakey due to the lack of anti-caking additives in these goods. Another thing is that homemade detergents are not sealed from the beginning. So it is easily affected by air, light, and water.

The shelf life of homemade detergent is less than 3 months.

Does laundry soap expire

Does laundry soap expire

Laundry soap is not like food. Therefore, you don’t have to finish it before the expiry date that is mentioned on the packet of laundry soap.

It can be used even after the expiry date passes. In this case, make sure that the detergent did not come into contact with air, water, or humidity in any way before opening the packet.

Does laundry detergent lose its effectiveness

Basically, laundry detergent comes in four forms. They are powder, liquid, pods, and sheets. Though their textures are different, their effectiveness is almost the same.

Now you might be thinking, does laundry detergent lose its effectiveness? Whatever the type is, laundry detergent does not lose its effectiveness but reduces eventually. Laundry detergent is sensitive to air, water, heat, and moisture.

How long is laundry soap good for?

laundry soap

Laundry soap is less oily. Hence, it becomes dry and cracked and loses its usefulness sooner than other detergents. However, there is no obligation to follow the expiration date mentioned in the packet. Rather, it can be usable in a sense as long as it doesn’t get dried, cracked, and become orangish.

How long does liquid detergent last?

How long does liquid detergent last?

When you have a lot of liquid detergent in stock, it may make you wonder, does liquid laundry detergent expire?

The answer is simple. If you are not opening the jar and keeping it in a cool place, it will be OK for years. But, after opening the jar, they are best used within 6-12 months.

However, like other laundry detergents, there is no hard and fast rule for using it for a certain period of time. It can be used until it can wash clothes without any trouble.

How long is laundry detergent good for

Laundry detergent hardly loses its efficacy if the packet is sealed. Hence, a question may arise: does laundry detergent go bad? Well, it goes bad if the pack is unsealed.

Not only that, if the sealed packet comes into contact with extreme heat, that can be another reason for it going bad. Yet, the answer to the query, depends on the packet, whether it is sealed or not.

How long does detergent pods last?

How long does detergent pods last?

In terms of fighting against stains, pods are excellent cleaning agents. And here, it’s a basic thing to know, does laundry detergent pods expire?

Usually, laundry detergent pods do not lose their activity or lose effectiveness unless they have been exposed to moisture, heat, or water. But most of the packs mentioned the “best-before” date, which is around 15 months.

Fortunately, you can still use pods (e.g. Tide Laundry Pods) even if their ‘best-before’ date has passed.

What happens if you use expired laundry detergent?

We have already come to know that we can use detergent even if it passes the expiration date. However, there may remain a question : what happens if you use expired laundry detergent?

Actually, nothing significant happens. With a little effort, you can bring the best from the expired detergent. Check out the table to know after using expired detergent, what happens and in that case, what to do.

Types of laundry detergentCondition of detergent if loses effectivenessIssues that may arise Solution 
Powder Powder turns hard and cakeyIt becomes hard to dissolve and may clog the dispenser.Before using, mix it with warm water. Keep stirring until dissolved. Then I used to wash clothes.
LiquidLiquid becomes lumpy, clumpy. And it looks like frozen ice. Lose its fragrance, may clog the dispenser of washer, and lose oxygen that lowers the efficacy.Shake it well before using it.Doing that the lumpse will vanish and will work better.
Pods/tabletsBecome more dry, hard and powderyIrritate skin, hard to dissolve.Keep it in a warm water for sometimes and let it be dissolvedin the water then it will be eligible to use. 
SheetsBecome hard and dryLose efficacy and fragrance.Once it loses its moisture, soak it in water for a few minutes that can increase the eligibility to wash. 
What happens if you use expired laundry detergent?

The reason why detergent soaps don’t expire easily

The chemical formula of detergent is built up of the ingredients that are not perishable.  The main ingredients are the following,

  • Soda ash,
  • Phosphates,
  • Formaldehyde,
  • Chlorine Bleach,
  • Sodium perborate,
  • Ammonium Sulfate,
  • Carboxymethyl chloride,
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate/ Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLS/ SLES),
  • Dioxane (1,4 Dioxane/Dioxan/Diethylene Ether/Diethylene Dioxide), etc.

If we talk about each of these substances separately, except the chlorine bleach, they have a shelf life of roughly six months to a year once they’ve been opened.

If they are still sealed, chances are they may still be good even if they have passed the expiration date. The only thing they require is an airtight container for best use.

Since these components are present in detergent, detergent contains their  attributes. And that’s the reason why detergent lasts for years.

Shelf life of detergents

When storing detergent, it’s important to understand how long different types of detergent last. Here’s a table to help you figure out which detergent is ideal based on its shelf life.

However, the table will assist you in making a decision. Take a look and decide.

Types of detergentShelf life (Sealed)Shelf life (Opened)
Powder DetergentNever expiredBecome hard and cakey within 1 or 2 week but still work. But should be discarded if not work.
Liquid Detergent2-3 yearsBest used within 6-12 months
Laundry Pods6-12 monthsBest used within 3 months or become too dry to use
Laundry Sheets18 monthsBest used within 2-3 months or become too dry to use
Homemade Detergent2 monthsThe sooner it finishes the better
Shelf life of detergents

Tips and tricks to preserve detergent:

As it is known, detergent can be used even after the expiry date has passed. Nevertheless, perfect preservation of detergent is mandatory.

Different types of detergent have different textures. Hence, different textures mean different chemical formulations. For that reason, the preservation method is also different.

Have a look at the preservation process of different types of detergent that is given below,

  • Powder laundry detergent preservation
  • Store it in a dry place and keep it unsealed. Otherwise, the product may become hard and makes it difficult to dissolve.
  • Keep it at a stable temperature. The temperature should be in the range of 10–25 degrees Celsius. 
  • Liquid laundry detergent preservation
  • Keep it at a stable, cool temperature as it’s sensitive to heat. Contact with excessive heat will separate the active components of a liquid and even destabilize it. At very low temperatures, it can freeze and become unstable. The perfect temperature is 10-12 degrees Celsius.
  • Keep it in an airtight container or keep it unsealed unless you use it.
  • Pods laundry detergent for preservation
  • Keep it in a dry place and make sure the inside of the pack remains dry as it is sensitive to air and water.
  • Keep it in a zip-top bag after opening the packet.
  • Sheets laundry detergent for preservation
  • Keep in a dry and well ventilated area.
  • Keep it in a zip-locked bag if the packet once opened.

If you preserve sealed detergents following the above instructions, you can use them for years.

FAQ

Does laundry detergent expire if not opened?

Most probably, the answer will be yes until the detergent packet gets damaged or comes into contact with excessive heat. Otherwise, Moisture affects powdered laundry detergent. On the other hand, liquid laundry detergent ‘fears’ severe temperatures. The detergent’s components will separate when frozen or exposed to high temperatures. There can be clumps in the bottle after the separation.

Does Downy have an expiration date?

Instead of the expiration date, the shelf life is mentioned on the pack of Downy. The shelf life of downy is 12 months. It gets thicker after 12 months unless kept in a cool, dry place.

How long can you keep fabric softener?

How long can you keep fabric softener?

Unopened fabric softeners last 2-3 years, like Method Fabric Softener. If left open, it starts to break down and separate within 6–12 months. Even if the manufacturer says so, it will last longer if the environment is favorable.

Furthermore, fabric softener components may split and become unstable. Before using the bottle, always give it a good shake. Remove any lumpy fabric softener that can clog dispensers and leave residue on garments.

Does expired laundry detergent work?

Yes, most often. Expired detergent works until it comes into contact with air, water, and humidity. Besides that, it never becomes toxic but slightly loses its effectiveness.

How do you dispose of laundry detergent?

If the containers are not recyclable, you can  dispose of the detergents in the garbage can, or you can flash them in a drain, mixing plenty of water.

Otherwise, detergent can clog the drain.  Clean out the empty container and recycle or toss it in the trash. Using plenty of water, flush small amounts of liquid detergent down an indoor drain (the toilet is preferable).

Verdict

On the whole, the expiration of detergent doesn’t depend on a specific date. Overall, It depends on the environment, packaging and quality. Keep in mind that laundry detergent never expires as long as it can complete your laundry job conveniently.

One more thing, buy products as much as you need.  If you buy with a limit, you don’t have to worry about the expiry date or the condition of the product. Buy less, waste less. Happy shopping.

You can learn more clean car seats with laundry detergent?

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You certainly can’t believe everything the Internet tells you. Kelvin David knows this better than anyone. A few years ago, Kelvin decided to try online shopping for the first time. He was looking for a new electric drill he could use on his daily work as a contractor.