Supercharge Your Spring Cleaning

There’s something about spring that triggers the desire for a fresh start. But in addition to removing dust and cleaning windows, this is the perfect time to check out your refrigerator, pantry and bathroom for outdated products.
Article Photo
Don’t rely on the “sniff test” to determine what foods are safe to eat.

You’ll need:

  • Paper and pencil or pen --  to make a list of items that will need to be replaced (Editor’s Note: create your customizable Giant Eagle® Shopping Lists using the Giant Eagle website or the Giant Eagle apps for iPhone and Android, then just check off the items as you go)
  • A magnifying glass to check out the small print on “use by” dates 
  • Garbage can and recycling bin for discarded containers

Don’t rely on the “sniff test” to determine what foods are safe to eat. Even if they’re not smelly or fuzzy, expired item can still cause illness.  

  • Condiments and dressings – discard anything that has exceeded its “use by” dates to the dates on condiments and dressings from past holidays or last year’s
    barbeque season
  • Cheese – unless the cheese has expected mold (like blue cheese), spots of blue and green mean the cheese is ripe for the garbage – don’t try to trim away the mold; it’s probably already spread into the interior
  • Frozen foods – badly-wrapped containers or those pushed to the back may contain ice crystals; while a little freezer burn doesn’t constitute a health hazard, these foods will suffer from loss of liquid and juiciness, flavor and even nutrients

 Pantry and spice rack

  • Canned, bottled and boxed items – check expiration dates; quality, flavor and nutrition are altered by age…not enhanced
  • “Natural” and preservative-free foods – these have very short shelf lives; if you purchased them for the holidays, chances are they’ve expired
  • Flour – often emptied from the original packaging into a storage container, white (room-temperature) or whole wheat flour (refrigerated) should be replaced after 6 to 8 months (Tip: flour stored in a freezer has a shelf  life of 1 to 2 years)
  • Herbs and Spices – herbs lose potency after one year; ground spices can be kept for two years; check by rubbing a small amount in your hand – if the aroma is fresh and rich, it’s okay to keep


  • Health and beauty items – these may not age gracefully, resulting a loss of quality, effectiveness and even safety; discard mascara after 4 months, liquid foundation, concealer, nail polish, cream and gel cleansers: 12 months, powder: two years, eyeshadow: three years 
  • Medications – replace products that have reached or exceeded their “expiration” or “best if used by” date; it may take a magnifying glass to locate these, but your health is worth the extra effort

Questions? Contact our registered dietitians at

Brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Giant Eagle and Market District®.