Why You Should Replace Your Disinfectants Right Now

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It's been one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a legitimate pandemic — and one year since we all went into lockdown, not knowing what to expect. We've come a long way since toilet paper shortages and foggy glasses, and with vaccines becoming more widely available, the end is truly in sight. That means taking stock, especially of those panic purchases you may have been holding onto since last spring.


Over at ​Apartment Therapy​, Ashley Abramson dug into a question you may not have thought to ask: how long your disinfectants really last. We learned early on that thankfully, we don't need to spray down our groceries, but it's still likely that you went for broke on bleach, germ-killing surface cleaners, and hand sanitizer. Those are relatively shelf-stable products, but they don't last forever.

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You'll be doing yourself a big favor if you check the manufacturing date on your bottles, Abramson writes. That's usually found printed on the label, or it may be possible to snap a photo of a QR code to look up batch information. If the date you find is close to or more than year old, your best bet is to toss the product and refresh your supply.


If you've been making your own cleaning products, with bleach or other materials, it's also worth replacing dilutes more frequently, as water makes active ingredients break down more quickly. Finally, keep avoiding DIY hand sanitizer — the store-bought kind loses effectiveness over time, but the vodka stuff doesn't do you any good at all.