For the average African, when things last long, we take it as durability without thinking of expiry.
For instance, try touching your dads shoes and he will tell you how long it has lasted and will even remind you that you were not born when he purchased it.
Some of these things have expiration dates but as long as they are not spoilt, we use them without thinking about any repercussions.
In African homes, there are towels which are over 10 years old, shoes over 8 years old and hairbrushes which have lived beyond their years.
Probably that’s the reason why we prefer secondhand products but have we ever questioned whether these things are expired or not?
Here are 19 things we all have at home but never knew they had expiration dates.
1. Power Sockets.
Yes! You probably didn’t know this but if the power sockets in your house are over 5 years, you need to change them, they’ve expired.
Though they don’t have expiration dates on them, experts recommend you change your power sockets after 5 years because they’re the leading cause of electrical fires in the home. If your power sockets are hot to the touch or have started to discolour, it’s time to buy new ones.
2. Gear Box Oil.
So as part of maintenance, most drivers are quick to change their engine oil but hardly do they think about changing the oil in their gearbox.
Truth is, gearbox oil needs changing too. After 2 years, they are no more viable and need to be changed.
3. Mosquito Repellents.
Well due to the number of mosquitoes in our part of the world, mosquito repellents and sprays hardly last long but just in case you have one lying around for over 2 years, forget about using it because it has expired.
You may not know but disinfectants lose their effectiveness after 3 months. Watch out for all the cheap ones they sell in traffic.
5. Power Extension Strips.
So you thought the best power extension strips are those that last a lifetime right? Well, in case you didn’t know, they expire too. Whether they are still functioning correctly or not, you need to dispose of them after 2 years.
6. Fire Extinguishers.
So because you have a fire extinguisher and there has never been fire in your office for over 20 years, you don’t see the need to replace it right? Well, guess what, after 15 years, fire extinguishers are no more viable and need to be disposed off.
Some people buy flour and may never use it because they don’t have the need for it, only to jump on it after a year thinking it is still okay. Now, it doesn’t matter how well you’ve stored it, flour expires after a year.
Spices lose their taste and smell over time and so the best duration to use them is within 1 – 3 years but for grounded spices, such as ginger, you only have 6 months to use them.
9. Running Shoes.
For those of you who buy secondhand running shoes, first of all, know that they are already expired, that’s why the owner disposed of them. Secondly, using it your lifetime after buying it means you’re only putting stress on your joints. This is because after 1 year, running shoes lose their cushioning, putting stress on your joints.
For those women who think when they buy a bra, that ends it, it never expires, you might be doing yourselves more harm than good. All bras expire after 3 years of usage and that is when you buy it new from the store and not secondhand. So buying a secondhand bra and using it for another 10 years is spelling doom for your boobs.
For you African mothers who use one pacifier for all your children, take note, pacifiers expire within 5 weeks from the day you buy it. This is because latex breaks quite easily and cracks may breed germs and it is not good for your baby or babies.
The longest time you should have a perfume lying around is 3 years, after 3 years, whether they still smell good or there is a good amount in it, dispose of them.
If your hairbrush is over a year old, dispose of it now, it has expired.
14. Hydrogen Peroxide.
If you have this in your first aid box, after every 2 months, whether it is used or not, you need to replace it. This is because, hydrogen peroxide turns to regular water after 2 months from first usage, rendering it useless.
Dentists have said this countless times but unfortunately, most Ghanaians don’t see reason with them. After 3 months, your toothbrush loses its effectiveness and cannot do what it is meant for and needs to be replaced.
Some African parents even pass on their towels to their children but what many probably do not know is that, your towel expires after 3 years.
Here comes the almighty sponge which people think is meant for lifetime use so far as it can do what it is meant to do. Under normal circumstances, you need to change your sponge (net type) every 3 months just like your toothbrush and if it is the cushion type, you need to change it every 2 weeks. For shower pouf, you need to replace them every 6 months.
Yeah! we know, why buy new slippers when it is not flat or there is no hole at the bottom or when it is not torn. But unfortunately, you need to replace them after 6 months, they are not meant to be worn for the rest of your life. You are only giving yourself fungal infections after 6 months when you keep wearing them.
For those of you whose pillows are over 10 years old, you’re not different from a corpse. After 3 years, pillows lose their shape and can cause neck pain, they also become infested with dust mites which can give you a whole lot of diseases.