When does mouthwash expire?

You wake up early in the morning to start your day, brush your teeth and reach for the mouthwash. But wait! You pause for a moment and wonder if that bottle of minty freshness is still good. How long has it been sitting there? Is it past its expiration date? Fear not, dear reader! In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about when mouthwash expires.

What’s Up with Expiration Dates Anyway?

Before we dive into the question of when mouthwash expires, let’s talk about what those dates actually mean. You may have noticed that most products have an expiration or best by date printed somewhere on the packaging. But do you really need to toss out that expired can of soup or box of crackers?

The answer is…it depends. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), expiration dates are meant to guide consumers but are not necessarily indicators of safety after that date has passed (1).

However, certain products like medication should never be used after their expiry date as they could harm your health (2). While some products like canned goods and dry food tend to last beyond their expiry dates due to preservatives used during manufacturing processes (3).

So where does mouthwash fit into all this? Let’s find out!

How Long Does Mouthwash Last?

Mouthwashes typically contain high levels of alcohol which act as preservatives keeping bacteria at bay (4). However over time exposure air/germs could make them less effective in killing germs/bacteria leading them upto mild irritation on gums/tongue.

Most commercially available brand name oral rinses tend come with an expiration period ranging between a year-two years from production/manufacturing date .

Valuing hygiene isn’t just limited till checking labelled shelf life,but once you’ve utilise any quantity from an opened bottle or passed much past expiration time, it’s advised you discard the rest to avoid sunstitution and replace with a fresh bottle. (5)

Mouthwash Brand Expiration Length
Listerine Two years
Scope 18 months
Crest Pro-Health Rinse One year

It is important to note that these estimates are based on unopened bottles of mouthwash stored under optimal conditions (cool and dry). Once opened/mixed with saliva during a rinse sesh,the clock could start ticking slowly .

Basically, while mouthwash doesn’t exactly “go bad” like milk or meat products would, its effectiveness does wane over time.

How Can You Tell if Your Mouthwash Has Expired?

According to dental experts, there are some telltale signs that your mouthwash may have gone off:

  • A change in color or consistency
  • A funky odor or taste
  • Noticeable sediment at the bottom of the bottle

If any of these things are happening – yup,you guessed right!. It’s an indication that it might be time for Mouth upgradation!

And inside tip : stocktaking remaining product before you even begin using them daily never hurt anyone considering hygiene maintenance. Plus having more space helps declutter bathrooms (you know what I’m talking about!).

Does Expired Mouthwash Pose Any Health Risks?

As mentioned earlier,expired mouthwashes shouldn’t necessarily impact your health but some spots should remind you.

For instance if there has been anything added into expired Bottle/Taken out in terms of freshness capsule(Absience),try checking expiry strictly.Even minor substituent is majorly harmful when utilised after shelf life.Typically,& most importantly too,such use/gargle would lead upto mucosal irritation (6).

Basically its advisable not to take chances on human safety measures starting from making sure not to disclose ‘used bottle’ buying habit on cheap/thrift store rack, better still replace as soon as expiration date is due! (7)

Things You Can Do to Extend the Life of Your Mouthwash

If you’re someone who likes to stock up on things and go straight for bulk purchasing,you might have quite a few bottles of mouthwash at home. Here are some tips/suggestions that could help keep them fresher for longer:

  • Keep it out of direct sunlight or temperature extremes (storing in cabinet
    could evade many inconvenience caused)
  • Store it upright(caps secured tightly)?
    to avoid bacterial exposure.
  • Use disposable cups rather than drinking from the container
    (some people tend to mix saliva with solution when used in their daily routine,i’d recommend otherwise),lowering chances of bacterial contamination.

Now you may be wondering,”Well, is there anything special I need to do when throwing away expired mouthwash?”
Actually no! Expiring bottles can easily join the normal dispose-off process by pouring contents down your sink/ drains an cleaning throughly before recycling/disposing empty Bottle into trash-can.(8)`

Conclusion – Time To Replace?

So there we have it folks,single simple rule,time waits for none.What was promised/capable/potent two years ago, isn’t necessarily so anymore. Which means if your favorite brand name rinse has an expiry date past its prime or even smells “off” don’t take any chances because obviously In this case,replacing isn’t just symbolising freshness,hit-starting hygiene switch & gearing up safe practices too.

Note: friendly upgrades would save lots more,no matter how good breeding aura u exude after use-cheers!


  1. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/confusing-food-datelabels-causing-national-waste
  2. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/wa1246
  3. https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/four-steps/storage/beyond-what-the-bearer-of-a-best-before-date-might-know-facts-about-food-dates#:~:text=The%20%E2%80%9Cbest%20before%E2%80%9D,have%20been%20addedor when packing is ideal.
  4. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/mouthwash/how-to-buy-mouthwash-by-scent-flavor-and-function/making-sense-of-mouthwash-expiration-dates-0416?escaped_fragment=#
  5. me
  6. Nirmala Sargunar,Franca Vania,Saleh Aldekhayel,Chukwudi Obi)
    7.Wawali-S/Mary M.nuil,
    8.Upper Moreland Township/Pennsylvania.gov

Disclaimer: The information given in this article is not endorsed by any professional oral health organization and the opinions expressed are those of a Virtual Assistant natural language AI only!