Does Body Wash Expire?

Body wash is an integral part of body care and is vital to many people’s daily routines. However, is it possible to choose the right product but mess up your skin because it has expired?

Body wash does expire, like other skincare products. The active ingredients in these products become less effective over time, which can alter its look, feel, and scent. Using expired products isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it can cause adverse skin reactions. 

It’s important to keep the expiration date of body wash in mind if you care about your skin. This article discusses why products expire and the effects of using expired products. Additionally, I’ll talk about how long unopened products last and how to store them properly. 

Does Body Wash Expire?

Body wash has an expiration date. It usually indicates a time-tested date beyond which the product is inadequately effective. It doesn’t mean the product is ineffective around that date, but the quality will have declined and will continue to do so. This decline varies between products and their ingredients. 

Body wash bottles usually have a tiny jar symbol with a number on or beside it. That number is the number of months you can keep a container of the product open before it starts to deteriorate. 

How To Know if Body Wash Is Expired

A color or scent change is more likely to occur when the product has been opened due to air exposure and contact with bacteria. Additionally, your product’s consistency will eventually change as the ingredients change and start to shift. 

Sometimes, there is no physical indication of the quality of your body wash, but you could get a bit red and itchy after using it. 

Colour Change

Color and scent changes often result from exposure to air and moisture. On top of that, when you use your product, bacteria from your hand can spread and contaminate it. This can speed up its deterioration or significantly affect its effectiveness. 


You can expect a slight change of smell when a product starts to deteriorate. Typically, this is a good indication of a quality change. It isn’t necessarily a bad smell, but it can simply be the fading of the initial scent

An actual stench can indicate serious bacterial contamination. You shouldn’t use a body wash that smells bad, but I assume you weren’t planning on doing that anyway.

Although you don’t immediately have to throw out products when their scent slightly changes, you should start to consider finishing the contents of the bottle or plan a future replacement.


You can often tell if a product is expired by its appearance due to a change in texture. The bonding between water-based liquids and fats will break down, causing them to separate from a homogeneous mixture into distinct layers. 

How To Slow Down the Deterioration of Body Wash

You can slow the deterioration process by storing body care products in suitable conditions. This is most effective for unopened products because they have yet to be exposed to moisture and air.

They also have not come into contact with bacteria either, which is another factor that contributes to the deterioration process.

This is the best environment for unopened body care products:

  • Cold (low, stable temperatures)
  • Dark (no direct sunlight)
  • Dry (avoid the bathroom and kitchen because those often have a high level of moisture in the air)

Of course, these conditions are almost a direct contrast to any bathroom. Typically, keeping opened products in the bathroom is fine, and some unopened products might do just fine there for a while as well.

However, if you really want to maximize the expiration of any unopened body wash, storing it in cool, dark, and dry conditions is your best bet.

Other ways to avoid fast deterioration:

  • Pour the soap into your hand, don’t touch the bottle’s opening or nozzle. 
  • Make use of the bottle of body wash often, and it probably won’t be around long enough to go bad. 
  • Avoid letting water inside the bottle.
  • Close the lid of the bottle when you’re not using it.

What Happens if I Use Expired Body Wash?

Usually, expired body wash won’t cause any harm, although the expiration date is a good indication of when the effectiveness is estimated to start to decline. However, extreme complications from using expired body wash aren’t likely unless you have pre-existing skin conditions or diseases. 

People with skin problems may experience redness, skin irritation, and itching. If the symptoms are more severe, you should definitely see a doctor. 

If you’d like to read about the expiration of other products, like makeup and perfume, you should read this wonderful article

How Long Does Unopened Body Wash Last?

Unopened products can last up to five years if kept properly. Products expire more slowly when the packaging is left untouched. The potency of the active ingredients devolves quicker when the product has been exposed to oxygen. 

The number of months indicated on the packaging of your body wash is a guideline for how long you can use an opened product. However, usually, there’s nothing mentioned about how long you can keep unopened body wash.

Can Old Body Wash Cause Skin Problems etc.?

Old body wash can cause mild skin problems. Still, a reaction is usually very unlikely outside of people with pre-existing skin conditions, and even then, reactions tend to be mild. Anything more serious should be taken to the doctor. 

We have more articles about hair and skin care on our blog, like this article about using conditioner as a body wash. The article discusses the properties and functions of both products. 

Final Thoughts

Body care products expire. That usually only means there’s a deterioration of the quality and effectiveness, which can show in the product’s texture, scent, and look. Depending on prior skin sensitivities or diseases, an expired body wash can sometimes cause skin irritation ranging from mild to severe. 

Unopened products last longer because they are not exposed to moisture and oxygen. They also benefit significantly from proper storage. Opt for a dark, cold, and dry storage space, as it will slow the deterioration of the product.

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