15 Everyday Items that Outlive their Expiration Date

In our throwaway culture, it’s refreshing to know that some items stand the test of time. It’s easy to forget that not everything loses its value or usability after its “best by” date.

In fact, many items can still serve a purpose long after we’ve deemed them “expired.” Let’s dive into 15 such items that defy the odds and remain useful even after their expiration dates.

In our throwaway culture, it’s refreshing to know that some items stand the test of time. Here are 15 items that remain useful even after their expiration dates.

1. Sealed Bottled Water

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Photo Credit: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.

Water doesn’t “expire” in the traditional sense. The expiration date on bottled water is more about the bottle than the water.

Over time, plastic can leach chemicals into the water, altering its taste. However, if stored away from direct sunlight and in a cool environment, the water remains potable for years.

2. OTC Medications

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Illustration. Photo Credit: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock.

Research requested by the U.S. military found that many medications remain effective long after their expiration dates.

In fact, 90% of the military’s medicine inventory was still functional even 15 years post-expiration ¹. However, always consult with a healthcare professional before consuming expired medication.

3. Dry Pasta

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Image Credit:resnick_joshua1/DepositPhotos.

Pasta is a dried product, and its longevity is impressive. When stored in a sealed container, away from moisture and pests, it can be a reliable source of meals for years. Its texture and cooking time might slightly vary, but it remains nutritious.

4. Rice

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Image Credit:qwartm/DepositPhotos.

White rice, especially, has a long shelf life. Brown rice, with its natural oils, might turn rancid after a while. However, white rice, when stored in a moisture-free environment, can be a staple food for years, providing essential energy through carbohydrates.

5. Honey

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Image Credit: anutr tosirikul/Shutterstock.

Honey’s natural composition prevents it from spoiling. Archaeologists have even discovered pots of honey in ancient Egyptian tombs that are over 3,000 years old and still perfectly edible. If it crystallizes, a gentle warming can return it to its liquid state.

6. MRE’s

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Image Credit: Bluebearwing/Shutterstock.

MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, are designed for longevity. Depending on storage conditions, they can remain edible for years beyond their expiration dates. While the taste might degrade, they provide essential nutrients in emergency situations.

7. Batteries

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Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

While the efficiency of batteries diminishes over time, they can still provide power. It’s essential to check for any leakage or corrosion before use, especially in critical devices like smoke detectors.

8. Milk With A Sour Taste

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Image Credit: Photoongraphy/Shutterstock.

Instead of discarding sour milk, it can be repurposed. It serves as an excellent fertilizer for gardens, adds tang to bread and biscuit recipes, and can even be used in making specific cheeses like cottage cheese.

9. Canned Food

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The canning process preserves food for extended periods. As long as the can remains undamaged, the contents should remain safe to eat, even if the taste slightly degrades over time.

10. Vinegar

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Image Credit: Michelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock.

Vinegar’s high acidity acts as a natural preservative. Whether it’s white, apple cider, or balsamic, vinegar can be used in culinary applications and cleaning solutions long after its expiration date.

11. Spices and Herbs

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Image Credit: Madlen/Shutterstock.

While they might lose some of their zest, spices and dried herbs remain safe to use indefinitely. Storing them in airtight containers away from heat and moisture will prolong their usability.

12. Cleaning Materials

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Detergents, bleaches, and disinfectants can still clean effectively after their expiration dates. In some cases, you might need to use a bit more to achieve the desired cleaning effect.

13. Fuel

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Image Credit:erikdegraaf/DepositPhotos.

Old gasoline loses its optimal combustion properties over time. While it’s not recommended for vehicles, it can be repurposed for starting fires or used in devices less sensitive to fuel quality.

14. Newspapers

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Image Credit: qvist/Shutterstock.

Beyond reading, old newspapers serve multiple purposes. They can be used as kindling, wrapping material for fragile items, or even as insulation during cold weather.

15. Ripped Clothing

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Old clothing has numerous second-life uses. They can be turned into patches for other clothes, sewn into quilts, or even braided into rugs. Cotton clothing can be composted, returning its fibers to the earth.

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A TikTok user’s recent post has brought this issue to the forefront, highlighting the US’s exorbitant prices of basic grocery items.

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In a recent online debate, a woman showcased her $55 Pizza Hut order, leading to a split opinion on whether the amount and type of food she received was worth the price.

The order, shared by a user who is a certified food enthusiast, included various items from the popular pizza chain.

Final Thoughts & Sources

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Image Credit: Krakenimages.com/DepositPhotos.

In a nutshell, with a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, many items can find a second life long after their “best by” date. Always prioritize safety and use common sense when repurposing expired items.

This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter.

  1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7040264/
Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.