You probably deal a lot with expiry dates in your routine life but I bet you never thought to think about it with your car cleaning supplies. I mean after all, you buy them and store them in the garage or a shelf in a workspace, they can’t go bad… can they?
Long story short, they can. In fact pretty much all detailing products do expire eventually but most of it has to do with how they are stored. It is also important to consider what kind of car detailing product you are using as they will all have different expiry dates, i.e. a polish versus a coating. The good news is that expiry dates range from one year to 3-5 years depending on the product and manufacturer.
So how do you know if car detailing products have expired or gone bad? The best way is to try the car detailing product on an area not very visible and see for yourself. The first indicator will be the potency of the product, as detailing products expire or start to go bad they will not work very well. For example, that compound that seems to always get out scratches might need more work or still leave some marks behind. It probably won’t be completely ineffective but it will decrease in performance.
If you don’t feel comfortable with testing the product on your car you can always check out the car detailing product itself. First, give the bottle a shake and then pour out some of the product on a surface you can clean or discard such as a piece of cardboard. If the detailing product used to have a smooth consistencies but now is chunky, it’s probably gone bad. It is important to shake the bottle first as this will eliminate the possibility that the product has just sat too long and some of the ingredients have separated (which is common).
Next check out the bottle itself. Most car detailing products are made of chemicals that eat away at the plastic containers or bottles they are housed in over time. If you find cracks, the bottle and cleaner inside have probably been exposed to things they shouldn’t be and you are better of just getting a new bottle. If the bottle or container is ok, then there is the sniff test. Most car detailing products smell great, so if you take a sniff and it doesn’t smell good, it’s time to get a new one. Keep it fresh!