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When Should I Throw Away Cleaning Supplies?
By Sarah Aguirre, About.com Guide
1. Infrequent Usage
If you bought some new supply to clean with and it's been stored away for a long time waiting, it runs the risk of losing its effectiveness. For example, bleach has a shelf life of about 6 months when it's stored at the right temperature, although it can start to lose minor levels of effectiveness after 3 months even when stored between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Improper Storage
If cleaning supplies aren't stored properly, they can lose their effectiveness as well. Pay close attention to the directions on the cleaning supply container. Most supplies should not be stored in extreme cold or heat, or near flames. Forgetting to tighten the lids, can lead to spills and evaporation. If you choose to put cleaning supplies in your own containers beware of the fact that it may shorten their shelf life. For example, bleach that has been mixed with water loses much of its effectiveness after 24 hours.
How To Tell If Your Cleaning Supplies Are Bad
1. Bad or Unusual Smell
If strange odors are coming from your cleaning supplies, they may have been compromised and need to be replaced.
Sometimes even new powdered cleansers will be clumpy, but if what used to be a smooth powdered cleanser has developed large hard clumps, it may be time to replace it with a new container. Even gel or liquid cleansers can develop clumps or change consistency. Don't use these when that happens. They can actually be dangerous. This is especially true of cleansers that foam up or fizz when water is added. The fizzing action could give you a projectile chunk of cleanser. Just get a new product.
3. Change in Color
Cleaners that have morphed into another color as they waited hidden in your cupboard are a bad idea. They probably won't work well, and may even be unsafe.
4. Damaged Containers
It's always best to leave your cleaners in their original containers. If a container is cracked, stained, or shows any sign of damage, it's a good idea to remove it and buy a new bottle of cleaner. Cleansers inside a damaged container can have the chemical inside affected by the outside damage.Be safe and get a new one.
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