While expiry dates are most commonly associated with food and drink products picked up on the weekly supermarket shop, such as milk, bread and meats, they are also used on various other household items - some of which you might not expect. Here are 12 everyday items you may not realise have an expiry date.
Pillows should be replaced as often as every six to 12 months if they are filled with synthetic material, and every two to three years for down pillows, as they start to attract dust mites and lose their shape over time, which can lead to neck pain.
After around six months, bleach starts to lose its potency and degrade, becoming 20 per cent less effective as each year goes by.
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Tea bags can last between one to two years past their best before date, provided they are stored properly, but over time they will dry out and lose flavour.
A small symbol, shaped like an open jar with a number inside, on the back of suncream indicates when the product should be used by. It is typically between 12 and 18 months (12M or 18M), after which the active ingredients begin to decompose and become ineffective.
Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months after use, as they will begin to fray and become less effective at cleaning. Your toothbrush should also be replaced after catching a cold or flu, or you could risk becoming ill again.
A bra should usually last around six months to a year before it needs replacing, and will lose its shape and elasticity over time, causing it to gape or sag.
Towels typically last for one to three years. As they get wet they provide the ideal environment for bacteria to grow. Eventually, even a washing machine won’t be able to eradicate all of the germs.
Dried spices won’t last forever sitting in your cupboard, and have a shelf life of between one and three years on average before they start losing their taste and smell. Ground spices shouldn’t be kept longer than six months.
A child’s car seat will usually last between six and 10 years before it starts losing its shape and needs replacing. The longevity varies from brand to brand, but a date is usually stamped on the bottom of the seat.
Most shoemakers recommend changing your running shoes every six months to one year, or when you reach the threshold of around 250 to 300 miles in them. This is because they lose their shock absorption, cushioning and stability, which could lead to an injury.
It’s recommended that you throw away any paint that has been open for two to four years, as it will start to dry out and become lumpy. Unopened, oil-based cans of paint can last as long as 15 years, while latex and water-based acrylic paints have a shelf life of up to 10 years if stored correctly.
Shampoo and conditioner will usually last for around two to three years once opened, or up to four years if unopened. If used after this period, the product will start to lose its effectiveness and not give you the results you expect.