Do Disinfecting Wipes Expire? A Complete Guide
Disinfectant wipes are highly effective at killing a range of contaminants, including COVID-19, MRSA, and influenza.
But can disinfecting wipes expire? Businesses often purchase boxes of disinfecting wipes in bulk to save money and ensure they have a supply of wipes to sell at all times. However, you may wonder how long your wipes have left before you compromise your hygiene. We are here to help.
In this guide, you will find the answers to questions like, “Do disinfecting wipes expire?” and “Can you use expired disinfectant wipes for cleaning?”
Do Disinfecting Wipes Expire?
The short answer is yes, but the situation is far more complicated than that. Most EPA-registered disinfectant wipes contain Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs), which dispute lipid envelopes and membranes.
QACs make modern disinfecting wipes extremely effective for dealing with pathogens on surfaces around the workplace.
According to one study, QACs can deactivate COVID-19 in less than 30 seconds, making them one of the most effective active ingredients available.
However, these ingredients are not eternal. Like bleach, they do expire, but they do not go bad in the same way as food. The rule is that most disinfectant wipes will expire 12 months after they have been manufactured.
In terms of expiry, disinfecting wipes will still have a certain level of effectiveness after these 12 months. On the other hand, they will no longer conform to the manufacturer’s promises, such as killing 99.9% of all bacteria on surfaces.
Wipes.com disinfectant wipes do not have an expiry date because the active ingredients begin to break down 12 months after manufacture.
How to Tell if Your Disinfectant Cleaner is Expired or Out of Date
Disinfecting wipes without an expiration date makes some business owners believe their wipes are good forever, but this is a misconception.
Instead, you may need to look at the manufacture date or the “best by” date. All manufacturers can decide how they wish to express this information. After all, the regulations only require manufacturers to provide a clear expiration indicator, but there is no mandated uniform format.
Different brand formats exist, with the most popular being “Best if used by” labels, with a simple date to guide you.
On the other hand, some popular brands of disinfecting wipes still use arcane labeling formulas.
For example, you may find a small sequence of letters and numbers with a timestep attached. So, what does this look like?
In this case, the code may seem like nothing, but it provides all the necessary information. Here is how to decode this disinfecting wipes expiration date code:
- B7 – The plant’s code for where the wipes were manufactured.
- 19 – The year the product was manufactured. In this case, it would be 2019.
- 0 – Ignore the zero. It is used to separate two sets of numbers.
- 67 – Manufactured on the 67th day of the year 2019, or Friday, March 9.
Unless you know what such a code means, you may believe that disinfecting wipes can never expire. So, this is important to keep in mind.
How to Store Disinfecting Wipes
Maintaining the potency of your disinfecting wipes means taking action to ensure that the active ingredients do not break down prematurely.
Follow these tips for storing your disinfecting wipes:
- Keep out of reach of children.
- Avoid storing your wipes in direct sunlight.
- Close the box tightly to stop the wipes from being exposed.
- Ensure moisture does not get into the wipes by storing them in a dry place.
Can you still use expired disinfectant wipes?
Yes, you can. However, they will no longer function as well as they should before the expiration date. Once your wipes expire, you cannot expect them to conform to the manufacturer’s promises.
With 58% of office workers wanting to see increased cleaning measures after the pandemic, it makes little sense to use expired wipes.
Are expired disinfectant wipes still effective?
No, they are not as effective as they are supposed to be. However, they aren’t entirely ineffective. Expired wipes do not go from 99.9% effectiveness to 0% in a few days, but their effectiveness will drop over time.
Is using expired disinfectant wipes fatal?
There is no evidence that expired disinfectant wipes pose a direct or fatal health threat. However, they may cause an indirect health threat because they no longer kill germs on your surfaces.
With the immunocompromised making up around 3% of the U.S. population, expired wipes could also make them sick. It is best not to use expired wipes if you are at risk.
Is there a disinfectant wipe without an expiration date?
No, all disinfecting wipes will eventually expire. The vast majority of manufacturers have a 12-month window from the date of manufacture because this is how long the most popular active ingredients can last.
Do disinfecting wipes expire if you follow all of the correct storage steps? Yes, and there is nothing that you can do to prevent expiry. It underlines the importance of connecting with a reliable supplier of EPA-approved wipes.
At Wipes.com, our approved and regulated wipes are designed to maintain a safe space for your employees and customers. With bulk options available and a variety of uses, our wipes are the ideal solution for eradicating bacteria and viruses.
To find out more about bulk order discounts, contact Wipes.com now.