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How to Tell When a Bleach Bottle Was Made

Does bleach last forever? When properly stored, bleach has a 1-year shelf life. If you don’t recall when you bought it, learn how to read the bottle’s production code and see if it’s time to replace.

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By Mary Gagliardi
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When properly stored away from heat and direct sunlight, Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach will last up to a year. After a year, the natural breakdown of the sodium hypochlorite bleach active into salt and water rapidly accelerates, and the active ingredient concentration becomes too low for EPA registered uses like sanitizing or disinfecting. It’s important to store bleach properly so it lasts, and replace out-of-date bleach bottles.

Bleach bottles are not stamped with expiration dates because if the product isn’t properly stored, an expiration date won’t be accurate. Instead, each bleach bottle is stamped with a production code that includes the Julian date from when the bottle was made. It’s easy to decode the production stamp once you know how to read it.

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Steps to read the production code

  1. 1

    Find the production code stamp

    Look on the neck of the bottle for a line of numbers and a few letters. This is the production code.

  2. 2

    Read the code from left to right

    You don’t need all the information in the code, just the date it was produced. But it’s in the middle of the production stamp, so reading from left to right is the easiest way to find the date.


    Bleach production codes always start with a letter and number, which indicates the plant where the bottle was made. Ignore this and keep reading to get to the production date.

  3. 3

    Split up the letters and digits to find the date

    After the plant code comes the date the bottle was made, which starts with the last two digits of the year, followed by the Julian date. Julian dates give the numbered day out of 365 total days in a year. For example, a bottle stamped A822 13019: 48CA3 was made in 2022 on the 130th day of the year, or May 10th.


    Use the Julian date calculator here if you need help with this.

It’s easy to tell if a bleach bottle is more than a year old once you know the date. Out-of-date bleach should not be used for any EPA registered disinfecting or sanitizing applications, but it can be used for cleaning. The easiest way to get rid of an out-of-date bottle of bleach is to use it up cleaning toilets. 

Frequently asked questions

Does bleach have an expiration date?

Bleach will last for one year when stored in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight and heat. This applies to both unopened and opened bottles. Because proper storage is important for bleach to last for a year, we use production codes that tell you the day the bottle was made. If you store your bleach correctly, you can be confident it will last for a year.

What other Clorox products have production codes with the date?

Products like Clorox 2® for Colors, Tilex®, Clorox® Clean-Up®, Clorox® Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner, Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes all have production codes, just to name a few. If you want to make sure that you have read a production code correctly (or if you need help finding it) call Customer Service (800) 292-2200.