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Thread: Do diapers expire?

  1. #1

    Default Do diapers expire?

    I received my shipment of snuggies finally (Yes, the long awaited brand is finally here!) and noticed it has an expiration date in about 3 years. This sparked my curiosity a bit. Do diapers actually expire? If so, what about them 'expires'? Is it the absorbency or what?

  2. #2


    I would think so because diapers are naturally going to absorb the humidity in the air and start to fall apart. If you keep them sealed in the bag though i would suspect they would last a lot longer.

  3. #3


    I would think the adhesive on the tapes would be the first to fail. If they were stored in extreme heat.
    In a temp controlled envirement they should last a long time.

  4. #4


    Here some links that "might" answer your question,

    I would assume that diapers of course expire but that does not mean that it is un-usable, it says and states that the diaper isn't "fresh" when it appears. If you want a good joke about it, they expire when you "use" your diaper so you can't win for losing

    It's cotton and plastic, it's not food, although if your diapers are scented, the scent will fade away sooner or later, and for tapes that are adhesive, they will probably melt the glue away if it's package in a heated area. The cotton, SAP, and plastic don't really have an expiration date so your absorbency will still grab it's 100% perfection, just those two main things "might" not work completely. The horrible tear of the diaper will begin with the tapes and work it's way up!

    If normally stored,

    Plastic does not expire
    Cotton does not expire
    Tapes possibly will be worn out
    SAP does not expire
    Scent might expire
    Leak Guards does not expire
    and last but not least, it's ROA (Rate-Of-Absorbency) won't expire.

    If stored in a hot area,

    Plastic does not expire
    Cotton expired (Cotton does get hot and might crunch up a little bit)
    Tapes expire (Melted glue)
    SAP does not expire
    Scent expires
    Leak Guards does not expire
    and last but not least, it's ROA (Rate-Of-Absorbency) might expire (Crunched cotton)

    A regular size 3 pampers swaddlers will lose it's scent if not used for years to come so I'd say unless it was stored in a cold-compact area, you should be safe definitely. Baby diapers do not expire, adult diapers...might so you should be careful because they MIGHT fall apart from times past.
    Last edited by Snivy; 14-Dec-2014 at 22:47.

  5. #5


    Generally, after around 3 years, the adhesive that holds the layers of the diapers together will get brittle and the diaper could start to come apart.

  6. #6


    To echo everyone who has posted thus far: Yes AND No.

    No, the materials that they are made of are quite stable chemically and [ideally] won't degrade significantly in expected performance if stored somewhat properly. The 'Yes' part has to mostly with the adhesive: Adhesives are not single compounds and most require some [minute] amount of water to bind properly. Saturate it too much and it becomes gooey; likewise if you dry it out too much it will not stick. Free vaporized oils and greases (yes traces of that is in the air, but there are many kinds not just automotive) can also interact with the tape adhesives over a greatly extended period of time and diminish their performance.

    Stored properly, diapers will probably be good for years to come.

    Stored like expensive cigars and fine wine; they may never expire.

    Stored in a ramshackle excuse for a storage unit, the box they're stored in may [literally] be in better shape.

  7. #7


    Hmm, interesting food for thought. They're all just sitting in my closet in each of their respective bags (Most of which are sealed) so I'm not too worried about it. But I was curious about people who buy vintage diapers and how their old diaper would hold up. Thanks for all the responses!

  8. #8


    I have some minor experience with this. The packs I get usually expire as you said a few years down the road, one time though I did get a pack that was set to expire less than a year away. Things I noticed over my usual packs were issues with tape sticking issues and the backing plastic ripped easier so I had wasted a couple from accidentally ripping the entire tape tab off while trying to pull it to the desired position.

  9. #9


    I have an unopened pack of depends from the mid 80's hidden away in a closet, NEVER going to open them, for every diaper opened, that's $50.00 dollars down the drain! from what I can gather by felling the package VERY GENTALY, they feel like they should (I assume, I never felt a pack right off the assembly line, I wasn't even born until 1992!), and they crinkle slightly when the package is moved. no holes or rips in the plastic package, basically as they would look in sears (these are from the 80's!) back in 1985, I keep them in a cold closet wrapped in a sheet, so I think they will survive many more years and be worth even more. for confirmation, I felt the pack in the dark closet, and I don't want to move them from their current location for fear of damaging them, so sadly, no pictures can be taken as it would risk damaging this historical piece.

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