Can mouthwash go bad?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can mouthwash go bad?” and understanding the expiration dates.

Can mouthwash go bad?

Yes, mouthwash can expire. After two or three years, the majority of mouthwashes include alcohol or similar astringent that dissolves and dilutes the liquid. This may encourage the growth of germs, making the use of expired mouthwash potentially dangerous.

Fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils are all degraded and rendered useless throughout a lifetime.

More information on the risks of using expired mouthwash and how to recycle any leftover liquid may be found by continuing to read this article.

Is it okay to use mouthwash that has expired?

Infected bacteria and rancid chemicals may be present in mouthwash that has expired, making it unsuitable for consumption. 

Changes in color, an unusual odor, and a strange consistency are all signs that your mouthwash has reached the end of its usable life and should be thrown away. Natural mouthwashes, which in some cases must be refrigerated, have a considerably shorter shelf life than conventional mouthwashes.

You should not use a mouthwash container that does not have an expiration date on it if you are unsure about its contents.

What are the risks of using expired mouthwash and how can you avoid them?

Due to the breakdown of the active ingredients in expired mouthwash, it is likely to be ineffective and possibly harmful. Medicinal and cosmetic mouthwashes, both of which have a nice flavor and offer short respite from bad breath, fall under this category.

Therapeutic mouthwashes may include active ingredients like fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, and aromatic oils, among other ingredients. Plaque, tooth decay, and gingivitis are all treated with these agents. When used over time, fluoride and hydrogen peroxide lose their efficacy, making them less efficient for tooth whitening, improving oral health, and preventing cavities.

Certain mouthwashes include essential oils, which have a shelf life of just a few years in most cases. Their strength and efficacy diminish as a result of the changes in their composition. These compounds are especially dangerous when they have been exposed to sunlight, high temperatures, and oxygen, or when they have been mixed with other chemicals.

After a few years, the alcohol or antiseptic in mouthwash starts to degrade and lose its effectiveness. This results in a watery mouthwash that may encourage the growth of germs in the mouth.

During the years 2020 and 2021, Sunstar Americas, Inc. voluntarily recalled a prescription oral rinse that had been contaminated with Burkholderia lata. Gingivitis is treated with Paroex Chlorhexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse USP, 0.12 percent, which is available in two concentrations.

According to a Trusted Source from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), using the drug may result in oral and systemic infections that need the administration of antibiotics. It has the potential to cause life-threatening infections such as pneumonia and bacteremia in certain susceptible individuals.

What should be done with a mouthwash that has gone out of date?

It is simple to get rid of expired mouthwash by flushing it down the toilet.

In contrast, if mouthwash is re-used, it may be utilized for several other home purposes, such as cleaning. For many of these reasons, it is OK to use expired mouthwash; nevertheless, the efficacy may be decreased as a result. It is not advised, however, to use expired rinses for skincare purposes unless necessary.

Mouthwash may be used in a variety of ways at home, including the following:

You may remove odors and freshen your clothes by adding 1 cup of mouthwash to a washing cycle.

Make a bug-repellent plant spray by combining one part mouthwash with two parts water.

To clean the toilet bowl, swish it around with mouthwash.

By placing a capful of mouthwash in a vase of fresh flowers, you may extend the life of the flowers.

To clean your mirrors and windows, wet a cloth with mouthwash and use it to wipe them off.

Recognize the existence of expiration dates

As it turns out, the rules governing the expiration dates of non-food products such as mouthwash and toothpaste are a little different from those governing food items. While Consumer Reports claims that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate food expiration dates (except for infant formula), the FDA does regulate the expiration dates of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, according to the organization.

Cosmetics are classified as medications by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if they are designed to cure or prevent disease. These personal care products must be subjected to stability testing and labeled with an expiration date to be sold.

Using the expiration date on a bottle of mouthwash, you may estimate how long the chemicals in the container will stay stable, indicating that the FDA has established a time limit for how long the mouthwash will be effective. Not all mouthwashes, on the other hand, are created equal.


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “can mouthwash go bad?” and understanding the expiration dates.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.