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Clorox® Regular Bleach2 should be replaced every year and stored as directed for optimum performance.

Advice from Dr. Laundry

How old is my bottle of Clorox Bleach, how should it be stored, and what is the shelf life?


It’s important to keep track of how old a bottle of bleach is because it doesn’t last forever! The way to identify the age of a bottle (people don’t always remember when they bought it!) is to use the production code stamped on the neck of the bottle. Let’s use A81421321CA3 for an example.

To find the date the product was made, you read it from left to right and use the first 7 characters as follows:

Plant Number—Last two digits of year made—Day of the year made

         A8                             14                                 213

A bleach bottle with this code was made in 2014 on August 1st, the 213th day of the year. Since today’s date is November 4th 2014 that makes the bottle a little over 3 months old, and if properly stored should last for another 9 months (although I never have a bottle that long — too many terrific ways to use it around the home!).

Regarding proper storage, Clorox® Regular Bleach2 should be stored between 50°F and 70F°, and away from direct sunlight. This is recommended for both unopened and opened bottles. When properly stored, a bottle of bleach has a one year shelf life. Beyond a year, it should be replaced because the sodium hypochlorite active begins to rapidly break down into salt and water, a big part of why Clorox® Regular Bleach2 is so environmentally friendly.

Not sure what to do with too-old bleach? If it has any bleach smell, it still has some bleach active and can still be used for general home cleaning and laundry; just use a little more than the recommended amount (and be sure to use it up quickly).  If it no longer has any bleach odor, just flush it down the toilet — any small amount of sodium hypochlorite active that may remain will finish breaking down as it travels through your home’s pipes and out to the sewer.