Cleaning Products and Expiration Dates

Many people are surprised to turn over their cleaning products and find expiration dates. However, it is standard practice for many manufacturers to list these dates to ensure customers get the most use out of the product.

If you are like most people, you might hang on to cleaning products for months or even years past their best effective dates. Does that mean the product is no longer going to clean your glass or counter? Not necessarily. The longevity of a product typically depends on the chemicals and formula used.

Why Do Cleaning Products Expire?

When referring to expiration, a manufacturer typically refers to the potency of the product more than anything else. A cleaning product will not usually spoil. Still, the efficacy or usefulness of the item might degrade over time. 

Bleach, a standard household cleaner, typically loses potency about six months after opening it. Experts suggest that bleach will lose approximately 20% of its effectiveness after six months. Glass cleaners tend to hold their potency for longer periods, up to two years.

Therefore, when looking at an expiration date on a cleaning product, do not assume it is no longer safe to use. In most instances, the expiration only signifies the product will not work as well as it once did. It would be best to be cautious of this degradation, especially when using anti-bacterial cleaners.

How Long Should They Last?

While bleach tends to have a short lifespan, most household cleaners will last. In many cases, manufacturers use preservatives to ensure a longer shelf life, in some cases two years. 

Not all products will list an expiration date. They will typically have a "born on date" or lot or batch number. If you are not sure how long you have had a product or think it might no longer be safe or effective, you can contact the manufacturer for more information.

How Can You Dispose of Expired Items?

Some people might want to use every drop of a cleaning product to get the most out of their purchase, but you are better off tossing it once a product reaches expiration. However, do not throw partially full bottles into the trash. Many products are toxic, and throwing them away recklessly can contaminate waterways. 

When you must discard a cleaning product, check the bottle. Most bottles or labels will give instructions for disposal. If you cannot find instructions, contact the manufacturer.

Should You Have an Inventory System?

If the products you use have an expiration date, be sure to organize them according to it in storage. You always want to use the first products you purchased before newer products. 

If there is no expiration date, use a sharpie to label the bottom of the bottle with the date you opened the product. Labeling the products means you always know how long you have been using a product and when to pitch it.

Expiration dates do not mean the same thing on cleaning products as food. Food spoils past its expiration, but cleaning products lose potency. Still, to get the most out of your cleaning supplies, it is best to use products before they expire.

Have you ever used cleaning products past their "best by" date? Did it still perform? Comment below.

Turning Your Home Into an Insect Repelling Machine: 8 Strategies

As the weather warms, insects begin to come out in full force. No one likes to have a yard or house filled with buzzing or creepy-crawly pests. The key is to work before the weather turns to ensure your home repels insects, that it is uninviting and forces them to move on.

1. Seal Doors and Windows

The primary areas of entry are the doors and the windows. You will need to check that the sealant around these vulnerable entry points is intact. If you have any windows that lack screening, you will want to install them to help control what comes in with the cool spring breeze.

2. Repair Cracks and Seal Pipe penetrations

Most insects are tiny and can fit through minuscule cracks or separations. You will need to walk your property and inspect the foundation, structure, and roof for cracks. Use a weatherproof sealer to close any existing gaps. You should also assess the areas where pipes are coming into the house. The cutaway for pipes is often larger than necessary, leaving an opening for bugs to get inside.

3. Maintain Your Yard

Yard debris attracts insects and spiders. Piles of leaves and sticks provide plenty of hiding spaces. When the waste is piled near your home, it won't take long for bugs to make their way into your kitchen. You need to take care of your yard and ensure that any debris is removed quickly.

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4. Store Garbage Correctly

Many insects live in the trash. Garbage provides an abundant food source. When you store your trach, you need to put it in sealed containers. It is also best to keep your trash bins in a garage or shed so other critters cannot find through way into the bags.

5. Cover Other Openings

While sealing the cracks, doorways, and windows around the property helps reduce the risks of bug infestations, you also want to seal any other openings.

One opening most people forget about is the chimney. You can find a fine wire mesh to go over your chimney without restricting ventilation.

6. Keep Foundation Clear

While many people love the look of garden beds and bushes right up against their house, it is not the best thing for insect control. Bugs need shelter, warmth, and food. Bushes and other plant life close to the foundation provide everything. Maintaining a clear foundation with plants staying at least three feet away is better.

7. Declutter Your Space

You cannot forget that insects are most likely already inside your home. The best way to force comfy insects out of your home is to take away some of the sources of their comfort, like cleaning out your cupboards and the bread draw. It also might help to vacuum every day to minimize the likelihood of crumbs.

8. Make a Home for Birds and Bats

The best way to control the insect population around your home is to encourage the nesting of natural predators. Some of the most significant insect eaters are birds and bats.

While most people are OK with encouraging birds, some hit a wall when it comes to bats. However, bats are the most efficient insect predator. That's why installing a bat box is a good idea.

As the weather starts to change with spring right around the corner, it is necessary to consider ways of controlling the insect population around your house. Do you know of any more ways to repel insects? Comment below.