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Does Hand Soap Expire? (Should You Use After Expiry?)

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm

Hand soaps don’t often stay for long because we use them very often. Nonetheless, if you bought yours in bulk and still have many to go, the random thought of them getting spoiled can pop up in your head. So, does hand soap expire?

Yes! Hand soaps expire and have validity dates. Nonetheless, they may still be effective even after they have expired. However, it’s best to avoid using soaps beyond their expiry dates as some germs may resist them.

Does Liquid Hand Soap Expire?

Does Hand Soap Expire

Liquid hand soaps expire. They usually have expiry dates mostly indicated on their packaging.

Usually, the manufacturers of liquid soap are the determinants of the shelf life of the soap, but it is never more than a duration of two to three years.

If liquid soaps did not have such tendencies to expire, there would be no need to have expiration dates on their containers.

However, while store-purchased soap brands expire within two to three years, homemade soaps expire within a few months or a year after production.

The chemicals and ingredients used in making these soaps are obtained from very volatile sources; hence, they evaporate, causing them to lose their original effective nature if not used within the recommended time.

When your soaps expire, expect to see cracks all over them, a color change, a drop in lather quality, and a difference in their scent. It may also begin to rot and have mold all over it.

While it may be true that hand soaps expire, using them within a short period after their best before dates may not be entirely bad.

But if you’re not comfortable using expired soap, then you can decide to toss it out. In addition to this, expired soaps that have lasted for over two years may begin to cause skin irritation.

On the other hand, it is important to note that hand soaps can expire before their given shelf life.

This early expiration may be caused by some factors such as; heat, humidity, air, light, and even micro-bacterial activities.

Liquid hand soaps expire due to the chemicals that they have been made with. The reaction between these ingredients brings about the formation of the homogeneous mixture we use as our liquid soap. 

These liquid soaps undergo some process that makes them bad for you by decomposing, especially after it has long passed their validity date.

Some liquid hand soaps may not have expiry dates because their components may be substances that do not expire. Notwithstanding, always check for some cues that may indicate that your soap is expired.

How Long Can You Keep Liquid Hand Soap?

Store-bought soaps are often more durable than homemade soaps. They have better chances of staying on the shelf for a longer time. Generally, you can keep liquid soaps for over 18 to 24 months.

Liquid hand soaps can be bought at the store and prepared easily at home using DIY hacks.

Specifically, the ability of any liquid hand soap to be kept for long without quick expiry depends on the ingredients that they were made from. After this, it reaches a stage where it will become non-effective.

Is It OK To Use Expired Hand Soaps?

You can still use hand soaps after they have expired. Some soaps tend to still work even after their best before dates. Nonetheless, they are only effective a few days after their best before dates and can even cause problems with continued usage.

Liquid soaps have a shelf life of two years and three years at most. If your expired soap still foams, washes your hands squeaky clean, and has no offensive odors, then you can continue use.

However, even though it still serves its purpose after expiry, it may soon wear out and cause skin reactions such as rashes, allergic reactions, dryness, and dirt sticking to your hands.

These reactions may cause permanent damage to your skin. So, it’s best to adhere to the adage, “prevention is better than cure.”

Expired liquid soap may even begin to stick differently to your skin, change colors and even have its fragrance wear off.

Furthermore, expired soaps sometimes become mediums for the growth of bacteria. The reactions of the various chemicals used in producing it lose their ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Bacteria can thrive in anything organic.

So if you must use expired soap, make sure it’s not so far away from the time it expires to avoid introducing bacteria to your body system.

How To Know If Your Hand Soap Has Expired?

A couple of signs expired hand soaps show; they range from cracks to rotting, inability to form a lather, and even causing skin irritation.

That said, below, I’ll be explaining these signs.

1. Visible Cracks

When hand soaps are expired, they tend to show visible signs of breakage and can easily be squashed with your hands.

2. Dryness

Expired soaps are often very strong and dry. It takes a long period to get them soft enough for application and use.

3. Rotting

When soaps are expired, they grow mold and dark spots on them. Sometimes you may try to scrape out the molds, but they reappear after a day or two. Rot is a sign of bacteria and other microorganisms growing on your soap.

Expired soaps serve as perfect cultures for bacteria to grow; this is because most of the essential oils and ingredients used for soap production have lost their potency.

4. Color And Texture Change

Hand soaps are made from some chemicals that determine their colors. However, when they expire, they lose their initial colors and form different ones.

For instance, hand soaps are made from oils that give them their colors. A color change is just the right indication that your soap is going rancid. They may have their colors change to orange, yellow, black, and brown.

5. Fragrance Change Or Loss

Expired soaps often have different smells from when they were freshly produced or purchased. Soaps made from essential oils have this tendency more than homemade soaps.

They may expire and begin to smell offensive or may even lose their scent.

6. Skin Rashes And Allergic Reactions

The chemicals used in producing hand soaps may cause skin rashes and allergies, and sometimes peeling. These negative effects usually occur when the soaps have expired.

7. Inability to foam or lather

Expired soaps often lose their ability to form lather in water. Soaps are surfactants that help in removing grease, stains, and germs by forming lather. When they expire, they may foam a little or not even at all.

You will have to spend more time over the sink washing your hands. This is quite frustrating because no one enjoys washing their hands without lather.

So why not throw your expired soap into the trash or recycle them and get fresh ones?


Liquid Soaps do expire. They typically have a shelf life of two to three years. This is because the chemicals that are used in producing them can become worse as time goes by.

You may effectively use them a few days after completing their shelf life.

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