Carpets are among the house accessories that you clean regularly. As such, the detergents and cleaner that you use to wash these rugs can stay on the shelf until they expire.
Now, if there is one thing that most folks ignore, it is the expiry date on most of the cleaning products and detergents.
They consider the money spent to get the product and prefer to get their money’s worth even if it means using the expired cleaner.
So, does carpet cleaner expire? Is there harm in extending the use of these detergents once their shelf-life is over?
What are the safe ways to discard expired carpet cleaners? And what happens if the ‘use-by date’ is not available? Are there other ways to determine if the product is still in excellent condition?
Read along to find out more about these cleaners and how you can handle them once they are no longer safe to use.
Do Carpet Cleaners Expire?
Have you been hoarding your cleaning solutions and using them to clean your rug months after their expiration date, claiming that such products do not have an out of date?
I’ve got news for you. Carpet cleaners do expire. Manufacturers who produce carpet cleaners use chemicals to make potent detergents that you use at home.
Most chemicals depreciate once you mix them with other ingredients to make products. More so, exposure to light, air, and other environmental factors cause these items to weaken with time.
You may argue that companies use preservatives to extend their products’ shelf lives. Still, you may want to consider that these cleaners break down into different by-products because of the different ingredients used in their production.
By the time a manufacturer indicates the expiry date, they consider all the factors that will cause your carpet cleaner to lose its power.
Therefore, if you are holding on to a carpet cleaner with a due expiry date, you should consider some of the disposal options I’ve provided below.
Can I Use an Out-of-Date Carpet Cleaner?
Whether you use an expired cleaner or not depends on the type of ingredients it contains. Some carpet cleaning solutions such as the kind that remove stains have bleaching agents in their composition. The active ingredient in bleach that helps remove stains is sodium hypochlorite.
When this ingredient decomposes, the bleach turns into salt and water. After the decomposition of bleach, you can no longer use the cleaning agent to remove stains from the carpet because it will not work as before.
You’ll be cleaning using salt and water, which is pointless because those do not remove stains from rugs. If you keep using such cleaners even after they expire, you’ll have to use more energy to get the work done. You may even have to bring a brush into the equation to get the job done.
Other carpet cleaners do not have bleach in them, so you will not notice any significant change in their appearance when they expire. They look the same and probably even work the same.
However, a few months down the line, these solutions also begin to break down. At this point, you’ll notice that the container had sediments of the ingredients separated from each other, including the color.
When it gets to this, using the product to clean won’t yield any results. The best solution would be to discard the contents safely.
How Can I Make My Carpet Cleaner Last Longer?
Most manufacturers add preservatives to their products as a measure of extending their shelf life. However, preservatives alone are not enough to keep the detergent in pristine conditions.
You have to observe other rules that work in conjunction with the preservatives to help the cleaner last longer.
Cover the solution after each use
People commit a grave mistake when they leave their cleaning solutions open. While the adverse effects of this decision won’t show immediately, you’ll notice them a few months after consistently failing to cover your solution.
Air and other loose particles within the atmosphere will make their way into the bottle. These substances will help the solution decompose faster since they facilitate the breaking down of the product’s enzymes.
And once this happens, you’re left with a less powerful cleaner that cannot work optimally. Placing the lid back over the container’s opening helps to extend your rug cleaning solution so you can enjoy its services.
Avoid mixing it with other ingredients
At times, you may want to make your carpet cleaner work even better, so you mix it with a bleaching agent to increase its potency. Depending on the ingredients the manufacturer uses to make that cleaner, you will have varying results.
Your solution may decompose into salt and water solution if it has acid as one of its key ingredients, and you go ahead to mix it with an alkaline bleach. Your once effective cleaner will turn into a soapy diluted liquid that cannot remove stains.
Observe storage rules
If you look closely at the instructions written on your cleaner’s container, you’ll notice that the manufacturer recommends that you store the bottle in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. How long your carpet cleaner lasts solely depends on your ability to follow these instructions.
You see, manufacturers mix these ingredients at room temperature because if they do so in a heated room, they will create a different product altogether.
Heat acts as a catalyst that speeds up the reaction of a chemical mixture. If your solution has a combination of an acid and alkaline, storing them in a hot place will accelerate the reaction, turning your solution into salt and water.
Light is another component that facilitates the loss of potency in most cleaning solutions. The UV rays break down the enzymes in your carpet cleaner, turning it into a useless liquid.
And of course, water will dilute a cleaner when you store it in a moist environment, making it less effective with each exposure.
How do I Know My Carpet Cleaner is Expired?
The most common way to find out how much longer you can use a product is to look at the expiry date manufacturers indicate on the bottle.
However, some of these products have bleach in them, which may rub off these critical details. In this case, you can use alternative options to note whether the product is in good shape or not.
Please take a look at the container’s contents and look for any changes in its consistency. When you first open a carpet cleaner, the solution is thick, but it turns into a runny liquid once it expires. If this is the case, then it is time to get a new stain removal solution for the carpet.
You can also observe how the solution works to determine whether it is still potent. Freshly opened cleaners remove stains within the specified time. Over time, the ingredients decompose, making the cleaner less effective.
One way to note this is to observe how long the cleaner takes to remove a stain. If it takes longer than usual, or you have to use energy to make it work, you may want to include a carpet cleaner on your grocery list.
How do I Dispose of Expires Carpet Cleaner?
Now that you’ve ascertained that your carpet cleaner is unfit for use, do you know how to dispose of it safely?
One of the full-proof ways to get rid of the solution is to drain it into a sink. Afterward, run the tap for a few seconds to help eliminate traces of the solution from the sink.
You can also drain the contents of the bottle into the toilet and flush them down the drain. Rinse out the bottle completely, then throw it out into the trash can.
You can equally throw the entire bottle together with its contents into the litter bin and let recyclers handle its remains.
However, this option is risky considering that the bottle may leak, posing a threat to the environment. And while you’re disposing of the container, remember to put it together with other recyclables.
One other safe way to discard these expired chemicals is to contact your local council waste disposal team and schedule a day for the pick-up.
These individuals know how to handle different types of expired goods, making them the best waste discarding option.
Does carpet cleaner expire?
We’ve established that, like all other cleaning products, carpet cleaners do expire. Keep checking the expiry date so that you do not use a defective product to clean your carpet.
You should also avoid using expired products because they are a threat to your health and other peoples around. Instead, find safe ways to discard these items as soon as you discover their shelf life is due.
Remember, you can extend or maintain your carpet cleaner’s shelf life if you follow the manufacturer’s storage instructions and if you do not add other ingredients into the solution.