We’re used to seeing expiration dates on food, drink, and cosmetics. But what about diapers? If you’re anything like me, you were given a ton of the same diaper size at your baby shower. While I was super appreciative, it meant that I was left with a few packs of diapers after my little one had grown out of them… in what felt like a week.
So if you are left with perfectly usable diapers, but with a baby who’s, out of nowhere, a toddler, can you save those diapers for the next baby? Is it safe to use old diapers and do diapers expire once they’re opened?
Here’s everything you need to know about how long diapers last!
Note: Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Do diapers expire?
Technically, baby diapers don’t have an expiry date. Provided they’re kept in temperate conditions, that is. But most diaper manufacturers recommend using your diapers within a couple of years of buying them to ensure they work as they’re supposed to.
Leaving diapers for too long can have a detrimental effect on their performance.
How can age affect a diaper’s performance?
- Color changes
Leaving a diaper for too long can result in discoloration of the outer layer. This is a normal result of exposure to the air and it doesn’t really change the effectiveness of diapers. They’ll probably look pretty yellow though.
- Issues with absorption
If you’re using really old diapers, there’s a chance that their absorption might be affected and that’s because the absorbing material in the diaper breaks down over time. To make sure your diapers are as effective as possible, use them within 2 years of buying them.
- Issues with leaks
Leak issues can arise if you leave diapers for too long before using them. And that’s because the elastic around the legs could have loosened and the adhesive on the sticky tabs could also become less effective over time.
- Fragrance changes
Time can also affect what a diaper smells like. Some diapers have added fragrances, Pampers diapers, for example. Leaving diapers for too long before using them can either diminish the smell or change it. After all, fragrances are often a term used to cover up a whole host of added chemicals in diapers, which are completely unnecessary.
How to store diapers
Try to store your diapers in a cool, shaded place – anywhere that’s not super hot or cold in direct sunlight should ensure they maintain their absorbency and elasticity for a couple of years.
Pampers recommends keeping your diapers away from humidity and extreme heat, and in an area that’s ‘85 degrees Fahrenheit or less’.
Diaper Shelf Life FAQs
Do Pampers diapers expire?
Pampers let parents know that their diapers don’t have an expiry date, although they might go a little off-color. They state that it shouldn’t affect their absorbency though.
Pampers are also well known for being heavily scented, so leaving Pampers diapers for a lot longer than a couple of years before use might result in this fragrance fading.
Do Honest Company diapers expire?
Honest diapers are predominantly with plant-based materials and are much more eco and skin-friendly than big brands like Huggies and Pampers. But just because they’re plant-based doesn’t mean they have to be used quicker than other diapers.
Honest diapers don’t have a specific expiry date. Like all diapers, their effectiveness could deteriorate over time though, so it’s probably best to use them within a couple of years if you can.
Do Kirkland diapers expire?
Although Kirkland diapers, Costco’s own brand, don’t have an expiry date, some reviews suggest that they may start to turn a little yellow if they’re not used within a couple of years.
Is it safe to use old diapers?
There’s no evidence to suggest that it isn’t safe to use old diapers, but, for them to be at their most effective, try to use them within a couple of years of purchasing.
Do Parent’s Choice diapers expire?
Parent’s Choice diapers are Walmart’s own brand. Walmart doesn’t state that they have a specific expiry date, so as long as they’re kept in temperate, dry conditions, they should be fine for a couple of years.
What can you do with unused diapers?
With 20 billion diapers ending up in landfills each year in America alone, we really need to try not to waste any unused diapers if we can. If you find yourself with a bunch of unused diapers, whether that’s thanks to a very generous baby or diaper shower guests or a rapidly growing baby, here’s what you can do to ensure your diapers don’t go to waste.
- Give them to family or friends
Any new or expecting parents will be super grateful for diaper donations. If you have any family members or friends who will find extra diapers useful, ask them if they’d like your spares. You could save them a fair few dollars.
- Donate them to charity
It’s worth contacting local refuges, hospitals or family centers to see if they’d make use of spare diapers. For families on low incomes, the cost of diapers can be absolutely astronomical. You never know who might be grateful for that bumper pack of Huggies you have going spare.
- Save them for the next baby!
So many people ask if they can save diapers for the next baby. It’s a tricky one, but if your baby has just grown out of a size and you’re planning another little bundle of joy in the not too distant future, it might be worth keeping them. That’s if you have room to store them, of course.
Donating them to family, friends or charity is the best alternative!
- Use them at a diaper shower
One of the most popular baby shower or diaper shower games involves putting diapers on dolls or bears as quickly as you possibly can. If there’s no other way to use your old diapers or if they’ve been hanging around for longer than 2 years, use them at a diaper shower!
How long do diapers last in the landfill?
Most diapers are made predominantly with petroleum-based plastics. We all know that plastics are the planet’s arch-nemesis and for good reason. Plastic diapers will only degrade after a few hundred years at best, releasing harmful toxins as they go. In fact, some plastics, shockingly, could outlive the human race.
When diapers find themselves in landfill sites, they have the potential to contaminate the groundwater, air, and wildlife, and it’s even worse if they haven’t been disposed of properly. Check out my guide to getting rid of diapers in the right way – it might just shock you.
Do Babyganics diapers expire?
Babyganics doesn’t state that their diapers have an expiry date, so just try to use them within a couple of years of opening to ensure they keep the pee and poop at bay effectively.
Do Hello Bello diapers expire?
Hello Bello diapers don’t have an expiry date and there are no reports that I can see of discoloration. To be on the safe side, try to use them within 2 years, as with all diapers.
What are the best eco-friendly diapers?
There are so many options available when it comes to eco-friendly diapers. And, considering the average diaper’s awful impact on the planet, there’s never been a better time to make the switch. So which should you go for?
Plant-based and biodegradable diapers are where it’s at when it comes to saving the planet. Diapers made from wood, bamboo, or cane are much better than those made predominantly with petroleum-based plastics. Dyper, Hello Bello and Andy Pandy diapers are some of my favorites; they’re all completely free of toxins like fragrances and phthalates too and Hello Bello diapers, in particular, are pretty budget-friendly.
Not all plant-based diapers are biodegradable though and these kinds of bum-huggers are the pinnacle of green diapering. Biodegradable diapers tend to be made from bamboo, which makes a great material for diapers because it’s so soft, strong, and absorbent. If a diaper is biodegradable, it means that it should break down back into the soil in a few months rather than a few hundred years. Companies like Dyper, Dewor, and Eco Pea offer amazing biodegradable bamboo diapers.
Do Diapers Expire? The bottom line
Even though most diapers don’t have a specific expiry date, it’s certainly a better idea to use them within a couple of years to make sure they effectively keep the pee and poop at bay. Time can affect a diaper’s absorption and elasticity, not to mention the possibility of them turning an off-putting shade of yellow.
If you find yourself with unused diapers, the best thing to do is to ask around – family members, friends, or charities might be on the lookout for spares.
It’s more important than ever that we use all of our diapers – both for our bank balances and for the planet!