12 Items That Are Still Useful After Expiration: Survival Tips

12 Items That Are Still Useful After Expiration: Survival Tips

12 Items That Are Still Good After They Go Bad


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. Many items still have value and usefulness even after their stated expiration date. In this article, we will explore 12 items that you might think are no longer useful once they go bad, but in fact, can still serve a purpose in a survival situation.

1. Expired Medicine

You might be surprised to learn that expired medicine can still have some effectiveness. While the potency of the medicine may have decreased, it can still provide relief for minor ailments. Always exercise caution and use your best judgment when using expired medicine, but it’s good to know that in a pinch, it can still be helpful.

2. Outdated Canned Food

Canned food is known for its long shelf life, but even if it’s past the expiration date, it can still be safe to eat. The dates on canned food indicate when the quality and taste might start to degrade, but they typically remain edible for long periods after this date. Use your senses to determine if the food is still good. If the can is swollen or damaged, discard it. Otherwise, it’s likely safe to consume.

3. Rancid Cooking Oils

Just because cooking oils have gone rancid doesn’t mean they are completely useless. While you shouldn’t use rancid oil for cooking, it can still have other practical applications. Rancid oil can be used as a lubricant for various household tasks or as a fuel for lamps in emergency situations. Make sure to properly store the oil to prevent it from going rancid in the first place.

4. Stale Bread

Stale bread may not be appealing to eat on its own, but it can still be used in various ways. You can turn it into breadcrumbs, croutons, or even use it to make bread pudding. Stale bread can also be used in outdoor activities such as bird feeding or bait for fishing.

5. Old Coffee Grounds

If you’re a coffee lover, you might be disappointed to find out that your coffee grounds have gone stale. However, there are still some creative uses for them. Old coffee grounds can be used as a natural exfoliator for your skin or as a natural fertilizer for plants. You can also use them to remove unpleasant odors from your hands, such as garlic or fish.

6. Expired Batteries

While expired batteries may not have enough power to run high-demand devices, they can still be useful for low-power devices or emergencies. Keep a stash of expired batteries for items like flashlights or radios that you may need in a pinch. Just remember to dispose of them properly once they no longer serve a purpose.

7. Spoiled Milk

Spoiled milk may seem like it’s destined for the trash, but there are a few ways you can still make use of it. Sour milk can be used as a substitute for buttermilk in baking recipes, or you can use it to make homemade cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. In addition, spoiled milk can also be used as a plant fertilizer.

8. Expired Cosmetics

Expired cosmetics may not be safe to use on your skin, but that doesn’t mean they are completely useless. You can repurpose expired makeup for creative projects such as art or costume makeup. Old mascara wands can also be cleaned and repurposed as eyebrow brushes or even as cleaning tools for small nooks and crannies.

9. Burnt Matches

If you’re left with a box of burnt matches, don’t throw them away just yet. Burnt matches can still be used as fire starters for camping or starting a fire in a survival situation. They may not have enough sulfur left for a strong flame, but they can still provide a spark to ignite other kindling.

10. Expired Food Supplements

Expired food supplements, such as protein powder or vitamin tablets, may not be as potent as when they were fresh, but they can still provide some benefits. They can be used as a supplement to a balanced diet and may still contain trace amounts of the desired nutrients. However, be sure to check for any discoloration or foul odors before consuming them.

11. Moldy Cheese

While mold on cheese is usually a sign of spoilage, not all molds are harmful. In fact, certain types of mold can be intentionally grown on cheese to enhance its flavor. If you find small patches of mold on hard cheese like cheddar or Parmesan, you can simply cut off the affected area and still enjoy the rest of the cheese. However, if the mold is present on soft or fresh cheeses, it’s safest to discard them.

12. Expired Fire Extinguishers

Although expired fire extinguishers are no longer certified for use in emergencies, they can still be repurposed for certain tasks. The compressed air inside can still be used to clean delicate electronic equipment or inflate tires in a pinch. Just be sure to properly dispose of the extinguisher once it has reached its expiration date.


When it comes to survival, every resource counts. By thinking outside the box and finding alternative uses for items that have expired or gone bad, you can maximize your chances of thriving in challenging situations. Remember to always exercise caution and use your best judgment when dealing with expired items, but don’t underestimate their potential usefulness. Being resourceful is a key skill in survival scenarios, and these 12 items prove that sometimes even “expired” can still be valuable.

My 2 Cents

Being resourceful and finding alternative uses for items that have expired or gone bad can greatly contribute to your survival. Expired medicine, outdated canned food, and rancid cooking oils are just a few examples of items that can still be useful in a survival situation. Stale bread, old coffee grounds, and burnt matches can also be repurposed to serve different purposes. Remember to always prioritize safety and use your best judgment when using expired items. And don’t forget, being resourceful is an essential trait in survival scenarios, so think creatively and make the most out of what you have!