Does Mouthwash Expire

This post is made to give answer to the question thousands and millions of people who often ask “Does mouthwash expire” Actually mouthwash do expire. Continue reading to know if truly it expires and what the expired mouthwash can be used for aside from throwing it away.

What is a Mouthwash?

Mouthwash which is otherwise known as mouth rinse, oral rinse, or mouth bath is a liquid which is held in the mouth passively or swilled around the mouth by contraction of the perioral muscles by movement of the head, and sometimes it may be gargled, the head is tilted back and the liquid bubbled at the back of the mouth.

Mouthwash is also called oral rinse: Its a liquid product that is used to rinse the teeth, gums, and mouth that usually contains antiseptic that kills harmful bacteria that can live between the teeth and on your gum. Sometimes,  mouthwash is used to fight against bad breath and prevent tooth decay. Although mouthwash does not  replace brushing  the teeth or flossing in terms of oral hygiene, and it’s only work effectively  when used.

Components of Mouthwash

1. Antimicrobials: It reduce the amount of bacterial in the mouth and reduces the build up of plagues and removes tooth decay e.g Cetylpyridinium chloride, Chlorhexidine gluconate, Sangurinarine.

2. Deodorixing and Oxidizing Agent: Helps to neutralize bad odours e.g Sodium bicarbonate and Chlorine dioxide

3. Oxygenating Agent: Helps to eradicate aerobic microorganisms by adding oxygen to the area e.g Hydrogen peroxide

4. Fluoride: Strengthens the teeth and prevent tooth decay, it is often added to toothpaste e.g Sodium Fluoride.

Does Mouthwash Expire

Yes! Mouthwash like every other products such as medicine, beverages and foods. But this liquid can only sit on the bathroom counter for a very long time before it goes bad or proves non effective for mouth cleaning. Note: if your mouthwash has expired, do not use it for your mouth.   

Usually, mouthwash is good for a maximum of 2 to 3 years from the manufacture date since most mouthwash contains alcohol or and other astringent, which starts  dissolving after 2 or 3 years and waters down the liquid essentially which may encourage bacteria growth that which makes expired mouthwash potentially unsafe to use. Common ingredients like fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils which are used for the manufacturing of mouthwash also deteriorate over time which makes them less effective.

Mouthwash stability tests shows how long the active ingredients in a given product retain their potency and usefulness to a consumer. Most ingredients decompose and lose strength faster than others and that  is why different formulations which are made the same date may have different expiry dates. For any mouthwash, the “use before date” is the date on which the producer won’t guarantee its effectiveness and safety. Most drug makers usually print the information on the product’s label.

What Happens if we Use Expired Mouthwash

Due to the breakdown of active ingredients, expired mouthwash is almost ineffective and possibly harmful. This is very true for both therapeutic mouthwash and cosmetic mouthwash which tastes good and temporarily relieves bad breath.

Therapeutic mouthwash: This is used to treat conditions like plaque, tooth decay, and gingivitis. It is made up of active ingredients such as fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils. Fluoride and hydrogen peroxide lose their potency overtime which makes them less effective at whitening the teeth, improving your oral health, and preventing cavities.

Some mouthwashes are made up of essential oils which usually have a shelf life of few years and changes to their composition over time, weaken their strength and effectiveness especially if they are exposed to light, heat, and oxygen, or mixed with other ingredients.The alcohol or antiseptic in mouthwash starts dissolving after a few years. This leads to watery mouthwash and may encourage bacteria growth.

Some Uses of Expired Mouthwash

Most people decide to get rid of expired mouthwash by simply pouring it down the drain but if you prefer to reuse it for other purpose there are several household uses for expired mouthwash and it’s okay to use expired mouthwash for many of these uses, though it may be slightly less effective.

It’s not advised to use the expired rinse for any skin care purposes, though. If  managed to hang on to a bottle of mouthwash long enough for it to expire, chances are you don’t use it very often and expired mouthwash contains ingredients that weaken and become rancid with time, so it’s unlikely to provide many benefits. Plus, the alcohol has probably already dissolved, leaving you with a watery liquid that’s possibly bacteria-ridden.

The deterioration of mouthwash ingredients may even cause the plastic bottle to break down. This makes the expired mouthwash even more harmful. It is advised that any bottle of mouthwash that is  2 to 3 years old, even if it’s within its expiration date is not worth the risk so it is wise ahead and find a way to use it around the house or toss it.

Note: Store mouthwash away from direct sunlight in a dry, cool place. If you usually forget to use mouthwash and want to get into the habit, place it in a visible location. Uses of expired mouthwash for house hold purposes includes;

1. For the treatment of dandruff

This remedy is best applicable for dandruff that are caused by an overgrowth of Malassezia which is a yeast-like fungus that lives on scalps of most adult and when there are too many it causes irritation on the scalp and encourages the growth of extra skin cells. Eucalyptol which is an antifungal chemical that is very active in most expired mouthwashes helps prevent and get rid of Malassezia from the scalp.

2. Keep Flowers Fresh

Just like aspirin, pennies, and other old folk tales on how to keep flowers alive, mouthwash has antibacterial properties which makes it ideal for extending the life of a flower bouquet. However, it is wise to dilute the unexpired mouthwash before using it on the flowers if you most use the unexpired mouthwash 

3. Get Rid of Ticks on Pets

Expired mouthwashes are ideal if you’re having challenges getting rid of stubborn ticks on your pets. Get the expired mouthwash and soak an old tea towel and place it over the infected area for a minute and then remove it. The tick will untangle itself and fall off.

4. Freshen Laundry

Have you ever found that after going through the washing machine, your clothes have a stale, musty odor? “Water that has not fully drained out of your machine after a few wash cycles will be left behind, where they remain and produce bad odor,” Add a cup of the alcohol-based, sugar-free expired mouthwash to your next cycle to kill germs for good. To avoid staining your clothes make sure the mouthwash doesn’t contain any artificial color.

5. Emergency Hand Sanitizer

Expired Mouthwash can come handy when you need a hand sanitizer as quick as possible by filling a travel spray bottle halfway with the expired mouthwash, to avoid sticking ensure that the mouthwash is alcohol-based and sugar-free.

6. Disinfect Your Toothbrush

Toothbrushes also need to be cleaned. If not washed regularly, they can harbor a variety of germs, not just from your mouth but also from the toilet. Dip the toothbrush in a small cup filled with the expired mouthwash and leave it there for up to 10 minutes to clean them properly, give the tooth brush a very good rinse and it will  be very  clean and fresh too  as a new. 

Note: Make sure that the  mouthwash contains alcohol and that the alcohol is still active to some extent.


Mouthwash that has reached its expiration date is useless to your oral health. So, while expired mouthwash will not poison or injure you, it will lose its beneficial effects on your oral health at some stage. Cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues can not be addressed by rinsing with an expired mouthwash. Using out-of-date moIn 2020 and 2021, Sunstar Americas, Inc. voluntarily recalled a prescription oral rinse because of microbial contamination with the bacteria Burkholderia lata. The product, Paroex Chlorhexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse USP, 0.12 percent, is used to treat gingivitis.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Trusted Source said that using the product could potentially cause oral and systemic infections requiring antibacterial therapy. In some individuals, it could cause life threatening infections, including pneumonia and bacteremia.
These incidents highlight the potential of mouthwash to contain harmful bacteria. Mouthwash is a waste of time and effort.

However, some mouthwash and toothpaste usually continue to be of good benefits 6 months after the manufacturer’s expiration date although this can vary depending on the product. Alcohol-based mouthwashes can last longer than the non-alcohol mouthwashes until they have  expired. There is no sense or point using a mouthwash that passes the expiration date so if your mouthwash reaches the expiration date or is at least two years beyond the manufacture date it is wise to trash it even if the expiration date has not been reached and the texture has not changed too, it is still recommendable to throw it away. 

Most importantly, if the mouthwash does not look or smells normal, do not hesitate to throw it away or use it for other purposes other than the mouth because health and peace of mind is worth the price of a new bottle of mouthwash, which is sure to provide all of the oral health benefits you’re after. Store mouthwash away from direct sunlight in a dry, cool place. If you usually forget to use mouthwash and want to get into the habit, place it in a visible location.

error: Content is protected !!