Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saving Money Mommy's Tuesday Tip- Shelf Life for Laundry Products

My tip for today is to watch the expiration dates on the things you buy and stockpile for awhile.  I bought a few bottles of Purex Fabric Softener a couple of years ago and was down to my last bottle.  Most fabric softeners do not have expiration dates on them, so I had no idea they do expire.  The fabric softener comes in a transparent bottle.  I noticed that it had started to separate.  The creamy part was on the bottom and a clear yellow liquid was at the top.  It was also very thick when I poured it.  It was out in my hot garage so I thought it was due to the heat.  I called Purex and they had me read a set of numbers and letters from the bottle.  Once I read it, they said that particular bottle had expired and fabric softener was only good for two years.  I also have Purex laundry detergent and asked them about that too.  They told me that Purex liquid laundry detergent is only good for one year.  I was shocked!  I have ten bottles stockpiled right now.  I'm going to check the codes on them and see how old they are.  This is the way to interpret Purex:

This is the code on my bottle: PM9L051L80
The 3rd digit, which is "9" in this case, means it was made in 2009.  A "0" would mean 2010.
The 4th digit, which is "L" in this case, means the month.  The month codes are as follows:
A= January
B= February
C= March
D= April
E= May
F= June
G= July
H= August
K= September
L= October
M= November
N= December

The 5th and 6th digits which in this case are "05" means the day.  So in this case, my laundry detergent was manufactured on October 5, 2009.  I didn't buy this that long ago and in terms of expiration dates, I would only have about 1 1/2 months left for this bottle.  Now this bottle is not clear, so I wouldn't notice a difference in the appearance after the expiration date like I did with the fabric softener.  I heard that laundry detergent would get thinner as opposed to fabric softener which gets thicker after the expiration date.  I don't know if that's true, but I do know that I will keep this code chart with me in my coupon file and check the next time I buy Purex laundry detergent and/or fabric softener.

I also called the manufacturer of All to get their expiration codes.  The code on the cap of the bottle is as follows:
The 031510 means that the bottle of laundry detergent was manufactured on March 15, 2010.  They told me that their laundry detergent has a 3 year shelf life so it would be good until March 15, 2013.

I also called the manufacturer of Arm & Hammer.  I have a bottle of Arm & Hammer 2X Concentration Laundry Detergent in Clean Burst.  They told me this product has an indefinite shelf life if stored properly.

I also called Clorox who makes Green Works laundry detergent.  The code on the bottle is as follows:
KC9177 2122
The 3rd Digit is the last digit of the year.  9=2009, 0=2010
The 177 = the Julian Day.  001 would be January 1st, 002 would be January 2nd and so on.  In this case, 177 is June 25th so my laundry detergent was manufactured on June 26, 2009.  The representative at Clorox said that for the best quality, this laundry detergent should be used within one year.  After that, it may not clean as well.

My last call went to Proctor & Gamble for my bottle of Downy Fabric Softener.  The code on the bottle is as follows:
The first digit is the last digit of the year.  0= 2010
The next three digits is the Julian Day.  In this case, 179 is June 28th so my fabric softener was manufactured on June 28, 2010.  The rep told me that the shelf life for this product is one year.  He said that the product could be good to use after on year, but it was not guaranteed.

I learned a lot from this test and I hope you did too.  I just can't believe that the manufacturers all have different shelf life dates for laundry products!  Watch those expiration codes and don't stockpile more than you can handle.  Go out today and get a great deal!


  1. I know, I can't believe it either. I spent the week calling every afternoon companies for their shelf life. The probleme is that not all the reps say the same thing ex.: Purex most of them said 3 years (for the liquid detergent for laundry) so I called again and all of a sudden it was 1 year. It is quite a gap, they hate me there cause I called so many times to get the right answer from different reprensentative. Some detergent and fabric softener on top of that have a different life time once the product is opened. Example: 9 months for P&G products is 6 months once openened. I told them that they should write that on their bottle and have a BB/date on their products so we don't go and by a bunch of bottles when they are on special. Be aware. I developped a lot of anxiety over that so now I call all the companies for all my products but again you sometimes get different answers from different reps so why don't they just write their stupid Best before date and say if once the bottle is opened if it makes a difference. We should know and be told as customers.

  2. Thanks for the information. I had couple of Purex softner and they turned into thick liquid. I did not know what happened to them.