Do Diapers Expire

Do Diapers Expire? 3 Things You Must Know!

Do you sit back, look at the pile of diapers in your storage, and wonder, do diapers expire?

Trust me, I have been there, and it is a common phenomenon for most first-time parents.

With all the baby shower gifts and other gifts for the family’s newest member, it pretty easy to have diapers as gifts from many people.

That, coupled with the fact that you might have been shopping in bulk, might lead to an oversupply of diapers.

It is even truer when your baby is outgrowing diapers, and there is no plan for another baby on the horizon.

So, what happens to the excess supply of diapers? Will they expire and mean you have to throw them in the trash bin?

Honestly, it’s a question that the majority of people never consider. There isn’t a lot of trustworthy information available when you search online for an answer.

The good news is that you can stop speculating.

We’ve all the answers you need.

Do Diapers Expire?

The short answer is no; diapers do not expire.

Diapers are paper-based products, meaning they can stay for years without going bad whether the packet is open or not.

If your baby is quickly outgrowing the last batch of diapers you bought in bulk, maybe it is time to gift it to someone. Guiltfree.

Learn more in a related post Best Diapers for Sensitive Skin 2021 – Comparison & Reviews

However, many manufacturers recommend using your diapers within two years after purchase.

And this is actually what the top diaper manufacturers say when asked the question “Do diapers expire?”

1. Huggies

As expected, Huggies’ customer service representative explained that their diapers are considered a paper product. 

This means that they do not have an expiration date on them and are expected to function the same way no matter how old they are. 

But this does not mean they will still look their best. 

For one thing, you can expect to see some yellowing on the paper material of the diaper. And over time, the elasticity of the belts will deteriorate. 

So if you decide to wait a while before you use the diapers you purchased, you may expect to experience some leaks.

2. Pampers

There is also no expiration date for the diapers manufactured by Pampers. But as they suggest, it’s best to use them within a couple of years. 

This is the optimal window when they expect that all of the materials used in the diaper will function effectively. The diapers will be at their peak performance during that duration. 

3. Luvs

Just like the other top brands, Luvs says they do not have an expiration date for their diapers. 

In fact, they have tested their diapers and proven them to have a two-year shelf life. 

This is also the window when the diapers will be most effective in absorbing liquids. If you use the diapers beyond that window, you may have to clean up some leaks. 

Although Luvs has a money-back guarantee, it is only limited to 45 days after purchase. 

You won’t be able to get your money back when you return a bag of diapers after a couple of years.

Why Do You Need To Use Old Diapers?

So why do you need to use diapers even though they don’t have an expiration date?

Because with time, everything ages and gets affected somehow. So, here is what you need to know about old diapers:

1. Lower Absorption Rate

As the diaper ages, there is a high likelihood of its absorption material breaking.

This will ultimately affect the diaper’s performance, causing leaks due to its absorption moisture’s lowered rate.

If your old set of diapers is leaking, it is probably best to throw it away and get a new one and ensure your baby is always dry.

2. Lowered Elasticity And Adhesiveness 

The elastic bit around the legs might be a victim of age. As such, they become loose, causing leakage.

The adhesive tape, too, is not left behind and can break. We don’t need to tell you that you will be dealing with slipping diapers all day long.

If that’s the case, you can totally toss the diapers and get a new park.

3. Discoloration & Change in Odor 

Old diapers might have discoloration, with the bright white color turning to a shade of yellow.

It is a common occurrence in old diapers courtesy of exposure to air and light.

But don’t let the color change scare you into trashing away a perfectly good diaper pack.

Some diapers come with fragrances for that feel-good scent when the baby is wearing one.

With time, though, the scent might fade away.

As long as the diaper has an excellent absorption rate, the adhesive tape and elastic bit around the legs are okay, and you can still use the diaper.

How to Store Diapers for Durability 

To ensure your diapers are still effective a few months or a year down the line, it is important that you know how to store them.

Light, air, heat, and humidity are the greatest enemies of diapers. 

As mentioned earlier, a lot of heat will melt the adhesive tape while the light and air cause discoloration.

Pampers also recommends storing diapers away from other products with fragrances. 

So, store your diapers in an area with 85°F/29.4°C temperatures or less.

You can also store the diapers in a plastic box or any storage area that reduces exposure to heat, air, and light.

This way, the diapers can last for long until the next baby arrives, or you gave someone to gift. 

1. How Do You Know It’s An Old Diaper?

Imagine this scenario: You’re in the middle of nowhere and you suddenly run out of diapers for your little one. So you rush to a nearby store that looks like it’s been collecting some dust already. 

You find a bag of diapers and wonder if it’s still fresh. Even though you already know that diapers don’t expire, it’s still important to know if the diaper is in its best condition. 

So how do you do that?

The first thing you have to look for is some yellowing on the exterior of the diaper. This discoloration, however, does not mean that your diaper will no longer be effective in catching your baby’s pee. 

Another thing you need to look for is the elastic found at the waist and legs. 

Over time, the elasticity on these will no longer be as good as a fresh diaper. Again, this will not affect the diaper’s ability to absorb pee. But if your baby pees a lot, you might encounter some leaks on the top or sides.

2. Are Old Diapers Safe To Use?

Diapers are safe to use even after a few years. 

But if your child is prone to sensitivity, you may want to use a diaper cover over the diaper. 

Again, remember that an old diaper will no longer be able to retain leaks that well. To deal with this, make sure you frequently check and replace your baby’s diaper. This way, your baby’s skin will not be irritated. 


Diaper Expiration Table (Based on Manufacturers)

What about each product? If you have questions such as do Pampers diapers expire or Luvs diapers? You’ll find the answers below:

Manufacturer/Product Do They Have an Expiry Date? Effects of Aging
Pampers No Color and fragrance fades
Parent’s Choice No None
Honest No Loss of effectiveness
Kirkland No May turn yellow
Huggies No Loss of effectiveness
Luvs No Becomes less absorbent

Most diaper manufacturers recommend that you don’t use diapers after 2 to 3 years of purchase.

What are Most Diapers Made Of?

Diaper components differ based on the manufacturer. However, some basic components make up most disposable diapers. Knowing them could give you a better idea of what happens when diapers remain unused for several years.

Let’s take a look.

  • Plastic Fiber

These fibers make the inner layer of diapers (the part that touches your baby). Plastic can stay 500-1000 years before degrading.

  • Absorbent Polymer

This part absorbs moisture and holds it until the baby is ready for a diaper change. The polymer (mostly super-absorbent polymer (SAP)) is used to make the diaper’s core. This polymer can last several decades without expiring.

  • Wheat/Corn/Wood Pulp

Any of these three substances can make up the fluff pulp of a diaper. The fluff pulp distributes moisture over the area of the diaper, making it easier for the absorbent polymer to trap. This, too, can last for many years.

  • Synthetic or Natural Plastic

All diapers need a waterproof material to keep the baby’s waste from escaping. For regular diapers, you may find petroleum-based synthetic plastic. However, bio or plant-based plastics are common in eco-friendly diapers.

  • Elastic Material

The waterproof outer layer isn’t enough to keep waste within the nappy. An elastic layer also wraps around the leg area to cover any opening. This is mostly plastic, so it can last just as long. However, poor handling and storage could negatively affect its flexibility.

  • Adhesive Material

Manufacturers also fasten their diapers with adhesive material to stay on longer. Adhesives are strong for about eight months to a year. That’s why older diapers tend to lose adhesiveness rather quickly. 


When NOT to Use Old Diapers

Next, we’ll discuss what you should look for before deciding to use an old diaper.

Do not use a disposable diaper if you notice any of the following:

  • The elastic leg cuffs are loose.
  • Adhesive material doesn’t stick.
  • Squishy absorbent core.
  • Foul or unpleasant odors.
  • Leaky diaper.


What to Do with Unused Diapers

If you happen to have disposable diapers that don’t fit your baby anymore, you don’t have to throw them out. You can take several steps to make better use of the products, so long as they’re still safe to use.

Give Them Out

Other people might need the leftover diapers for their babies. You could ask friends or families who are expecting or nursing a newborn baby.

You may also offer your unopened diapers to charitable organizations such as daycares, shelters, refuges, and hospitals.

Save Them

If you expect to have another baby in a few years, you may want to save diapers. Even if you don’t end up using them, someone else may. Be sure to store disposable diapers properly using the tips we provided above.

Let Your Child Play With Them

This tip works best if you’ve had the diapers for over two years and would rather not throw them away. Your child can use the diapers on their make-believe baby or doll. You may also use them to play games at baby showers.


Do Eco-Friendly Diapers Expire?

Most baby diapers are made of artificial chemicals. But what about eco-friendly ones made of natural ingredients from plants? Honest diapers are popular for making such biodegradable products. One might think their make-up would cause them to expire quickly. This is not the case, provided you store them properly in their packages.

Eco-friendly or biodegradable diapers don’t expire either. However, they face the same deterioration as other diaper types after a couple of years.


Do Swim Diapers Expire?

What about the diapers kids wear as bathing suits or underneath them? Well, these products don’t expire. After two to three years, you may notice that the old diaper doesn’t stick like it’s supposed to and falls off. The only plus is that the moisture absorption rate remains consistent irrespective of age.


Do Baby Wipes Expire?

These don’t expire but can become useless when they dry out. The drying depends on whether or not you’ve opened them. If you haven’t, they could last between two to three years without losing quality. However, opened baby wipes dry out in less than a month.



So, do diapers expire? No, they do not, luckily enough. Diapers are the most expensive items on the baby’s shopping list.

Buying in bulk or receiving an extensive collection of these as a gift is good news.

Due to their durability, you can save money on shopping for diapers.

But, it would be best if you stored your diapers away from heat, air, and light to ensure they serve you for the desired period.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long do diapers last before they expire?

There is really no expiration date for disposable diapers. 

But to be safe, make sure to use them within two years of their manufacture date since it is when they are most effective. 

2. CAN expired diapers be used?

An old diaper does not really deteriorate much. You’ll probably be bothered about the discoloration that you see on the paper material, but other than that, there’s no harm in using an old diaper. 

3. How long does a box of diapers last?

Typically, a box of diapers contains 120 to 150 pieces. Although it will depend on your baby’s age and size, you can expect to use up the box within 3 to 4 weeks. 

Related Post: Can You Use Baby Formula After Expiration Date

Iesha Mulla

Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She's an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.

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