Diapers are one of the baby expenses that you can count on. With so many things to buy for your baby, you might plan on stocking up ahead of time or maybe you were gifted some diapers. But before you use that diaper let’s answer the question, “Do diapers expire?”.
In general, most disposable diapers do not have an expiration date. However, they are best used within two years to three years. The exact timeframe can vary significantly based on the type of diaper used and the conditions in which it’s stored. For instance, if exposed to hot humid environments and left unused in its original packaging for too long then it could expire sooner than two years.
Let’s dive into how to store and use diapers safely, expiration dates, and deciding if it is still safe enough to use on your baby.
Do Diapers Have Expiration Dates?
The answer to this question is a bit complicated – disposable diapers do not actually have an expiration date in the same way that other products like food or medicines do. While there are no explicit expiration dates printed on any disposable diapers, they will probably start to degrade in quality within two years, this applies to opened or unopened diapers.
This may be due to changes in materials used and the manufacturing process itself, as well as environmental factors such as UV light exposure or moisture.
It’s important to note the difference between shelf life and expiration dates here. Shelf life is kind of like an expiration date in that it’s the manufacturer’s recommendation on how long you can store something before it should be used, while expiration dates are mandatory and usually refer to the unsafe point at which a product should not be consumed.
If you’re using cloth diapers they don’t really have an expiration date since they are reusable but still should be checked regularly for wear and tear.
What Happens As Diapers Age?
Some common telltale signs of an old diaper can be:
Noticeable pilling or fuzziness in the fabric
Cracking in plastic or waterproof barriers
Change in fragrance
Older diapers feel stiff or hard, which should be easy to notice! But why do old diapers get hard?
Old diapers get hard because of a process called dehydration. Basically, when diapers are stored in dry conditions over time, they absorb the moisture from the air around them which causes them to harden and become brittle. This is why it’s important to store diapers in sealed containers or bags if you want to maintain their flexibility and softness for longer periods of time.
Does Time Affect Diapers Effectiveness?
Time does indeed affect the effectiveness of diapers, old stored diapers may not be as effective as new ones. The reason behind this is that the loss in elasticity and absorption capabilities, as well as weaker adhesive tabs, could leave your little one susceptible to leaks.
Related: How to prevent diaper blowouts
What’s The Best Way To Store Diapers?
If you plan on keeping or stocking up on diapers and you want to know the best way to store them for the next baby or keep them long term, the good news is that this is fairly easy.
Storing baby diapers correctly is essential for keeping them in good condition. The best way to store a baby diaper is away from heat and sunlight – both of which can damage the absorbency of the diaper.
It’s also important to keep diapers away from humidity, which can lead to bacterial growth. To ensure that a diaper has a long life, avoid creasing or folding it excessively – this weakens the material and reduces absorption capabilities.
If you have opened packages of diapers with some remaining diapers that have not been used, take the diapers out of the original packaging and store them in a sealable container like a plastic bin or storage container. This will keep the diapers protected from moisture and dust, helping to increase their shelf life.
You could also vacuum seal the diapers to ensure extra protection.
Finally, make sure that diapers aren’t stored near sources of strong chemicals like bleach, detergent, and fabric softener.
Wherever you decide to store diapers, like a closet or nursery, put the oldest diapers in the front, that way they will get used first when you go to reach for them.
If you are completely done with diapers, here’s what you can do with unused diapers. There are many ways to go about disposing of unused diapers responsibly.
Should You Use Older Diapers?
It’s important to inspect the diaper before using it. Although there isn’t an expiration date on diapers, keep an eye out for signs of wear on the diaper before putting it on your baby.
Yellowed discolored diapers will not affect the diaper’s performance, but if you notice a strong smell or see cracking in the waterproof barriers, it’s best to toss that diaper.
While it’s on your baby check it frequently because as mentioned before, weakened elasticity can cause leaks. If the adhesive tabs are having a hard time staying put or the elastic is loose, the diaper will fit poorly around the waist and leg cuffs which will also result in leaks. It’s best not to use an old diaper in these cases.
Do eco-friendly diapers expire?
No, eco-friendly diapers don’t have an expiration date. However, it is still recommended to use them within 2-3 years time. As with all diapers, make sure to inspect the diaper before using it for signs of wear and tear.
Do Pampers Expire?
No, Pampers do not have an expiration date.
Do cloth diapers expire?
Cloth diapers do not have an expiration date, however, they should be cared for properly in order to maintain their effectiveness. Make sure to store them away from heat and sunlight and avoid creasing or folding them excessively as this could reduce absorbency capabilities.
Do diapers go bad?
No, diapers do not necessarily “go bad” but they can lose their elasticity and absorbency capabilities over time. If a diaper has been stored improperly, it is possible for it to become brittle and unusable. It’s best to use diapers within the recommended 2-3 years or inspect them for signs of wear before using them.
Disposable diapers don’t have an expiration date, but they can start to break down and lose absorbency over time. If you have a stockpile of diapers that you’re looking to use up, make sure to check them for wear before using them on your baby.
Once you open a package of diapers, it’s important to store them properly to help extend their lifespan – just like with any other product in your home. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your disposable diapers will be ready when you need them and that they’ll work as intended when it’s time to put them on your little one.