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Just the other day my husband happened to find a small pack of baby wipes in the back of our son’s closet and asks, “Do baby wipes expire? This pack looks old…”
We searched and searched the pack and weren’t able to find an expiration date!
That’s when the research began.
I started looking up whether or not baby wipes could expire AND I even emailed a few of the big-name brands and I’ll be sharing what they had to say towards the end of this article!
But first what do you think? Do baby wipes actually expire?
Let’s find out!
Do Baby Wipes Expire?
The bottom line — NOT REALLY. Most baby wipes do not, technically, expire.
They do, however, often have a shelf life. It’s not because they’ve “expired”, but usually because they’re just not effective to use anymore.
Baby wipes can dry out, get stiff, and in rare cases, get moldy.
You may have seen some baby wipes that DO actually have an expiration date on them — like one of the most popular brands, Water Wipes!
I personally LOVE water wipes. When I reached out about their expiration dates, they informed me that they “suggest that parents open within 18 months of the production date and use the pack within one month of opening. You can find both of these dates on the back of the pack.“
Unfortunately, there was no commentary as to “WHY” they expire, but my best guess has to do with dirt and bacteria introduction.
When we use baby wipes, it’s usually because we’re cleaning up a mess. Well, sometimes we reach into the packs (with our dirty hands) which can introduce, whatever nasty diaper disaster you’re working to clean up, into the pack.
However, if you run out of wipes and happen to find a pack that’s been sitting in your closet for the last 4 months, you’re probably good to use them.
Can you still use expired baby wipes?
Since most baby wipes don’t really expire, you CAN use most baby wipes up to 1 year, if not 2 years based on their shelf-life.
Of course, they should be properly sealed and cared for during that time. If the wipes have been open or a seal was broken, they may already have lost their moisture.
What’s the average shelf life of baby wipes?
Baby wipes all have different shelf lives. Shelf life, for the record, is to notify the consumer how long the wipes are sellable or good to use.
I’ve found that many wipes don’t have the expiration dates or shelf life date listed on their packaging. However, many of them do have them listed online or are happy to let you know if you contact them.
You can also checkout the quick baby wipe expiration cheat sheet I created below to help you out:
Baby Wipe Brand
How to Use
Feedback from the Brand
3 year shelf life
Recommended using within 12 months after opening. Store out of extreme temperatures and direct sunlight.
“The only instructions really are to keep the lid closed when not in use to keep moist and store at room temperature.”
2 year shelf life
Recommended using within 12 months after opening. Store in room temperature conditions, avoiding direct sunlight if possible.
“The shelf life of our products is 2 years. After that, you may begin to see changes in the way they look, smell, or work. However, your product could be older than that and still work perfectly well. Light, heat, and other factors can age products faster, so if it hasn’t been exposed to them it may be just fine.”
2 year shelf life
Recommended using within 12 months after opening.
“Huggies wipes do not have an expiration date. However, they do have a two-year shelf life. If wipes are opened and then properly closed, they will last approximately one year.”
Listed on the package
Please refer to your packaging for a specific expiration or shelf life date.
“In our commitment to transparency, the wipes have the expiration date on the product itself underneath the fold on the bottom of the packaging. As with most products with expiration dates, the date will be on the item itself.”
3 year shelf life
Recommended using within 36 months and proper opening/closing of lid.
" Our wipes do not expire, but have a shelf life of 36 months. So as long as these wipes have been purchased within 36 months, they are able to be used in confidence as our products don't typically sit on store shelves for very long."
Do natural baby wipes last longer than regular baby wipes?
After doing more research and comparing a variety of brands, it does not appear that natural baby wipes last any longer than regular baby wipes.
They almost ALL fall into the shelf life of 2-3 years after manufacture date so long as they are stored and cared for properly.
How to find the expiration date of your baby wipes:
After contacting quite a few baby wipe companies, many of them let me in on their little secret: though the wipes don’t technically expire, you can use the LOT codes to uncover when the product was made to then estimate it’s shelf life.
For example, Seventh Generation says, “The lot codes on our products tell us when the product was manufactured. Most of our lot codes will look similar to this: AB19234xxx1234234. The first 5 numbers of this code will indicate when the product was made. The first 2 numbers will represent the year, in this example “19” = 2019. The next 3 will be the day of the year it was made, in this example “234” = the 234th day of the year or August 21st. So this product was made on August 21, 2019, and would be good until AT LEAST August 21, 2021“.
Some lot codes may look different though.
If you see a lot code that looks a bit different and you’re not sure how to read it, give the brand a quick call or email to see if and when they expire.
Signs your baby wipes are expired:
If you’re wondering how you can still use your “expired baby wipes” because *wink wink*, they’re probably still good, here’s a few signs to pay attention to before using them on your baby’s gentle skin.
1) If they have mold, just toss em’
Mold is one of the top signs using an old pack of baby wipes is a NO-NO.
If you see any signs of dark patches, green spots, or anything that resembles mold, just toss them out.
Nobody needs moldy wipes being rubbed all over your baby’s delicate skin.
2) The wipes are all dried out
Wipes dry out, it’s true.
You might be thinking, “ugh, gotta toss these ones too!”, but not necessarily!
One little trick I learned in the NICU when my little guy was there was that some baby wipes really sucked at being moisturizing. They weren’t old, but they were still pretty dry.
Turns out, the easy hack to soften those wipes right up was to run some warm distilled water on them, shake them up in the pack, and bam — moist baby wipes to the rescue!
However, if this simple wipe hack doesn’t work — don’t be afraid to toss em’ and move on to some new wipes.
3) They’re 2+ years old
If your wipes are over 2 years old, chances are there might be no salvaging them.
They’ll likely be dry, ineffective, and possibly be growing mold by that point.
My best suggestion is to save yourself the headache of trying to revive those old wipes and just go get some new ones.
4) They’re ineffective
Wipes can become ineffective when their ingredients begin to break down and become, well, useless.
Typically, you’ll find that “moisturizing” wipes (like these ones) loaded with oils and moisturizing properties become ineffective when left unused for a long time.
You can try to revive these baby wipes, but chances are, if they’re super old, you’re likely better to simply replace them.
If store-bought baby wipes aren’t cutting it, make your own!
Yes, you read that right! You can absolutely make YOUR OWN baby wipes at home!
All you need is a few simple ingredients to mix together. Plus, when you make your own baby wipes, you will know FOR SURE if and when they’re no longer good.
DIY Baby Wipes Recipe
If you’re ready to make your own DIY Baby Wipes, here’s everything you need to get started:
- Roll of paper towels (highly suggest VIVA paper towels because of how velvety soft they are).
- 2 Cups of boiled water (you can also use distilled water to save time).
- Baby Shampoo (hands down Tubby Todd is the BEST because it smells amazing and is gentle + all-natural).
- Few drops of essential oil, avocado oil, or olive oil (to help with moisturizing and fragrance).
- Old plastic wipe container (if you don’t have an old container, you can also use a ziplock bag.
How to make homemade baby wipes (DIY Baby Wipes Instructions)
Now that you gathered all your necessities, here’s how to make your baby wipes:
- Lay your paper towel roll down in front of you and cut it in half.
- Take one of the rolls you just cut and place it into your container or zip lock bag.
- Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of baby shampoo and mix it into your 2 cups of boiled water.
- Mix in 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Pour the entire mixture over your paper towel roll.
- Let them sit for 15-20 minutes to soak up all the mixture. You can give them a little shake too, it helps me feel like they’re mixed perfectly.
- Now, they’re ready for use!
Can I make baby wipes at home with cloth?
I have not made my own baby wipes with a reusable cloth, but I have some mom friends who have.
I reached out to them for their best suggestion and they recommend using soft burp cloths (like these, which you can cut in half into smaller squares).
Another alternative for reusable cloth is a small terry knit washcloth, these ones work wonders!
Now that you’re all wiped out with information (pun-intended) you should at least know how to tell if and when your baby wipes have expired!
Looking for more baby care hacks, tips, and suggestions? Check these out below: