Freshen up with spring cleaning

Rebecca Mohr

Spring cleaning does not just deal with household items anymore. Cosmetic bags and toothbrushes are items used daily that need to be considered. Foundation, lip gloss, mascara and facial cleaners all have expiration dates and need to be replaced.

Guidelines on when to toss a variety of foods

Milk – Pasteurized milk is good for about five days after the “sell by” date. If not refrigerated soon after purchase, however, it can develop a sour taste, despite not being dangerous.

Source: Kyle Dryden, employee at Kent Acme’s dairy department

Pizza – Cold pizza will last about five days tops in your fridge. Otherwise, you might be looking at some foodborne illnesses. Putting pizza in the fridge too early will make it retain moisture and become soggy, but waiting too long will make it stale quicker. Store it in a sealed container rather than just in the box.


Beer – Beer varies by brew process, shipment and storage, and all can affect shelf life, but beer lasts about three to four months based on manufacturer’s recommendation. Anheuser-Busch recommends 90 after its “Born On” date, along with many smaller breweries like Great Lakes Brewing Co. Miller Brewing Co. recommend 120 days. After this time period, the beer won’t go bad, but a difference in taste may be noticeable. Beers with a higher alcohol content, however, sometimes taste better with time, as aging can help mellow the flavor of a stronger brew.

Source: Craig Contini, general manager, 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Chinese food – When stored in an airtight container, leftover Chinese takeout will last four days when stored at 40 degrees. However, when kept in the traditional pagoda-stamped cardboard boxes, the leftovers can start going bad after a day. Interestingly, 59 percent of refrigerators run above 41 degrees.


Condiments – These tend to vary based on the amount of preservatives and the ingredients. Mayonnaise will last two to three months unopened, and up to two more months after if kept refrigerated. Open ketchup will last eight to 12 months in the fridge, while mustard can last only six to eight months after opening.


Compiled by features correspondent Nick Baker.

“Most cosmetics have a three-year shelf life,” said Sharon Schlab, a skin care and cleanser specialist at Dillard’s. “There are a lot of preservatives in them.”

According to an article on, liquid foundation needs to be replaced after three to six months. Cream foundation can last four to six months.

The expiration date can differ with bottle type. Foundation in a bottle will last three to six months, but foundation in a wide-mouthed jar will expose the foundation to more air and should be replaced sooner.

In order to make foundation last longer, Schlab suggests using a sponge applicator to apply.

“Foundations can last up to a year if you keep your fingers away from the bottle,” Schlab said.

Concealer lasts about six to eight months, powders about one year and eye shadows about one year.

“When cosmetic ingredients start to separate, smell or the texture changes,” Schlab said, “it is time to throw away the cosmetics.”

In order to keep multiuse products longer, such as three-in-one sticks and creams, wipe the surface before switching areas on the face and replace after six months.

Mascara is very dangerous if not replaced every three months.

According to an article in Fitness magazine, “When Should I Throw My Old Cosmetics Out,” mascara should be tossed after three months without fail. The tube is a breeding ground for bacteria.

“Mascara usually gets clumpy, old and grows bacteria,” Schlab said. “Your eye is one of the most delicate areas on your body.”

Toiletries such as loofahs and toothbrushes are also important in spring cleaning.

Loofahs are bacteria-ridden and should be replaced every few months. According to Fitness magazine’s article, one should toss his or her loofah after a few months – sooner if the bathroom is not well-ventilated.

Nicole Myers, sophomore fine arts major, does not think of herself as a germ freak.

“I’m really never worried about it,” Myers said. “I just replace things when they start to get old.”

Bacteria can build up on a natural loofah and make skin more prone to infections. Nylon loofahs are bacteria resistant, but after every use it becomes more difficult to clean and exfoliate.

Toothbrushes can contain hundreds of germs if not replaced every three months.

“You should replace your toothbrush every three months; replace it more often if you have been sick,” said Jeanne McDole, office manager for Joseph Saccogna, doctor of dental surgery in Kent. “Bacteria accumulate, and the toothbrush gets worn down with your brush pattern.”

“I change my toothbrush every four to five months,” said Sara Rudy, sophomore fashion merchandising major. “If it gets worn out, it won’t clean as well.”

More than 300 kinds of microorganisms thrive in the human mouth. Researchers have established that thousands of microbes can grow on toothbrush bristles. These germs can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores and staphylococcus bacteria, which is responsible for many ear, nose and throat infections.

“If you leave your toothbrush out in the bathroom, it gets more germs on it,” McDole said. “Keep it covered to reduce the germs.”

Some students do not consider toothbrushes as part of their spring cleaning.

“I don’t really think about it,” Myers said.” It’s my mouth, and I know what is going in it.”

Contact features correspondent Rebecca Mohr at [email protected].