When to Throw Out Old Cleaning Supplies

We all have a closet, or closets, maybe a few different cupboards around the home with various cleaning supplies. Some are all purpose wonders that help in nearly any situation while others are great for a specific task like removing tough carpet stains or cleaning very dirty grout lines. Whatever the item is for their may be some cleaners in your cupboards that have been around a while and you may be wondering if they are still useable.

Sometime we think that cleaners because they are chemicals can’t go bad, but in fact there are some cleaners in your arsenal that can go bad. Here are some reasons those cleaning solutions may need the old heave-ho.

Use only on Occasion

Cleaners that have been purchased and stored without regular use can lose their effectiveness. Typically bleach has a shelf life of 6 months (some of you may not have been aware of just that fact). For bleach to stay at its best cleaning power for those 6 months it needs to be stored at the right temperature. Bleach can lose small amounts of cleaning oomph after just 3 months even when stored between 50 and 70 degrees.

Not being Stored Correctly

Cleaning supplies that are not stored according to the directions on the packaging will lose effectiveness. Many cleaning supplies should not be stored in places of extreme cold or heat or near flames. Make sure all lids are tightly replaced some cleaning supplies can evaporate when not sealed all the way. Some cleaning supplies shelf lives lessen when they are put in a different container or mixed to make a new solution. Bleach that has been diluted in water will weaken over a period of just 24 hours.

Bad Smell

If your cleaning solution is omitting a smell other than the original scent of the cleaner (some cleaners start out smelling funny such as vinegar and ammonia) than it is probably a good time to say goodbye to it.


Both powder and liquid type cleansers should be smooth when first purchased. If these items begin to form clumps with time it is a sign that they are past their prime and they should be replaced. Cleaners with clumps can actually pose danger to the user especially cleaners that foam when liquid is added as it can possibly make the chunk into a projectile object.

Change of Original Color

If a cleaner is anything other than the original color when you bought it, it has more than likely lost its cleaning power and could be potentially unsafe.

Broken or Damaged Container

It is a best practice to keep cleaners in their original containers as much as possible, unless the instructions state otherwise or you are mixing a safe homemade solution. If the packaging on the outside is damaged the product on the inside more than likely is as well it is safest just to buy a new cleaner.

Need more advice on what cleaners work best on your carpets, upholstery, or tile? All Kleen has a team of highly trained carpet, upholstery and tile cleaning professionals ready to help you out. All Kleen can be at your Seattle or Snohomish County home ready to clean carpets and remove stains.