Laundry detergents come in liquid, powder and individual use formats. While they do not "go bad" or spoil, it is possible that they can loose some of their effectiveness in cleaning clothes.
Some liquid detergents list a “best used by” date. After this point, the formula can begin to break down and ingredients separate. This is often affected by drastic changes in temperature - excessive heat or if the formula is allowed to freeze. You can still use the product - it is not harmful - but you may find clumping. Give the bottle a good shake before using. "Lumpy" products should not be used in automatic dispensers.
If the product doesn't have a "best used by" date, use this rule of thumb: unopened, the container is good for 9 months to 1 year. After opening, use within 6 months.
The same time frame applies to powdered detergents unless they have been exposed to moisture. If powdered detergent becomes hard or cakey, it should be discarded because it probably won’t dissolve correctly in the wash leaving soap deposits on your clothing.
Single Dose Products
If you have used single dose laundry detergent packs, you know that the polyvinyl film is manufactured to be quick-dissolving. Even wet hands can start the process before the pack is in the washer. If the packs have been exposed to excessive moisture, they will clump together and must be discarded.
Other Laundry Products
Chlorine bleach begins to loose effectiveness after it is opened and should be discarded after six months. Powdered oxygen-based bleaches are activated by water. The solution looses its cleaning effectiveness after six hours or so.
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