Baby wipes are, alongside diapers, one of those baby items that parents simply could not live without. Well, maybe they could, but their life and parenting would be ten times harder than it already is. So it’s no wonder that many parents, including yourself, want to know do baby wipes expire or not.
As any other concerned parent, I understand you have a hundred and one questions regarding your baby on a daily basis. Some of them are easy to answer, and some, not so much. This one just so happens to be one of those more complicated questions that do not come with a simple answer.
I can understand the need, the desire that is almost borderline despair, to find answers to all baby-related questions. I’m the same when it comes to my nephews and nieces, and I’m afraid to think about what I’ll be like when I become a mother myself.
Using something that might be expired can be very dangerous for your little one. Depending on what’s the thing you’re using and how you’re using it, it can either cause some allergic reactions, irritations, nausea, tummy aches, and similar.
And I’m sure every parent wishes to avoid these reactions at all costs.
So, do baby wipes have an expiration date? Let’s jump into this article to finally find out!
Do baby wipes expire?
You might be surprised by this (I know I was), but baby wipes don’t have an expiration date. They do not go bad the same way the food in the back of your fridge or the makeup products in your bathroom do.
However, this does not mean that once bought, your baby wipes will last forever. Nope. I’m sure you’ve noticed how a seriously old packet of baby wipes tends to contain only dried-out wipes. This is because they have a shelf life, meaning that, rather than expiring, the wipes tend to “stop working.”
So, how long can baby wipes last until they stop working?
Well, if left unopened and stored in a dry and cool area, an average packet of baby wipes can be used even after 2 to 3 years. But if opened, they’ll last for 3 to 4 weeks. This is because the moisture in them will either evaporate or seep to the bottom of the pack, making the wipes dry.
“But, is it safe to use those wipes beyond their shelf life?”
Well, if they still look, feel, and smell fine, then yes – it’s still safe to use them.
When should you get rid of them?
Parents usually tend to stock up on baby wipes because they simply cannot live without them. Especially if they have a little baby to take care of. That little guy is known for making a mess, mainly in the diaper section since he’s pooping all day and night.
Even though baby wipes don’t expire in a sense most comprehensible to us, there are still three major situations where you have to replace them because you no longer have any use for them.
You should get rid of your old baby wipes when:
- they dry out completely
- they no longer serve their purpose
- and when they start to accumulate bacteria and mold.
Below, you’ll find more details about each three of them.
1. Replace them when they completely dry out
This is pretty self-explanatory. The main use of baby wipes is to clean sensitive baby skin. Each time you change your baby’s diaper or wipe food stains off her face and hands, your trusty baby wipes will come in handy.
The reason why cleaning with baby wipes is so easy is due to water, which makes up 90% of the moisture in wipes. The remaining 10% is reserved for oils, moisturizers, mild soaps, and some preservatives.
That water is due to evaporate at some point, and since it makes up the majority of the wipes’ contents, it will leave them feeling dry.
2. Replace them when they no longer serve their purpose
The abovementioned 10% of oils, moisturizers, mild soaps, and preservatives can fall down to the bottom of the pack of your baby wipes over time, causing the wipes to be less effective than they were originally intended to be.
Non-effective wipes are not quite dry yet, but they have lost that soapy feeling to them. Once you notice your baby wipes no longer serve their intended purpose, it’s time to get rid of them.
3. Replace them when they start to accumulate bacteria or mold
The last situation, and definitely the most disgusting one, when you know it’s time to say goodbye to your baby wipes, is when you notice some black or gray spots on them.
This should come as no surprise, really. Like any other wet area, baby wipes are a perfect ground for bacteria and mold growth. Especially those that contain zero amounts of alcohol and preservatives as they are more prone to contamination.
When you notice your baby wipes have an unusual, wonky smell, are oddly slimy, and have those black and gray spots mentioned before, get rid of them right away. If you continue to use them, they can irritate both your baby’s and your own skin.
How to make your baby wipes last longer?
Now that we know the answer to the question “Do baby wipes expire?” is “Not really, but they do dry out over time.” we can move on and see whether there is a way to ensure that doesn’t happen too fast.
There are actually a few tricks you can implement in your daily routine to ensure that your pack of baby wipes lasts longer.
1. Keep only one pack of baby wipes open at a time
Even though it might be more useful to have different packs of baby wipes opened in each room of your house, bear in mind that this will only lead to more packs of dried-up wipes later.
2. Don’t leave the pack you’re using in warm rooms
The heat can, of course, speed up the evaporation process, so it’s best to leave them somewhere cold and dark.
3. Also, store the pack you’re using upside down
By doing so, you will ensure all the moisture doesn’t seep to the bottom of the pack, but rather stays right at the top. I’ve been doing this for years now, and it works like a charm.
4. Whenever there’s no need, don’t use your baby wipes
If something can be cleaned with water and soap, always go for that option. These two are usually more effective in cleaning a bigger mess, they will save you some money by saving baby wipes, and will overall be better for the environment.
How to rehydrate dried-out baby wipes?
I wouldn’t blame you if you told me your initial reaction to dry baby wipes is always to throw them in the garbage. That used to be me, too. Because what else am I supposed to do with them other than get rid of them, right?
Well, wrong. If your baby wipes aren’t moldy, there’s actually a way for you to rehydrate them at home. If you’re up for this little DIY home project, you should definitely try it.
Here are the essentials you’ll need:
- 1 cup of distilled or boiled water
- 1 tbsp of liquid baby soap
- 1 tbsp of vitamin E oil or baby oil.
And few optional things:
- 2 to 3 drops of chamomile oil for soothing purposes
- 2 to 3 drops of lavender oil for calming and aromatherapeutic purposes.
In a bowl (or a bottle) of your choice mix liquid baby soap and oil(s). Stir (or shake) well and then add the water. Stir again until everything is well combined. Then pour the mixture into the pack of dried baby wipes and wait for them to completely absorb it.
These measurements are meant to rehydrate approximately 80 or 90 baby wipes. Once the wipes are rehydrated, bear in mind that you have to use them up in the next 30 days.
What else can you do with old baby wipes?
If rehydrating your dried baby wipes is not your cup of tea, there are other things you can consider doing instead of throwing them away.
It’s always good to repurpose things that can no longer be used for what they were initially intended because that way we can save some money, and in a small but significant way, contribute to the protection of our environment.
So, here are a few ways you can reuse your dried-up baby wipes:
- use them as sheets to clean the mess around your house
- soak them in acetone to remove the nail polish
- dust various surfaces around your home with them
- with a plant leaf cleaner, use them to clean your plants
- use them to clean the mud off your shoes
- make them into DIY air fresheners by soaking them in essential oils and leaving them around your home (for example, inside the trash bin)
- use them with micellar water or other makeup removers to remove your makeup at the end of the day
- if you dye your hair at home, use dried-up baby wipes to remove the excess hair dye on your face, ears, neck, hands, and shoulders to make everything look cleaner
- if you self-tan at home, use them to remove the excess self-tanner from your body.