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Earlier, I wrote about the life expectancy of home components — things like appliances, doors, flooring, faucets and fixtures.
That got me wondering about the shelf life of other common things within our house — like cleaning products and electronics.
So I set out to see what I could find about how long other things last…
How Long Household Products & Cleaners Last
Here’s what Real Simple says about the shelf life of common household products like cleaners and items generally used on a daily basis by most homeowners:
NOTE: This is referring to how long the products will continue to be effective for (not how long people generally keep items around).
- Air Freshener (aerosol) – opened or not: 2 years
- Antifreeze (concentrate) – opened or not: indefinitely; (premixed) – opened or not: 1 to 5 years
- Batteries (alkaline) – 7 years; (lithium) – 10 years
- Bleach – opened or not: 3 to 6 months
- Dish Detergent (liquid) – opened: 6 months; unopened: 9 to 12 months | (powder) – opened or not: 1 year
- Fire Extinguisher (rechargeable) – service or replace every 6 years | (non-rechargeable) – 12 years
- Laundry Detergent (liquid or powder) – opened: 6 months; unopened: 9 to 12 months
- Metal Polish (silver, copper, brass) – opened or not: 3 years
- Miracle Grow (liquid) – opened: 3 to 8 years | (water-soluble) – opened or not: indefinitely
- Motor Oil – opened: 3 months; unopened: 2 to 5 years
- Mr. Clean – opened or not: 2 years
- Paint (can) – opened: 2 years; unopened: 10 years | (spray) – opened or not: 2 to 3 years
- Pledge Polish – opened or not: 2 years
- Windex – opened or not: 2 years
Shelf Life Of Homemade Cleaning Products
My 2 favorite cleaning products (vinegar and baking soda) have virtually no expiration date. So you can stock up whenever you find a good deal and trust that you’ll always have the most effective (and green!) cleaner on hand to tackle just about any cleaning project you have around the house. (Okay, well technically baking soda becomes less effective after about 20 years. As long as it still bubbles when combined with the vinegar, then it’s still good.)
The shelf life of vinegar is almost indefinite, according to The Vinegar Institute’s research studies. The Vinegar Institute is an association of North American vinegar manufacturers. Because of vinegar’s acid nature it is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. White Vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. Some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as colour changes or the development of a haze or sediment. This is, however, only an aesthetic change. The product can still be used with confidence. — Vinegar Works Wonders
Here’s more about the shelf life of homemade cleaning products.
How Long Gadgets & Electronics Last
Now, if you’re wondering how long you can expect your electronics and digital gadgets to last, consider this:
I would expect most electronics to last at least 5 years honestly, with big appliances lasting 10 or longer to be reasonable. Because technology changes so rapidly most electronics and tech gadgets will probably be replaced before they break down or wear out but still not everyone upgrades to the latest tech when it comes out. — Dragon Blogger
As far as electronics are concerned, their lifespan depends on the lifespan of the individual working components.
Here are life expectancy guidelines for things like:
- the optical drive in your DVD recorder
- the motherboard in your computer
- the battery inside your laptop
- whether you have a CRT monitor vs an LCD monitor
- the memory chips inside your gadgets
The Chances Of Your Electronics Breaking Down
Okay, so what are the chances of various electronics and household items breaking down?
Which ones are most likely going to need to be repaired or replaced?
According to Shop Smart Magazine, if you have one of these and it’s 3 to 4 years old, here’s the likelihood that it will need repairs soon:
- Laptop PC: 43%
- Desktop PC: 31%
- Vacuum Cleaner (canister): 23%
- Vacuum Cleaner (upright): 13%
- Camcorder (digital): 13%
- Camera (digital): 10%
CDs and DVDs are expected to last anywhere from 50 to 100 years — the verdict is still out on that one.
Following the test procedures of the International Standards Organization (ISO), quality media manufacturers have been able to document data lifespans ranging from 50 to 200 years. But keep in mind there are wide differences between low budget media operations and quality media firms. In addition variations in manufacturing methods, materials and processes/procedures can dramatically effect the data life of the media you use. Or as auto manufacturers say, “your mileage may vary.” — Audioholics
For an interesting discussion on this topic, read this: How Long Will Digital Storage Media Last?.
Life Expectancy Of Furniture & Bedding
First, let’s talk about bedding that’s made of down.
According to Bedding Care, here’s how long you can expect products made of down to last:
- Down pillows: 3 to 5 years (If you’re in the market for new down pillows, we got the same pillows that Hampton Inn uses.)
- Feather beds: 3 to 10 years (Moisture causes down to mildew, so a feather bed’s longevity depends on the dampness of your climate and how much you perspire.)
- Upholstered cushions: 5 years (if frequently used)
- Comforters: 10+ years (As long as you take great care of them and use duvets to protect them.)
- Sleeping bags: 15+ years (Since they generally don’t get a lot of use, they last a long time.)
If your mattress is older than 8 years, then it’s time to think about getting a new one. Here’s why.
As for your sheets, the higher quality they are the longer they will last. Keep in mind the importance of these 3 factors:
- Higher thread count
- Thicker yarn size
- Longer fibers
Generally speaking, the other furniture in your house should last a good 10 to 25 years, or longer. Of course, it depends on the quality of the pieces you own. But some household furniture can actually last a lifetime — as long as it’s solid and built well. (Some furniture manufacturers even guarantee it.) Just look around at the furniture sold at antique stores and estate sales… now that’s quality furniture!
Flooring, Carpet & Rug Life Expectancy
Finally, let’s take a closer look at flooring.
Here’s a rundown of the various types of flooring and the life expectancy of each:
- All Wood Floors – Lifetime
- Bamboo, Exotic Wood – Lifetime
- Brick Pavers, Granite, Marble, Slate – 100+ years
- Tile – 75 to 100 years
- Terrazo – 75 years
- Concrete, Engineered Wood, Vinyl – 50+ years
- Laminate 15 to 25 years
- Linoleum 25 years
- Carpet – 8 to 10 years
And for the rugs that you’re likely to place on top of your flooring, consider these 3 facts:
- Handmade rugs have a much greater life expectancy than machine-made rugs do.
- Rugs made from natural fibers last much longer than rugs made from synthetic fibers.
- The tighter the weave, the longer a rug will last.
What About Money… How Long Does It Last?
Can you guess how long money lasts? (No, not in your wallet… on the streets!)
Here are some little-known facts about money:
- A $1 bill lasts 18 months
- A $5 bill lasts 2 years
- A $10 bill lasts 3 years
- A $20 bill lasts 4 years
- The $50 and $100 bills last 9 years
Bills that get worn out from everyday use are eventually taken out of circulation and replaced.
See How Long Other Things Last…
I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn’t think of. I’m super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner — so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I’ve been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about instead. For example, I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you’ll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve personally written over 200 articles about cleaning, organization, DIY repairs, and household hacks on this site! A few have over 2M shares; many others have over 100K shares.