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Do Water Wipes Expire? Are They Dangerous? Answered In Detail

Water wipes or wet wipes are an essential product in every household nowadays. I know I use them all the time, whether it is for wiping my baby after a diaper change, cleaning my hands after I get off the bus, or trying to get the dirt off my white sneakers.

I have small water wipes packets in every purse and big ones in every room in my house, I even have some in my car. They are all over the place and I can’t keep track of when did I buy which packet. This led me to the question do water wipes expire, so I did a little research.

Main Points

  • Water wipes usually have an expiration date on the back of the package.
  • Wet wipes have a long shelf life of around 4 years.
  • They usually last for 4 weeks after they’ve been opened.
  • Some water wipes last longer because they have preservatives.
  • Key signs that your wet wipes have expired are mold, bad smell, and dryness.

Do water wipes expire?

Water wipes do expire. For most brands, water wipes have an expiration date of 24 to 30 months. Although after opening the package, it is recommended you use them within 30 days.

Things you need to know

When you go grocery shopping it is very common to check the expiration date on things like milk, bread, orange juice, and so on.

Checking for the expiration date of water pipes is probably something that never crossed your mind to do. You may be surprised to find out that most wet wipes actually have an expiration date listed on the package.

However, obviously, they don’t expire like the other product we mentioned. When milk is expired it’s unsafe to consume, and it can cause a bad reaction that results in you throwing up for a few days and sleeping on the bathroom floor. For anyone who has been there, I feel you.

Wet wipes on the other hand won’t cause you to violently throw up if you use them past their expiration date. They can however expire in the sense of not being useful anymore.

Shelf life

Water wipes have a long shelf life of around 3 to 4 years. Shell life means that they will still look brand new as long as you keep them sealed and in store-like condition, preferably in a cool and dim place, not exposed to direct sunlight.

I have left an unopen pack of wet wipes, in my car in the blazing summer heat. After a few days they were still wipes, but not wet ones for sure. All the liquid dried up and I was left with a pack of strange-looking wipes I didn’t know what to use for. But, on the bright side, they still smelled nice so I kept them around for a while.

After opening

After you open a pack of wet wipes, you’ll probably have around 4 weeks to use them up before they start to dry up. I don’t know about you, but in my house, there is no way a pack of 50 water wipes will last for 4 weeks.

I use them for everything, to wipe my stove after frying something so the oil that flew everywhere doesn’t leave stains, to clean my hands if I don’t have a bathroom close by, to wipe my dog’s paws after we go on a walk, and for so much more. One pack in 4 weeks, never going to happen.

However, if you aren’t wasteful like I tend to be, then you have a longer time to use up all the wet wipes before they start to dry out. Makes sure to close them up very well so that you can keep them from drying too fast.

Some people make homemade hydrating solutions for baby wipes by soaking their old dried ones in distilled water, essential oils, and liquid baby soap.

Also, don’t be like me and don’t leave them in your car in the summer. Not only will they dry out very fast, but before they do they will have a very weird feeling to them. Imagine a normal wet wipe, but it feels warm. Not pleasant!

Expiration date

As I already mentioned, baby wipes don’t expire in the same way other products do. However, they do have an expiration date and they can start losing their effectiveness.

Dry out

I already talked about his. Water wipes are made by soaking regular wipes in water, and moisturizing oils and some can contain alcohol so they can be classified as antibacterial.

Due to this, it’s no surprise that they can dry out if you leave them in the open. Looking back on it I could have probably used my dried-up wipes as makeup removers or something similar.


Moisture is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold. This is why you should keep an eye on your wet wipes after the expiration date passes. If they show signs of changing color or smell, or even if they become slimmer than usual, throw them away.

Even if they are anti-bacterial, after some time the alcohol will evaporate along with the other detergents, leaving just the water behind.


Water wipes are often soaked in moisturizers, oils, detergents, and so on. These, similar to the alcohol we talked about, will start to deteriorate over time due to the lack of preserving agents in most natural wet wipe brands.


Generally, it is considered safe to use wet wipes after the expiration date. If you can’t tell that any change in color and smell has accrued, then you are good to go.  However, you will want to avoid using them on your baby’s skin.

Check the back of the package to see if your wet wipes have preservatives. If they do, then they are safe to use even after they expire.

Natural wet wipes that don’t contain preservatives can be unsafe for use on the skin. You can still use them for cleaning your stove, sink, fridge door, or even your shoes, just make sure they don’t have any mold on them.


So, after my research, this is my answer to the question do water wipes expire? They do and they don’t. Don’t you love answers like that- said nobody.

Generally, if you use your wet wipes after the expiration date, nothing will happen, just make sure that they don’t look or smell odd. Also, try not to use them on your baby’s skin just to be safe.

after opening make sure to seal the package as best as you can in order to keep them from drying out to fast.

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