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Millions of
people daily use cleaning products for the home, but few ask about the
expiration of the same. If you are in the second group, you should know that,
indeed, some of these items have limited useful life. Certain chemicals, for
example, lose properties over time or become useless. In exceptional cases, it
is possible that it increases its toxicity or that they become potentially
dangerous. It can also happen that the deterioration of the container ends up
affecting the content, as occurs with bottled liquids.

Those
skilled in the art recall that, as a general rule, liquid cleaning products
deteriorate or lose their properties before solids. The University of Detroit
Mercy (United States) has recently developed a study on different aspects
regarding the expiration of substances, natural or industrial, which are
commonly used to cleanse the home. The editors of the report recommend
consulting the batch number because a recommended use date is usually indicated
next to it. On the other hand, it should be noted that, in most cases, cleaning
products degrade over time, although they can continue to be used because their
toxicity rarely increases.

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If we
generalize, we would say that cleaning products for the home lose effectiveness
after six months of purchase. However, there are differences between them. Some
expire after that period, but there are some with an indefinite useful life and
others that start to spoil after a year of the opening of the container in
which they are marketed.

Next, we
review the most used cleaning products in the home and their estimated
lifespan.

DETERGENT FOR WASHING MACHINE

As with many
other cleaning products, laundry detergents lose their properties over time.
Once the packaging is unsealed, the ideal is to finish the content before six
months, because after that date the effectiveness of the same begins to reduce.
When the container remains closed, this period lasts up to twelve months.

VINEGAR AND BAKING

Natural
products, such as vinegar or bicarbonate, never expire. The former’s properties
last for decades. We are therefore faced with an ecological cleaner, effective
and durable (removes lime from faucets, clean CDs, and DVDs, suppresses tartar
from coffee makers, serves as an air freshener, helps to remove adhesives …).
For its part, bicarbonate does not deteriorate chemically over the years. It
can be used in cleaning, therefore, without any problem. To cook or consume the
matter is different and its use is not advised if it takes too much time to the
kitchen shelf.

BLEACH

The degradation
of the bleach begins to take place around six months. However, it should be
remembered that its toxicity does not increase, so it can continue to be used
despite losing effectiveness and qualities.

SOFTENER

Everyone, at
some point, we have delighted with the pleasant smell that gives off the fabric
softener. It is possible thanks to volatile molecules, one of the components of
this type of chemicals more vulnerable to degradation. It is estimated that the
softening capacity of these products disappears after twelve months.

In summary,
it seems evident the temporality of some common cleaning products in the home.
However, the end of their useful life does not necessarily mean an increase in
their toxicity, but rather the loss of part of their capacities and properties.

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