When we had our first son, my husband and I had a bad habit of over-buying of diapers. Our little guy grew quickly and wasn't in a diaper size long enough for us to use all of them. So here we were, with a potty-trained two-year-old, and mountains of old diapers. I don't need to tell you; this is a bad way to run a budget.
Fast forward one year, and we have a new little bundle of joy. Yes! We think, a chance to use up those old diapers. The only problem is…do diapers expire? If they do, what part will expire first? Do certain brands last longer than others? What about different sizes?
Like you, we weren’t sure. So we did some digging. Read on for more information on what some favorite diaper brands have to say.
A Diaper and Its Parts
A diaper is made up of several different parts. The cloth of the diaper, the elastic waistband, the adhesive strips, and the chemical for absorption are all of the parts of the diaper that may fail over time.
To see which of these parts would expire the quickest, we first reached out to the companies that produce the most popular brands of diapers.
Do Diapers Expire? Here is What the Brands Say
After browsing the Huggies website, we were unable to find the answer to our question. Therefore, we reached out to them through email. According to the email that we received from a customer service representative, Huggies diapers will not expire.
Wherever you store, the diapers may affect how they smell, or they might experience a fading of color. However, the representative stated that this should not influence the performance of the diapers.
We also contacted folks who make Pampers diapers, and they shared the same kind of information with us. They said that their diapers would not ever expire. However, the diapers may yellow over time and may become less effective depending on where they are stored.
So, after talking to the source, we found that diapers do not expire, but rather may change the way that they smell, change color, or lose color over time.
However, while they manufacturer most definitely understands their product, we weren't entirely convinced. Therefore, we went ahead and checked another source for you…the consumer!
Do Diapers Expire? Here is What Consumers Say
We came across a whole bunch of discussion boards filled with parents who had the same fundamental question as us, do diapers expire? What we found was that the different parts of a diaper will start to break down over time, but will not ever truly expire.
1. Cloth of the Diaper
Just like the producers said they wouldn't; we found that no one had experienced the fabric of the diaper breaking down over time. The cloth may yellow a bit, but it will not break down.
2. Elastic Waistband
Over time, according to our research, the elastic waistband will not lose its elasticity over time. It remained just as stretchy from the first diaper to the last diaper several years later.
3. Sticky Strips
Here is where we found the first discrepancy between what the producers are saying and the consumers are experiencing.
We found that on several different boards users had diapers that after a period (5+ years) of the opening the package, the adhesive strips did not stick as well as they had when the pack first opened. They still worked, but not as effectively.
4. Chemicals for Absorption
Once again, we found a difference in consumer experience when compared to what the diaper companies said would happen. We discovered that if diapers had been opened for an extended period, about ten years, they did not absorb moisture as well as they had previously.
This absorbency reduction occurred because they have already absorbed a lot of moisture from the air. To combat this, lots of users recommended repackaging the diapers with a vacuum sealer or tape when they were not in use, thus keeping them from absorbing too much moisture.
So Do Diapers Expire or Not?
After carefully reviewing all of the information out there on the subject, we have come to the conclusion that diapers will not ever truly expire. However, there are some important caveats to that rule that you should take into consideration.
Though they will not ever truly expire, they may lose some of their effectiveness over a considerable amount of time. After about five years, the stickiness that holds the sides of the diapers together will begin become less sticky. It will still work, but may not hold together as well if the diaper becomes unusually full.
After a longer period, unsealed diapers will lose a little bit of their absorbance, since they take in moisture from the air. Again, they will still absorb some liquid, but not quite as much as they did when they were brand new, which consumers can combat by repackaging the diapers in some way to help keep them fresh, even years down the road.
Share your experiences
So, have any of you had any similar experiences with diapers losing their effectiveness? Please comment below to share your experiences or if you have any questions.