When disaster strikes and times get tough, you’ll have to become a lot more resourceful with the everyday items that are at your disposal to help make survival easier for you and your loved ones. Part of becoming more resourceful in this manner is learning how to make use of items after they expire or go bad for their intended purposes.

Just because an item has gone past its expiration date doesn’t necessarily mean it’s truly ‘expired’ and useless. Several items can continue to serve you well even after they have gone past their expiration date or otherwise can no longer be used for their original intended purpose.

In this article, we’ll outline and discuss several items that can still be used even after they have expired or gone bad:

Bottled Water12 Items That Are Still Good After They Go Bad

So long as it is stored in dry conditions at normal room temperature, bottled water will last for years beyond its expiration date. The expiration date on bottled water is an indication of water quality rather than water safety. The water should still be safe to drink several years down the road even if the flavor is not as good.

Related: How To Store Water In Your Car For An Emergency


Some medications can retain their efficacy beyond their expiration dates. A significant confirmation of this fact comes from a study conducted by the FDA, at the request of the United States military.

Surprisingly, the study found that 90% of the military’s drug stockpile remained effective even 15 years after their expiration dates. The results of the study show how just because a medication is well past its expiration date doesn’t necessarily mean it’s no longer effective or unsafe.


It has been well-documented that MREs can last for several years (if not decades) past their indicated 3-5-year expiration dates depending on their storage conditions. They may not taste quite as good as when they were originally made, but they should still be edible.

Batteries12 Items That Are Still Good After They Go Bad

When a pack of batteries you have in storage has gone past the expiration date, don’t throw those batteries away. Batteries that have gone past their expiration date can still be used, but they will generate lower performance.

Still, it’s better to try and get as much use out of them as you can rather than merely throwing them away.

Related: Modular Backyard Power Plant Review

Sour Milk

Who says you have to throw milk away after it’s gone sour? If any milk in your refrigerator has turned sour don’t throw it away. Instead, you can use the milk as fertilizer in your garden. Soured milk can also be used to add flavor to several bread and biscuit recipes.

Canned Foods12 Items That Are Still Good After They Go Bad

So long as canned foods are stored at room temperature, they should last indefinitely. While the quality of the taste in canned foods may decrease after a two to five-year period, they should still be edible and retain their nutrition.

However, you should avoid eating any canned foods that have a misshaped or rusted can.

Related: Canning VS. Freeze Dry

Torn Clothes

Torn clothes should never be thrown away. This is because torn clothes can still serve a multitude of purposes, including cleaning rags, kitchen towels, or bedding for your pets. You can also use a ripped shirt or pair of pants as an emergency medical sling in a crisis.

Cleaning Supplies

Detergents, bleaches, disinfectants, and other similar cleaning supplies will still be usable even after the expiration dates.

They may require a stronger concentration to achieve the same cleaning or disinfection result, but in a future emergency scenario where you may not be able to resupply yourself from the store, you can’t be too picky and choosy either.

Fuel12 Items That Are Still Good After They Go Bad

Expired fuel will start to lose its volatile compounds and combustible properties, and when it gets old enough, it can damage the internal components of engines by leaving a gum residue that causes blockages. That’s why you shouldn’t use old gas to power vehicles, but that doesn’t mean you should just throw it away.

You can still use old gasoline to help get a fire going, for instance.


Don’t throw the newspaper away after you’re done reading it. You can use old newspapers as kindling to help get a fire started, to wrap food, or as insulation in cold weather by stuffing it in your clothing.

Related: Stop Throwing Away Old Newspapers. Do This Instead

Stale Bread

While it’s easy to throw stale bread away, you can still use it. For example, you can crumble it down to make breadcrumbs, which can then be used to thicken certain kinds of sauces. Holding a stale slice of bread over an open flame will help make it easier to eat as well.


Expired sunscreen likely won’t be able to protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun, but you can reuse it for other purposes instead. For example, expired sunscreen can be used as a lubricating agent in mechanical parts, such as chains or gears, of vehicles or power equipment like chainsaws.

In conclusion, don’t necessarily treat an item’s expiration date as a sign that you need to throw the item away. Instead, think about what more purposes the item in question may serve you even if it has to go a bit beyond the original intended use case.

The purpose of this article has not only been to inform you of ways that you can repurpose certain items after they have ‘expired’ or ‘gone bad’ but also to help give you ideas on how you can repurpose other items as well.

Make it a habit to think about how can reuse anything before you throw it away. With a little bit of creativity, you’ll probably be surprised at how much you can reuse certain ‘expired’ items. You’ll become a much more resourceful person in the process as a result.

This article first appeared here.

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