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Does Soap Expire? (Let’s Find Out The Truth)

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Last updated on October 22nd, 2022 at 06:50 pm

There is a general saying that everything has an expiry date. The effectiveness of something is based on how long it has strayed from its production.

Nonetheless, some substances last long while others don’t. As different soaps exist, you may prefer one and randomly wonder whether it expires.

Yes! Soaps do expire. Soaps expire when the basic ingredients used in making the soap have exhausted their shelf life from their time of creation, most soaps stay for a very long time before expiring while others do not, but when soaps expire, they foam less when used, frequently, soaps don’t stay till they are expired before they are used up.

Does Liquid Soap Expire?

Liquid soap expires. Liquid soaps expire when they have stayed up to two or three years after they have been made.

They expire early basically because of the ingredients used in the process of making them.

These ingredients help preserve the nature of the soap, causing them to take longer periods to expire. Liquid soaps are made from salts of vegetable or animal fats.

They are often made with the addition of potassium hydroxide, which helps maintain the pH of the soap. These chemicals help in preserving the liquid soap, making them last for longer periods.

Even with these, liquid soaps expire because a time will come when the potency of the ingredients used will reduce. When liquid soap expires, it foams less and cleans less.

Liquid soaps are used in removing grease from surfaces; when liquid soap expires, the potency to remove grease from the surfaces is greatly reduced and sometimes lost; this is because the ingredients used have lost their abilities in cleaning or they have stayed and no longer potent to clean.

Mostly when there’s a stain and an expired liquid soap is used, the stain often takes more time than normally required to be removed, and sometimes, the stain is not removed.

This is because the ingredients have undergone processes that have reduced the power of the liquid soap to remove the stain.

In dealing with whether liquid soap expires or not, another point to consider is the nature of making the soap.

For natural or handmade soaps, the ingredients used are not entirely the same as those used by commercial companies.

But all the same, they both expire. Natural or handmade soaps may stay only for a short while.

The shelf life duration of natural or handmade liquid soaps is usually six months to one year.

After this period, the chemical nature of the liquid soap will change, leading to a subsequent change in the color, fragrance, lather, and texture of the liquid soap.

Many preservatives are added for commercially made liquid soaps, so they last for two years and more.

Does Bar Soap Expire?

Bar soap expires, but it does not expire early. In addition, it takes time for bar soaps to expire, usually two to three years or more, depending on the type of ingredients used in making the bar soap.

Sodium hydroxide is used to maintain the pH of the soap, which helps preserve the soap for longer periods.

As earlier mentioned, bar soaps expire. And many conditions help in maintaining the nature of the bar soap to prevent them from expiring early.

An example of these conditions is temperature, and the right temperature will help keep the soap in its right nature, thereby increasing effectiveness and reducing some reactions that may destroy the soap.

Bar soaps are meant to clean up grease and dirt also. When bar soaps expire, they lose their ability to clean properly.

Rancidity often occurs mostly, causing deterioration to the oils and fats used in making the bar soap. This reaction changes the nature of the soap and makes it lose its ability to clean properly.

Usually, when a bar soap expires, the color often remains the same and doesn’t change. Bar soap does not change color because it undergoes saponification.

But in most cases, mold and bacteria are found growing on the soap, and this is because the ingredients that would have destroyed them are no longer potent enough to destroy them.

How soon bar soap expires is dependent on the process involved in making the soap.

When bar soaps are homemade, not all ingredients required to preserve the soap for longer periods are added; for such bar soaps, their shelf life is six months to one year; in most cases, essential oils are added; this even shortens the life of the soap.

When bar soaps are made for commercial purposes, so many preservatives are added to the soap that makes it last longer.

Furthermore, machines mix the ingredients; this helps the soap to last up to two years and more before the bar soap expires.

When essential oils are added, there are processes involved that make the soap last longer.

Does Hand Soap Expire?

Hand soap expires. However, hand soaps are mild and ingredients normally used are not easily destructive to the hands.

These ingredients keep the hand soap in its nature, preventing spoilage.

Hand soaps typically have a shelf life of two to three years after production, the ingredients used in making hand soaps lose potency over time.

Another way to look at this question is in hand soaps are effective after staying for long periods.

Well, hand soaps stay for long periods, but this time should not be too long, such that the nature of the soap changes completely.

Although most times, before a hand soap expires, you must have used up the soap already.

Hand soaps can be in any form; while some are in bars, others exist in liquid forms.

When hand soap expires, rancidity occurs, denaturing the soap by destroying the ingredients used in making the soap.

This causes it to lose its ability to clean properly when used. In the end, you will not achieve the main purpose of using the soap.

Most times, when hand soaps expire, the color changes, and most often, their fragrances change also, but in some cases, even when a hand soap expires, the color remains the same, the fragrance also remains the same, but the effectiveness of the soap is reduced greatly when the soap is used.

Some hand soaps are often made at home, which usually involves very simple processes and procedures that do not require them to stay for very long periods; this causes the homemade soap to expire faster than when commercially made.

When made for commercial purposes, certain procedures are used, which help the hand soap last for longer periods, such as two years.

In most cases, homemade hand soaps expire within six months to one year, while commercially made hand soaps last for about two to three years before they expire.

Sometimes the temperature required to keep the soap for longer periods is not considered. High temperature causes the soap to expire sooner, which is often the case for handmade hand soaps.

Does Dish Soap Expire?

Dish soap expires. The ingredients used in making the dish soap will change color, and texture sometimes and become less effective as they stay for very long periods.

Usually, the shelf life of dishwashing soaps is twelve months or more.

And although dish soaps retain foam even after expiration, they take a long time in doing the required function or sometimes do not.

Dishwashing soap is often added to warm water to increase its lather formation and effectiveness.

Normally, when they have stayed for some time, the chemicals appear separated, but this is usually resolved by shaking to mix them once more.

Nonetheless, when dishwashing soap lasts for up to a year after production, its effectiveness in removing grease from plates is reduced greatly.

Dish soaps have the shortest lifespan among other soaps.

Does Soap Have An Expiry Date?

Soaps typically have expiry dates. The expiry dates of most soaps are written on the packaging of the soap.

Furthermore, the expiry date of soap does not mean that the soap is completely useless.

It means that when that time reaches, the potency of the soap will reduce because of the nature of the ingredients used in the process of making the soap.

When soaps reach their expiry date, some still make lots of lather and maintain their color and fragrance.

Meanwhile, others change completely in color, lather, fragrance, and texture.

On expiry, most soaps still function properly and clean very well, and the expiry date is a denoted date expected that the ingredients used should reach their shelf life.

Another factor to consider about a soap’s expiry date is if the soap is handmade or commercially made.

Mostly when soaps are handmade, they usually do not stay for a very long time before they expire.

This is because commercially made soaps undergo special processes most time and are made in the right conditions. You cannot specify the expiry dates of handmade soaps in most cases.

Nonetheless, they stay up to six months before they expire, whereas commercially made soaps have specified expiry dates; this is because of exhaustive research done on the ingredients, causing commercial industries to get accurate information before using to determine the expiry date of the soap.

What Will Happen If You Use Expired Soap?

In most cases, when expired soaps are used, there is no significant change in the soap’s lather, color, fragrance, and texture.

What usually happens is that the potency of the soap is greatly reduced, especially when the soap has expired for a very long time. 

What happens after a soap expires is dependent on the type of soap.

The effectiveness of the soap, which reduces greatly, is considered general for all soaps irrespective of their nature.

Also, sometimes, very little or no lather forms on expired soap. Also, when expired soaps are used, you are exposed to bacteria and germs as the soap is no longer potent to destroy them.


Soaps expire and how soon they expire is dependent on the processes involved in making the soap. Also, it is dependent on the form of the soap, that is, if the soap is in a liquid or bar form.

While some soaps last long before expiring, others such as those made at home take only a short while before they expire.

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