With the pandemic still raging across the world, you want to stay productive while keeping yourself safe. So you decide to open up your cupboards and cabinets, pull out your drawers and there you see it–your old bottle of unopened contact lens solution is lying at the back corner, long forgotten. Reaching in, you pull it out and find that your fears are realised; there in your hand is a bottle of expired contact lens cleaning solution.
You don’t want to throw it out but at the same time you know that they’re not safe for contact lenses. So is there a way to save it?
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Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Contact Lens Solution – What Is It?
There are all kinds of solutions available out there and they all serve a different purpose. Cleaning solution is used for cleaning, but not disinfecting, your contact lenses. Saline solution is used for rinsing after cleaning and disinfecting.
And one of the most popular solutions for contact lenses is multipurpose solutions. This is because you could use it for rinsing, disinfecting, cleaning and even storing disposable contact lenses. This ensures that you can use contact lenses hassle-free.
Some people also opt for a hydrogen peroxide system. This option uses a hydrogen peroxide based cleaning solution which uses the process of oxidation to break apart build-ups and disinfect your soft contact lenses. Due to its innate ability to destroy microorganisms, it does not contain preservatives. This makes it an excellent choice for those with more sensitive eyes or are allergic to the preservatives.
What Does It Mean When Your Contact Lens Solution Expires?
Once the contact lens solution expires, it would no longer be safe for your eyes. This is because the products used to keep your product sterile would eventually break down.
For multipurpose solutions, this includes the preservatives that keeps your solution effective in cleaning contacts and killing germs. For hydrogen peroxide solution, the hydrogen peroxide itself degenerates into water and oxygen, making it harmless against microorganisms.
And not only that, the plastic casing that keeps the product intact is also prone to degeneration. This is why all of the contact lens solutions, even saline solution, have expiry dates listed on their packaging.
Using any of these expired contact lens solution on your contact lens can be detrimental to your eye health. Contact lens solution are designed to keep your contaminants away from your eyes. Using expired contact lens solution would be just as bad, or worse, than not cleaning your lenses at all.
Can I Use My Unopened But Expired Contact Lens Solution On My Contact Lens?
Do not use expired contact lens solution for cleaning contacts. We cannot stress enough on the importance of using high quality, approved and tested solution for your contacts. Even unopened bottles are dangerous to be used as cleaning or rinsing solutions past their expiry dates.
While we admire and strive for a greener living, we should also care for health. The CDC states that improper contact lens hygiene and care has been linked to a higher risk of complications. This includes keratitis, a painful eye infection which, in serious cases, can lead to blindness. Using expired contact lens solution is simply not worth the risk.
But this doesn’t mean that you should throw them out immediately. There are other ways to make use of your old solution before it ends up in the trash.
What Can You Do With Expired Contact Lens Solution?
Here are 7 of our favourite creative ways to turn this trash into treasure. Please note that unless stated otherwise, hydrogen peroxide based solutions are unsuitable for most of the following tips.
Time needed: 5 minutes.
7 Ways to Reuse Expired Contact Lens Solution!
- Resurrect Your Mascara & Eyeliner Using Contact Lens Solution
You are probably familiar with the disappointment of finding your favourite mascara thick and clumpy, and may even insist on using it just so you don’t have to throw it out. You spend forever trying to accomplish the impossible task of applying your clumpy mascara evenly without smearing. Or even worse, it might even be completely dried out and useless altogether.
With your expired contact lens cleaning solution, you can easily save your mascara without ruining your look or spending hours in front of the mirror. Simply squirt a few drops into your mascara tube and leave it overnight. The added moisture would help with evening the consistency. When you wake up, you will find your mascara resurrected and ready for use. You can do the same with your eyeliners too.
This would also work for de-clumping mascara wand. If you find your mascara wand hard to manage, soak the brush tip in your expired contact lens cleaning solution overnight. You will find that your wand is now as good as new.
- Concoct a new Eye Liner
If you love to have an array of different colors to choose from when applying eyeliners, you may find it a little costly. You may also be a creative soul who wants a specific shade of color you cannot find at the store for your latest cosplay project.
With your saline or multipurpose solution, you can easily solve both of these problems. Mix a few drops of solution with your favourite eye shadow and you have a vibrant eyeliner that is sure to turn heads. You can even let your creativity go wild and mix a few different colors to get a diverse collection of intense and bright hues. All without spending a single cent.
- Clean your Water Line
Kajal or kohl may be the quieter of the makeup range but the dramatic look of kajal-rimmed eyes can transform your beautiful eye makeup into a look that is both sophisticated and exquisite—that is if you get it right. Otherwise, your deep and intense glance will appear tired and dull thanks to your faded kajal.
The secret to alluring kajal-enhanced eyes is to first clean your waterline. And your contact lens solution is the perfect tool for the trick. Simply wet your cotton bud with the solution and rub it across your waterline. Your eyes would never again give the impression that you’re constantly lacking sleep but will instead radiate effortless elegance, adorn with glamour and confidence.
- Pre-treat Fresh Blood and Wine Stains
For those who use saline solution, this one is for you. You might have heard that salt is an excellent blood and wine stain remover. So, it is not a surprise that saline solution would work just as well.
We’ve all been in a situation where we’re stuck at a dinner party, quietly freaking out about the stain we cannot immediately address. The longer it takes to treat stains, the lower the chances of us removing it completely. This is where saline solution shines.
Just squirt some of your expired saline solution directly onto the stain to start treating it right away. Keep applying it every now and then to keep it wet and easier to treat once you get home. You can even soak your beloved garments in your expired contact lens solution before washing it as usual. But remember to mark your expired saline with a huge ‘EXPIRED’ label. You really don’t want to accidentally use it on your contact lens!
- Removing Organic Stains
The stronger cleaning capability of hydrogen peroxide solution means that it contains no preservative to keep it germ-free. When your hydrogen peroxide solution has expired, it loses its full capacity to remove build-up and microorganisms. However, you can still use it to get rid of those stubborn stains from your favourite costumes.
Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing agent that acts on proteins, lipids and microbial DNA, leading to cell death. This makes it an excellent tool for both removing debris from your contacts and breaking up stains from your fabric. In fact, hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in many non-chlorine bleaching agents (also known as oxidizing bleaching agents). It is especially effective against protein and plant-based stains. This includes grass, mildew, fruits and vegetables and even blood and underarm stains. So, if you’ve spilt some wine or dropped a piece of dragon fruit, your old solution can save your dress.
To use it, simply apply a small amount of your old solution directly on the stain. A spray bottle will help to keep the amount controlled but it is not necessary. Leave it to rest before rinsing it with water and launder as usual. To amplify its cleaning capability, you can try mixing a teaspoon of your old hydrogen peroxide solution with a little cream of tartar or a dab of non-gel toothpaste. Rub the paste on the stain with a soft cloth, then rinse. Always remember to first test this stain remover in an inconspicuous spot before trying it for the first time.
- Clean your Electronic Devices
Electronic devices are sensitive to harsh household chemicals that you usually use to clean your items. The pH of most household cleaners is either much too alkaline or acidic which can corrode these sensitive devices. Even baking soda, a favourite of nature lovers still has a pH of 8 to 9, which makes it a slightly alkaline substance.
Since contact lens solution has a neutral pH of 7, it is the ideal product for cleaning your electronic devices. All you need to do is to wet some cotton or a clean cloth with the solution and wipe the items clean. You can finally remove the greasy smudges from your laptops and smartphones without the risk of damaging them.
You can also use a cotton bud to get to the narrow crevices like between the keys of a keyboard. However, remember not to use too much as the saline nature of the solution can negatively affect your devices if it gets onto the circuit.
- First Aid
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to quickly address a cut but you do not have your first aid kit available, contact lens solution or saline solution can be used as an emergency first aid wash.
When it has expired, it could not function as a disinfectant. But it can work as a cleanser and flush out debris from your wound. Please note that it should not be done with a multipurpose or hydrogen peroxide solution.
Saline solution may even work better than water for cleaning wounds, especially for younger children. Cleaning cuts with water will often cause sharp pain that distresses children.
However, due to its isotonic nature, it neither adds nor takes fluid away from the wound bed, making wound cleansing much more comfortable and a lot less scary.
How Do I Dispose of My Contact Lens Solution?
Maybe you aren’t a fan of eyeshadows and kajal so the beauty tips aren’t for you. Or maybe you would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to your healthcare. If none of the suggestions above appeal to you, we suggest you to safely dispose the contact lens solution.
You can simply dispose of your contact lens solution with your trash or flush it down the drain. The main ingredients of multipurpose solutions are made of chemicals usually approved for drain disposal.
For example, the sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium phosphate dibasic and sodium phosphate monobasic included in our Complete Travel Size Multi-Purpose Solution are all approved by the University of California San Francisco for drain disposal.
Saline solution is simply a mixture of table salt and water and is non-toxic to the environment. While salt in large amounts can cause a hypertonic reaction (removes water from cells), saline solution is very mild.
Similarly, hydrogen peroxide occurs naturally in the environment in low amounts. While it is corrosive, hydrogen peroxide solutions made for contact lens are at low concentrations (3.0%) Due to its unstable nature, it quickly reacts in the environment and breaks down into water and oxygen molecules. On top of that, hydrogen peroxide does its cleaning trick as it breaks down. You might even be able to get your drain unclogged by flushing them down your sink. That is nature’s wonder for you!
We live in a world where possibilities are endless and we’re always eager to try out new projects and ideas. Sometimes that can be a little heavy for your budget. Sometimes you end up with too much of something that you would simply throw them out unused.
Saving money and self-expression are not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. With a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness, you can find ingenious use for your expired contact lens cleaning solution and do a favour to both, yourself and mother nature.