Being a parent means thinking about everything and one of those things is expiration dates on certain baby products like baby wipes. Now, let me formulate this into a question I hear all too often: Do baby wipes expire?
The biggest issue with baby wipes is not their expiration date on the package, but their tendency to dry out, become less effective, or develop mold after some time – all of which will be discussed in detail below.
We all know that a baby’s skin is ultra-sensitive, so we don’t want to leave anything to chance!
You probably already know that the majority of baby wipes don’t have an expiry date on the package, which is exactly why many parents get confused.
But, guess what?
Even those that have expired are probably still safe to use because these expiry dates are more like “best by” dates, which means it’s up to you to decide whether they’re still safe to use or not.
Also, proper storage can prolong their lifespan, so make sure to store them unsealed in a cool and dry place!
For more tips and tricks on wet wipes, as well as reasons why they might go bad after some time, continue reading.
3 Main Reasons Why Baby Wipes Expire
As already mentioned above, baby wipes don’t really expire (like food), but there are some things that can happen to them over time that might influence the quality of the product.
Now, you’re probably wondering: Then why do some manufacturers even bother adding an expiration date or use-by date on the package?
And the answer is: Because they have to.
If something happens to those wet wipes (if they lose their effectiveness or become covered with mold), it will avoid potential complaints by customers like you and me because it’s specifically stated that they are best used by that date.
But, just because they are dried out, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are no longer usable (even though the expiration date says otherwise).
Below, I’ll explain how to rehydrate dried-out wipes, so stay tuned!
Before that, here are the three main reasons why baby wipes “expire” and what’s exactly happening in each situation.
1. Baby wipes dry out
While diapers are prone to discoloration, baby wipes are susceptible to drying out.
RELATED: Do Diapers Expire At Any Point And What Happens If They Do?
As a matter of fact, this is the most common reason for wipes becoming unusable. This has actually happened to me a few times so far.
One time, I didn’t close them properly, so the baby wipes became really dry after a few days, which was to be expected since they were in direct contact with air.
Given that the majority of wet wipes consist of 99% water, drying out is inevitable if the package isn’t sealed properly.
But, to my amazement, I’ve also learned that even if they are sealed properly, they can still dry out.
I know this because I left an unopened pack of wet wipes in my trunk last summer (because you never know when you’re going to need some extra wet wipes!)
And right when I needed them (for my own purposes), I realized they were completely dried out despite never having opened the package until then.
These wet wipes literally boiled in my trunk and at some point, the water vapor had to evaporate through the package by pressure.
So, yes, baby wipes can dry out over time regardless if they are in properly sealed or unsealed packages (especially if you keep them in a trunk when it’s really hot outside!)
2. Wipes lose effectiveness
Another potential threat of wet wipes is losing effectiveness.
Now, what does that mean? It means that over time, the baby wipes formulation can become less effective due to settling.
So, wet wipes don’t necessarily need to become completely dry in order to be considered unusable.
Sometimes, their conditioning and moisturizing ingredients end up accumulating at the bottom of the package.
But, this is not something you should worry about because it doesn’t happen that frequently.
A lot of organic wet wipes on the market are made of only a few ingredients, which means there’s basically nothing to settle at the bottom.
Still, if you notice that the package is not really suitable for further use, it’s advisable to get rid of it, or use it only for your home maintenance.
(At the bottom, I’ve given some neat ways you can use expired baby wipes for cleaning around the house).
3. Mold accumulation
Natural wipes (made of natural ingredients) don’t contain chemical agents like chemical preservatives, parabens, alcohol, and others, and because of that, they are more prone to developing mold.
Mold accumulation can happen in both opened and unopened packages. Contamination is a constant threat, so if you notice grey or black spots on wet wipes, you know it’s mold.
In that case, the best thing to do is to get rid of them. Mold can be really harmful for adults as well, let alone baby’s sensitive skin.
You want to avoid things that might cause diaper rash, and other potential skin issues. Wet wipes covered with mold are not suitable for any use (not even around the home).
So keep your eyes peeled for that stubborn mold and get rid of the pack ASAP once it starts invading your wet wipes.
Are Expired Baby Wipes Still Safe To Use?
Every baby’s sensitive skin deserves high-quality products, so the real question is whether it is still safe to use those baby wipes once they “officially” expire (speaking of an expiration date on a package).
This is the most popular answer: Yes, they are still safe to use, but as always, you be the judge.
As already said, those dates are there mainly to protect the manufacturer (in case something bad happens to those wet wipes after a certain period of time).
The chances are, nothing will happen to them even after that date.
The main thing you need to pay attention to is if wet wipes have mold accumulation, so this poses the biggest threat to your little one.
In such situations, you should immediately toss them in the trash.
Furthermore, if you notice that your wet wipes are no longer wet, but become dry wipes, you can still use them for other purposes around the house.
They are awesome when it comes to absorbing different spills and messes (and Lord knows we all have a fair share of them in our households).
How To Increase The Shelf Life Of Baby Wipes
Now that we’re halfway done with answering the question “Do baby wipes expire”? it’s time to address the other often asked question of how to make baby wipes last longer.
So far, we’ve concluded that there isn’t a foolproof way to keep wet wipes moisturized forever, but there are some things that you can do to make them last longer!
First of all, make sure to keep them sealed until needed. This will keep them moisturized a lot longer.
This is one mistake I used to make often. I would open a few packages of wet wipes, so that I basically had one pack in every corner in the entire house (the car, too).
It took me some time to realize that this is not a budget-friendly option at all because they would soon become dry and lose moisture, given that I had too many of them at any given time, so it’d take a long time before each of the packs get used up.
Another important thing is storage place and temperature. Wet wipes last longer if stored in a cool and dry place.
For instance, it’s a good idea to keep them in baby diaper bags in warmer locations.
Hotter locations will dry them out in record time.
Don’t make the same mistake as I did when I put them in my trunk during summer, only to find out that they’d turned dry as dust!
How To Rehydrate Dried Out Baby Wipes And Bring Them Back To Life
If you’re wondering whether you can save those dried out wipes, the answer is yes! You can do it by rehydrating them!
The process is simple. Simply add some water to the package, shake it up a little bit, and voila! They’re ready to use!
But, it’s important to note that by doing this, you will be adding unfiltered and unsanitized water, which can be a potential threat in terms of bacteria development.
If you want to avoid doing this, you can simply add filtered water instead.
Even if you don’t, just make sure to use those wet wipes as soon as possible and you have nothing to worry about.
Another option is to add some baby lotion for an extra moisturizing effect on your baby’s bottom.
I would even go further and encourage you to add some aloe vera extract or natural oils, but as always, the choice is yours to make. (Just be sure any products you add are safe for baby’s skin.)
RELATED: Essential Oils For Babies: 7 Types and Their Uses
Also, I have to add that some manufacturers wouldn’t agree with this rehydrating method because they think this would dilute the original formulation.
Now, let me remind you again of the fact that the majority of wet wipes consist of 99% water, so since they are already essentially “water wipes,” I reckon adding more water to it will not really dilute them, but rehydrate, right? Right.
How To Check The Expiration Date
If you’re one of those souls who are still searching for the expiration date on baby wipes packages, I have to disappoint you and say that the chances are you won’t find one.
Most brands don’t have an expiry date, but those who do have, you can find it somewhere on the back of the package (bottom) or on the edges of the packaging.
To save a lot of your time when it comes to this, here’s what some popular brands have to say about expiration dates:
• Huggies baby wipes can last for 2 years unopened and up to 1 year from the moment you start using them.
• Pampers wipes should be used within 30 months from the date of manufacturing.
• Other baby wipe manufacturers (whose packages don’t come with expiration dates) agree that their wet wipes packages can last 2 to 3 years from the moment you start using them.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Unopened Baby Wipes?
The majority of unopened packages have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years.
But, as already said earlier, wet wipes cannot really expire, they might just become dry, less effective, or moldy.
You should therefore pay special attention to those things.
Now, once you start using a pack of wet wipes, they can last for a year (without becoming dry or developing mold) if the package is sealed properly after each use and it is not in contact with direct heat or sunlight.
Remember that if not closed properly, water can evaporate and turn them into dry wipes.
This is one of the most common problems regarding wet wipes. Some packages can easily break and start letting air in, which means drying out.
But, no need to worry about such things. Just make sure to store baby wipes at room temperature or slightly under, and everything will be alright.
After all, you will certainly use them before one year passes, so they won’t even have time to turn into dry wipes!
What To Do With Expired Baby Wipes
Wet wipes are multi-practical, which means they are not only suited for diaper changes, but you can also use them for your beauty regimen or cleaning your house.
They are safe to use if dry or less effective – just not when they show signs of mold!
Now that we’ve made that clear, here are some ways in which you can use expired baby wipes.
Baby wipes for your beauty regimen
• If you’ve ever bought those products specifically designed for makeup removal, then you know they’re really expensive.
Because of that, I have used baby wipes ever since and needless to say, they do a great job at removing even the stubbornest makeup of all!
If your wipes have become dry, all you need to do is add some water or natural oil in it.
I suggest coconut oil because it does wonders for your skin and is a natural makeup remover.
• You can use wipes for your mani-pedis (wiping of nail polish, cleaning nails, and so on).
• If you ever poured a little bit too much lotion or oil on your body, then you know how irritating this is. Well, now you can wipe the excess with your baby wipes.
• You can use wipes to wipe your skin after waxing (especially if it contains moisturizing baby oils).
Baby wipes for home cleaning
• Wipes are great assistants when it comes to dust removal in the entire house from your bathroom to the kitchen. Just like those special cleaning cloths, wipes also attract dust effectively.
So, it would be a real waste if you threw them into the trash when you could be saving money and doing wonders around your house.
• You can use them for wiping your laptop screen, keyboard, and other devices in your house (television, cell phones, etc.) As I’m writing this, I notice that I haven’t cleaned my laptop screen in a while, so guess what I’ll be doing after I’m done writing!
• If you ever run out of toilet paper, know that you can use baby wipes instead. Just note that these wipes cannot be flushed into the toilet.
But, there’s a solution for that, too, because there are specifically made flushable toilet wet wipes (in case you haven’t heard of them or you ever need them in the future – think potty training).
• With dry wipes, you can easily absorb liquids and spills in your kitchen, on your sofa, carpet, and so on. Or if you need to wash the area, you can add some water and detergent to it and get to rubbing.
• You can clean your shoes with them (been doing it for a while now and it’s really time saving).
• They are also great for disinfecting your baby’s toys.
• We’re all familiar with the fact that public toilet seats are one of the most critical public areas when it comes to maintaining hygiene.
Sometimes you don’t have time to put thirty layers of toilet paper on the toilet seat, but luckily, you can use your wipes instead. You can also use them to disinfect public lift buttons, telephones, and similar.
• If your baby likes to play Picasso with his crayons on the walls, you can easily remove those marks with wipes.
There are many other things that you can clean up with expired wipes; get creative and you’ll surely find multiple uses for them.
So, do baby wipes expire? Here’s the answer in a nutshell:
Baby wipes don’t really have an expiration date, but they might become dried out, less effective, or they might accumulate mold over time.
One surefire way to extend their shelf life is to keep them stored in a cool and dry place.
One of the biggest enemies of wet wipes is heat, so avoid hot places like your trunk and similar.
In case your baby wipes become dry, you can rehydrate them and use them for either your baby or your beauty regimen and household cleaning.
The biggest enemy is mold.
In case you notice grey or black spots on wet wipes, toss them immediately. They’re not safe for use (not even for cleaning purposes).
And that’s it. Keep that all in mind and I wish you all happy wiping!
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