When cleaning a baby’s bum, many begin with the best intentions—using reusable cloths and warm water. Then once done cleaning the little one’s butt, you rinse the fabric off and toss it in the hamper. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Yes, that seems like an easy thing to do. However, it’s not always practical. Think about it this way, what happens on those bad days when your baby is fussy, and you have a bundle of reusable clothes to rinse and a baby to soothe? Will you forsake your baby and rinse the cloth diaper or vice versa? Or what happens when your baby poops and you’re out catching up with your friends? That’s where baby wipes come in to relieve the stress.
Speaking of baby wipes, how long do they keep? Do they expire? Read on as we unravel this together.
Do Baby Wipes Expire?
Baby wipes don’t expire but deteriorate in quality over time. That’s why some manufacturers don’t bother including the expiry date on the baby wipe’s package. And others include the sell-by or use-by date only on the packages.
Once manufactured, unopened baby wipes can last for two to three years, regardless of the brand. If opened, baby wipes can stay up to four weeks before reducing their efficiency. How do baby wipes lose their efficiency? And when is the right time to discard the wipes and get new ones?
Signs Your Baby Wipes Are No Longer Efficient And Should Be Discarded
Here are a few tell-tale signs to let you know your baby wipes have expired and won’t be as effective as designed.
Drying baby wipes is the most common reason for wipes to be unusable. Wipes are made up of 99% water, making them prone to drying. So, unless you store them well and sealed, the water may evaporate, leaving you with dry wipes.
Not that sealing alone cannot protect your wipes from drying, and temperature changes too play a crucial role. Store your baby wipes in a cool, dry place, fully sealed in plastic. Avoid very high or very low temperatures, as they can make the wipes susceptible to mold formation. If the wipes are opened, place the refill packs in airtight containers to ensure they retain their moisture until it’s time for the next refill.
Storing the wipes upside down also helps. When you store baby wipes upside down, any unsettling that may have happened will not dry out the top wipes. Settling occurs when the moisturizers, detergents, and preservatives in the remaining 1% settle on the bottom of the package.
The fragrance in most baby wipes is obtained from plant oils or essence. This means that the wipes will eventually lose the scents over time. Baby wipes losing their fragrance is most common when stored in containers that have been opened prior, which gives the natural scent compounds a chance to evaporate easily. The fragrance compounds sometimes evaporate at a higher rate than water.
Your baby wipes losing fragrance without taking on another scent means they are still safe to use. However, if the wipes lose the scent and acquire an unpleasant or an old smell, don’t use them. That could signify bacteria or mold growth, so discard them.
Never have second thoughts if a pack of your baby wipes develops mold. Mold usually forms in all-natural baby wipes when the preservatives and stabilizers fail, giving mold a good environment to thrive. That’s so because these wipes don’t contain chemical preservatives to prevent bacterial and mold growth.
Although mold is more common in opened wipes where oxygen provides a conducive environment for their growth, it can also happen in unopened wipes. It’s also not common to find mold in baby wipes, but just know that it does happen. So, anytime you sense mildew or mold smell on your baby wipes or in their storage container, discard them.
Mold is dangerous, and using moldy wipes on your baby can significantly affect their skin. Mold can also affect the lungs of anyone around it if they inhale it. So, dispose of the moldy wipes properly. And if you find mold in the wipes box or warmer, clean with diluted bleach to kill the mold and their spores before placing fresh wipes.
Fragrant wipes have moisturizers and scents that break down with time. On the other hand, unscented wipes come with some moisturizers, mostly aloe, which too break down over time.
As the fragrant and moisturizer compounds break down, they change the wipe’s texture. If the texture of your wipes has changed, or your baby shows signs of irritation when you use the wipes on them, stop using them. And look for alternative baby wipes.
You don’t have to discard the wipes, though. Instead, look for alternative ways of using them in your home.
Other Uses Of Wipes At Home
To Remove Makeup
Baby wipes are designed to be extra gentle on your baby’s skin. So, rest assured that they are safe to use on your skin too. Besides being safe, baby wipes are cheaper than standard makeup remover and are equally effective. So, if you have a package of dried-out baby wipes, sprinkle them with distilled water and face-safe oil, then turn them into makeup remover wipes.
To Clean Household Surfaces
You can use wipes the same way you use paper towels – in cleaning spills and wiping dirty surfaces. Wipes can also pick up dirt, dust the furniture, or wipe windows and mirrors. The good thing with baby wipes is that they are more absorbent and durable than regular paper towels. Dry baby wipes can be rehydrated with a disinfectant and used to wipe groceries before bringing them home.
In conclusion, do baby wipes expire? No, baby wipes don’t expire. However, they deteriorate in quality after their use-by date and may become moldy, dry, have texture changes, lose their fragrance, or have a difference in their smell. If your baby wipes are past their date and you can’t use them on your child’s delicate skin, use them to remove your makeup or clean home surfaces.