Our babies are precious little things aren’t they? And that often means taking product expiry dates very seriously. You wouldn’t give your baby out of date formula or baby food (at least I hope not!). But what about baby wipes?
The good news is that baby wipes don’t really expire, but they can become less effective over time. Ensure you store them in a cool and dry place so they have less chance of drying out or becoming mouldy.
In this article let’s look at what can cause baby wipes to become unusable, how long an opened and unopened pack can last for, and what you can use old baby wipes for (apart from cleaning a messy baby!)
How can baby wipes expire?
There are three main reasons why baby wipes may expire and become redundant; drying out, becoming mouldy or just becoming less effective.
This is the most common reason for baby wipes becoming unusable. If you do open a pack, ensure you seal it properly afterwards. Baby wipes contain a lot of water so they can dry out if they’re left in a warm environment. They can even dry out if the pack remains unopened, especially if they’re exposed to a reasonable amount of heat.
The advantage of natural baby wipes is that they don’t contain any chemicals or preservatives, which is better for a newborn’s skin. However, unfortunately this makes these wipes more susceptible to mould, which can grow inside opened or unopened packs over time. If you see any spots or patches on your baby wipes, just chuck them in the bin. Regular baby wipes are usually a lot more resistant to mould because of the chemicals used in them.
They just don’t work as well
Like many products, if you don’t use them for a long time, they can become less effective. The chemicals inside a pack of baby wipes can settle towards the bottom of the pack, so the wipes near the top don’t clean as well as they should. This is quite rare though, and it will take a long time for this to happen.
Can you use expired baby wipes?
Providing they look ok, and haven’t become mouldy, you can use baby wipes long after their expiry date. In fact it’s best to think of the expiry date as a ‘best by’ rather than a ‘use by’. That being said, they might not work as well if you’ve really had them a long time. So why bother with an expiry date in the first place?
Well, like most things in this day and age, it’s just for the manufacturer to protect themselves. Consumers will likely complain in droves if they open a pack (even several years after buying them) and the wipes have dried out or become mouldy.
How long do baby wipes last unopened?
It depends on the product and the manufacturer but they last a long time, and almost certainly longer than a year or so.
However, what can shorten the life of an unopened pack of baby wipes is where your store them. Put them somewhere warm, like in your car on a warm summer’s day, and the water will still evaporate inside the pack and they’ll dry out. To ensure your pack of wipes lasts for many months, store them in a cool and dry place.
Where to check the expiration date
It will vary by manufacturer, but if you look at this pack of Pampers baby wipes, it’s underneath. If you look at the image closely, you’ll see the expiry date is around 2 and a half years after they were produced. Surely most people will use them during this time!
How long do they last once they’re opened?
Not long. The water inside the baby wipes can evaporate very quickly, so make sure you seal them properly afterwards. If you don’t, you will find they can dry out in just a couple of weeks.
Natural Wipes vs Baby Wipes – Which last longer?
Having established that regular baby wipes can last for a couple of years if they’re unopened and stored correctly, what about natural wipes? They usually only have a couple of ingredients; water and some fruit extract. Do they last longer?
According to Water Wipes, a product which only contains 99.9% water and a drop of grapefruit extract, they recommend opening the pack within 15 months of the production date. Therefore, they seem to have a similar shelf life to regular wipes.
However, they can dry out easier even if they’re unopened, as the water can slowly move down towards the bottom of the pack over time. Water Wipes recommend storing their wipes upside down so the top wipes are always moist when you open up the pack.
Can you rehydrate old baby wipes?
Yes, you can rehydrate baby wipes, and it’s very simple. Just add some water to the pack, seal it, and shake it around a bit. However, please remember by using water from the tap, it’s not as clean as before due to bacteria found in the water. You can use filtered or distilled water instead, but if you only have access to tap water, it’s probably best to use the wipes quickly once you’ve rehydrated them.
What can you do with old baby wipes?
If you find your old pack of baby wipes have truly expired in that they’ve dried out or they’re no longer effective, here are some things you can do with them:
Baby wipes are a great option for cleaning surfaces and other things round the house.
You can use baby wipes for wiping away dust on surfaces, such as on top of cupboards and shelves. The dust particles will stick to the wipes rather than blow about in the air. You could even attach a baby wipe to a broom or mop handle to wipe away cobwebs in areas which are harder to reach.
Wiping down kitchen and bathroom surfaces
You can use baby wipes for some quick cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom. This is a quick fix if you’ve run out of cleaning products and you have some guests coming over at short notice! You can use them on the kitchen table, the outside of your fridge, freezer and washing machine.
Your child’s toys will pick up dust and other grubby marks over time. Baby wipes can easily clean plastic toys and make them look like new again.
For removing stains
Baby wipes are great for removing stains on walls such as drawn on crayon or pen, or small stains in the carpet. They’re also a good option for removing stains on leather.
Here’s a great article on some more creative ways to use baby wipes round the home.