As we’ve covered before, babies get through a lot of diapers.
Every diaper change will also need one other other thing – a pack of baby wipes, so you might be tempted to bulk buy wipes or purchase huge packs.
In this case you’ll probably be wondering if baby wipes expire or go off?
The answer is baby wipes do not expire in the same way as food.
But this doesn’t mean they can be used indefinitely.
Loss of moisture, ineffectiveness and the accumulation of mold are all reasons why you might stop using a pack of wipes.
But are expired wipes safe to use on your baby?
And is there anything you can do to increase the shelf life of a pack of baby wipes?
Let’s take a look.
Do Baby Wipes Expire?
Most manufacturers of baby wipes state their products have a shelf life of between 2-3 years (when fully sealed and unopened) after the date of manufacture.
Much like stollers, although baby wipes do not have an expiration date, they don’t unfortunately last forever.
The biggest issue for parents is not the shelf life of a pack of wipes, it’s actually the issue of wipes drying out and becoming less effective.
So let’s take a look at why baby wipes expire and when to replace them.
Why Do Baby Wipes Expire?
Baby wipes expire for 3 main reasons:
They Dry Out
A lot of parents wonder if baby wipes dry out.
The answer is definitely yes, and this is in fact the number one reason why baby wipes expire.
Some of the purest and most sensitive baby wipes contain up to 99.9% water.
Even wipes that aren’t designed for such sensitive skin are usually made with at least 95% water.
With such a high water content, baby wipes are prone to drying out very quickly if they are left open (more on this later).
But even if you re-seal a pack of baby wipes, the water can still evaporate fairly quickly and drying out will become an issue over a few days or weeks.
This is especially true if they are exposed to hot, dry conditions or placed in direct sunlight.
They Become Less Effective
Another reason why baby wet wipes expire is because they lose their effectiveness.
Over time, and especially once opened, the ingredients in a pack of wipes (think moisturizing, cleaning and preserving agents) may degrade and stop doing the job they were designed to do.
Mold Develops In The Pack
Anyone with a basement will probably know that moist conditions are the ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and mold.
Given the very high amount of water content in wipes (see above), it’s no surprise that a pack of baby wipes is susceptible to the growth of mold.
More premium or expensive baby wipes that don’t contain preservatives or alcohol are more likely to become moldy over time given their lack of preservatives.
If you see any black or grey mold spots in a pack of wipes, of they start to small bad, it’s a sure sign to throw them in the trash immediately.
How To Keep Baby Wipes From Drying Out
As we saw above, the most common reason for a pack of baby wipes to expire and become unusable is because they dry out.
So here are a few tips and hacks to stop baby wet wipes from drying out and expiring:
- Shut The Lid Tightly. A simple way to stop wipes from drying out too quickly is to ensure the lid of the pack is shut as tightly as possible after each use, so the wipes are not exposed to air.
- Zip Lock Bag. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to prevent baby wipes from drying out is to store them in an airtight zip lock bag.
- Travel Bag. Using a travel bag is another (and more elegant) way to stop air from getting into a pack of diapers, thereby preserving them for longer.
- Sealable Diaper Holder. As with the two solutions above, a sealable diaper holder or container is a very effective way to prevent air from getting into your pack of wipes and therefore stop them from drying out before you use the entire pack up.
- Open As Few Packs As Possible. It can be convenient to have several packs in different parts of your house or in different bags, but the more packs you have open, the longer they will take to use and the higher the chance of the wipes drying up.
- Store Away From Sunlight & Heat. Even in an airtight container a pack of wipes can quickly dry out if it’s in direct sunlight or in a hot cupboard. So if possible try and store your baby’s wipes in a cool, dry and dark place like the drawers of a diaper changing table.
Are Expired Baby Wipes Safe To Use?
Yes expired baby wipes are safe to use on your baby’s skin, but as we’ve seen they may have dried out and / or become less effective at cleaning.
The exception to this are wipes that are moldy – if a pack of wipes has developed mold then you should dispose of them and not use them on your baby’s sensitive skin.
What To Do With Expired Baby Wipes?
Are you wondering what to do with a pack of baby wipes that are expired?
If your wipes have dried up, but don’t show any signs of mold or mildew, then two great ways to re-use them are:
To Remove Make-Up
The great thing about baby wipes is that they’re designed for a baby’s sensitive skin, so there should be no issues with using them on your own skin to remove make-up.
If the wipes have dried out, just add some water (preferably distilled) or coconut oil and you’re good to go.
To Clean Around Your House
Even without adding any water back to wipes that have dried out, you can still use expired baby wipes to clean dust or spillages around your house.
Many people who have tried this find that it’s a great hack because baby wipes are a lot stronger and more absorbent than paper towels.
How To Check The Expiration Date Of Baby Wipes
The best place to look for an expiration date on a pack of baby wipes is on the underside of the pack.
If you turn the pack upside down you will likely see the date of production.
Most wipes have a shelf-life of 2-3 years from manufacture.
How Long Do Baby Wipes Last For?
The majority of baby wipes on the market have a shelf life of up to 3 years while sealed and unopened.
Once opened, most wipes last for around 3-4 weeks if they are sealed properly between use and stored away from direct sunlight and heat.
- Baby wipes don’t go off like food, so they do not have an expiry date.
- However, most manufacturers state their wipes last for 2-3 years after manufacture, provided they are unopened and stored in good conditions.
- Once opened, you should tightly reseal baby wipes and store them out of direct sunlight or heat.
- This is important because baby wet wipes can contain over 99% water, so they are prone to drying out easily if exposed to air.
- It’s safe to use expired baby wipes, provided they do not have any mold, mildew or other bacteria.
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