Do Baby Wipes Expire? Here's What You Need to Know

Do Baby Wipes Expire? Here’s What You Need to Know 

If you’re a parent, you’re likely no stranger to the hassle of diaper changing—and with it, the unbelievable amount of not only diapers, but also baby wipes that you have to go through in any given day, week, or year. Savvy parents have probably considered buying these items in bulk in an attempt to get the most out of their money, but may stop short at wondering if those baby wipes will eventually expire and potentially cause problems for their child. 

Luckily for parents, baby wipes don’t really expire—at least, not in the same way that food does. Most manufacturers state that unopened packages of baby wipes will remain usable for 2-3 years before “expiring,” while opened packages will work best within 4 weeks from opening. 

While wipes can definitely still be used after their expiration date, they may be slightly dried out and, as a result, less effective at doing their job. 

Still, there are other factors you should keep in mind when using baby wipes that are near their expiration date—as well as things you can do to keep your baby wipes fresh for longer! In this article, we’ll explore some of these factors more in-depth to help you decide the best course of action when faced with a package of wipes that is almost wiped.

Table of Contents

Things to Keep in Mind

While baby wipes are generally pretty safe to use once they pass their expiration date, there are some things to keep in mind. 

Some of these considerations include the fact that: 

  • Baby wipes dry out
  • Baby wipes can accumulate bacteria and mold 
  • Their overall effectiveness decreases with time 

In the following sections, we’ll touch on these topics more in-depth. 

Baby Wipes Dry Out

One of the most recognizable features of baby wipes is their signature damp, wet feeling. This is thanks to the fact that the moisture in a pack of baby wipes is made up of about 90% water, with the remaining 10% being made up of mild detergents, moisturizers, oil, and some possible preservative agents. 

The high water content of baby wipes means that they can very easily dry out if not stored properly, with all the water quickly evaporating from the package if it’s not secured tightly enough. 

To help combat this, many brands offer packages with flip-top lids that are designed to help keep the moisture from evaporating out. Keeping these flip-tops secure and in a place away from heat and direct sunlight should help extend the life of your wipes in this regard. 

And while it may be a little annoying if you find that your wipes have, in fact, dried out, you can still rehydrate them by adding some water or baby oil to the bottom of the container and turning it upside down until all the moisture absorbs

Baby Wipes Can Grow Bacteria & Mold

It’s no question that warm, moist areas are the perfect breeding ground for various types of mold and bacteria. 

While many brands of wipes are made with small percentages of alcohol and other germ-killing products like antiseptics to help prevent this, many are also designed without these things to appeal to a more “organic” market and are thus more susceptible to this problem. 

If you look at your baby wipes and notice any strange black or gray specks, have a weird smell,  or feel unusually slimy, then it’s likely your package of wipes has been compromised and your best bet would be to throw the package out and buy a new one. No reason to risk giving your little one any type of skin irritation or, at worst, an infection from using wipes that have been infected. 

Baby Wipes Become Less Effective with Time

As previously mentioned, the moisture in baby wipes is not only due to the amount of water that they have, but a small percentage is also due to the mild detergents, moisturizers, and the few preservatives present. 

As time goes on, these detergents and moisturizers “degrade” and settle, being pulled from the wipes themselves and made to sit in the bottom of the container. This, in turn, means that the wipes ultimately become less effective at cleaning and sanitizing. 

How to Make Your Wipes Last Longer

While there are a few tricks you can use to rejuvenate your wipes if they happen to dry out, the easiest course of action when it comes to getting the most out of your wipes is to help them stay wet as much as you can. 

To this end, you should only really ever try to have one pack of wipes open at a time to help minimize the risk of ending up with multiple half-used packages open all over the house—storing them in air-tight containers if necessary.  

As heat also causes moisture to evaporate—as well as cause other ingredients like the detergents in them to degrade—another course of action you can take in prolonging the life of your wipes is to keep them away from excessive heat sources. So try to avoid leaving wipes in places like a hot car or in rooms that tend to run warmer than other places in your house. 


In short, the answer to the question of if baby wipes expire is yes. However, an expired package of baby wipes doesn’t necessarily render them unusable. 

While there are some considerations you may want to keep in mind when using wipes close to their expiration date—like making sure they’re still moist or checking for signs of mold or bacteria—the biggest loss you’re likely to experience over time is the wipe’s effectiveness when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing. 

In general, manufacturers say that baby wipes can last anywhere from 2-3 years in unopened packages and usually last up to 4 weeks once opened, as long as they’re kept away from excessive amounts of heat. 

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