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Know When To Toss It OUT

A handy guide to keep, print and share that tells what and when to get rid of common household items. Almost everything seems to have an expiration date these days. But how accurate are they? We scoured the web to get the latest info for you.


Milk – usually fine until a week after the “sell by” date

Eggs – Okay for 2-5 weeks

Poultry and seafood – cook or freeze within 3-5 days

Ground meat or uncooked sausage  – 1 -2 days

Canned foods – tomatoes or tomato sauce is good for 18 months or more. Green beans and other such veggies can last up to 5 years NOTE: if a can is bulging – toss out immediately!

Frozen chicken – can be kept for 6 months in the freezer

Deli meat – 3 days is usually max

Leftovers – up to a week. But for optimum taste eat within 2-4 days

Snack foods – once the package is open, their flavor and texture start to deteriorate. One month after opening, toss.



Prescription drugs – Most prescription drugs have an expiration date. This is based on safety, purity and potency. Most medical experts say that insulin, eye drops and antibiotics should never be used beyond their expiration date. However, other medications are safe to use – although their potency may deteriorate the longer the drug has been sitting around.

Over-the-counter medications – most have a “sell by” date. Experts agree that most of these medications have a shelf life of 4-5 years – regardless of what the expiration date is. However, if there is a “discard date” – never use beyond this date.  And remember – one of the worst places to store medications in in the medicine cabinet. Heat and humidity effect the drug’s potency.



• While it may be safe to take them beyond their expiration date, they definitely lost potency. Common knowledge says toss them after 2 years.



• The FDA requires all sunscreens maintain their full strength for at least 3 years.



Liquid foundation – 6-8 months

Powder makeup – well over a year

Liquid eyeliner and mascara – replace after 3 months. Toss if you have had an eye infection

Powder eye shadow – 4 years

Pencil eyeliner – 1-2 years

Nail polish – 2 years

Lipstick, lip gloss and lip liner – up to 2 years

Cleansers and moisturizers – toss after 6 months



Traditional mattress –Replace in 8- 10 years…sooner if sagging, ripped or stained

Memory and foam mattress – 10-20 years



Bed pillows – replace every year because hair and body oils soak into these night after night making them a breeding ground for bacteria and allergy-triggering dust mites.



Once the seal has been broken, germs can contaminate the solution. Toss after 3 months



Replace every 3-4 months



Dry dog food – about 3 months

Wet dog food – opened, no more than 3 days. Any uneaten canned food should be taken away from your pet no more than 30 minutes after serving.



 • Liquid or powder detergent – 9 months – 1 year, if unopened. Once opened – 6 months.



Unopened paint cans  – up to 10 years

Opened paint cans – no more than 2 years