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I still have PondClear natural bacteria. Am I better off throwing the rest in, or will it still be good for next season?
ASKED BY: Jeff of Morris, WI
ASKED BY: Jeff of Morris, WI

I still have PondClear natural bacteria. Am I better off throwing the rest in, or will it still be good for next season?



A: At the end of pond season, just about everyone has some leftover supplies. Half-full canisters of natural bacteria, bottles of dye, algaecides and more—what do you do with all of it? Do they have expiration dates? And how do I keep them until next year? Here's what you need to know about the shelf life of your favorite pond products.

PondClear
When stored in a dry and sealed container that's kept above freezing, the beneficial bacteria found in PondClear packets will be good for five years, so hold on to those leftovers! As long as water temperatures are above 50°F, the waste and muck reducer will work to break down debris. After they fall below that mark, stash your PondClear and keep it on hand to start off next pond season.

Dry Treatments
Like PondClear packets, Pond Dye packets, EcoBoost PRx phosphate control, MuckAway muck reducer and other dry bacteria products also have a five-year shelf life when stored in a garage or basement in a sealed, waterproof container.

Liquid Treatments, Chemicals
Certain liquid bacteria and chemicals, including PondClear liquid formula, Algae Defense and Shoreline Defense, have a two-year shelf life. Nature's Blue Pond Dye or The Pond Guy PondShade Pond Dye, too, has a shorter, two-year shelf life. If you're not sure, check the product label for specifics. Note: This does not apply to chemicals that have been mixed in sprayer. These should be used immediately or properly disposed.

Whenever you buy a pond product like these with an expiration date, take a clue from folks who preserve tomatoes each year: Take a moment to jot down the date (month/year) on the container with a Sharpie. That way, you won't have to try to remember when you bought what and whether it's past its prime.

By properly labeling, storing and shelving these pond products until next year, you'll get a start on next year's pond season—and save yourself some money.