No items found.

Insider: Bug spray will expire, but it depends on the active ingredient

As the weather heats up, bugs start to come out. Our best defense against the itchy, painful bites is bug spray repellent. But some bug sprays will expire eventually. Here's what you need to know.

How long bug sprays last

‍There is no one-size-fits-all answer here, but the general consensus is that bug sprays have a shelf life of around three years. At that point, you should probably throw them out – not because they will harm you, but because they might be less effective in repelling bugs.

Whether a bug spray expires or not depends on the active ingredient, says Laurence Zwiebel PhD, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. Most active ingredients used in bug sprays are relatively stable and last a while. However, even if the active ingredients themselves don't expire, the overall formulation may become less effective over time.

Check the back of your bug spray bottle to see what chemical it uses.

Read the full article from Ashley Laderer on Insider's website here.

LAST UPDATED

October 21, 2023

Written by
Photo thumbnail Blog Author

Business Insider

Media Mentions from Business Insider

What you want to know about business. A section of Insider.

Explore More Content

Media Mentions

Sawyer Insect Repellent is a versatile picaridin spray recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as safe and effective for most people. Our testers liked the evaporating smell and how the spray feels once it dries.

Media Mentions

Insects and arachnids that bite in self-defense instead of to feed -- such as yellow jackets, bees, wasps, hornets, certain ants or spiders -- cannot be repelled with insect repellents.

Drugs.com
Media Mentions from Drugs.com

Media Mentions

The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number of places they're spreading to is also on the rise.

WXYZ Detroit 7
Media Mentions from WXYZ Detroit 7