What to Do With Expired Body Wash? (We Have the Answer!)

what to do with expired body wash

If you were to empty your bathroom cabinet, chances are that you would find some products like a body wash that you had forgotten about and have been there for quite a while. If you come across an old body wash bottle, you may wonder if you can still use it if it’s past its expiry date.

You may not want to throw away body wash that’s still usable. On the other hand, you don’t want to use a product that has gone rancid. Below is an overview of what to do with expired body wash and usage safety after the expiration date.

Do Bath and Body Works Body Wash Expire?

A common question many people have is if body wash expires. The short answer is yes, body wash or shower gel does expire at some point. Body washes expire at slightly different rates depending on the ingredients and whether you opened the bottle or not.

When you open a body wash bottle, it starts aging quite fast. If bacteria enter the sealed package, they will breed and hasten the process of the product going bad. Most body washes can last for about 12 months after you open the bottle and typically have a period after opening (PAO) label on the packaging as required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The PAO is abbreviated and represents the expiration date of the product. For instance, 12M means twelve months, and 2Y means two years. If you have never opened the body wash bottle, the body wash can last for up to two or three years from the date of manufacture. Homemade or natural body washes will expire much sooner than store-bought products, after about one year when unopened.

Can You Use Body Wash After Expiration Date?

It is usually still safe to use body wash after its expiry date. You will notice that the body wash is not as effective as it used to be or doesn’t lather as well or as well as it normally would. This is because the body wash formula has stopped being potent.

However, this depends on how long the product is past its expiry date. If just a few months have passed after the expiry date, you can still safely use body wash, although the effectiveness may be reduced. An unopened bottle is generally much safer to use past its expiry date than an opened one.

However, it’s not advisable to use body wash if it is years past its expiry date. At this stage, you can’t guarantee that the product hasn’t gone bad and how your skin will react to it. When body wash is way past its expiry date, the bacteria-killing chemicals in the formula aren’t as effective. Using expired body wash risks irritating your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. This applies whether you have opened the bottle or not.

How to Tell if Body Wash Has Expired

There are several ways to determine if your body wash has expired and is safe to use, including:

  • Loss of scent – Expired body wash doesn’t have the strong smell it had when you first opened it. A strong fragrance is a major signifier of freshness. Loss of scent may also mean the detergent isn’t as powerful and, therefore, can’t fight germs as effectively as it used to.
  • Change of consistency/color – The clearest sign that your body wash has expired is a change in its consistency. It’s not advisable to use body wash if the texture and color have changed.
  • Signs of rancidity/rot -If you can see visible mold or experience a rancid or rotting smell, it’s time to discard the body wash.
  • Lack of lather – A quick way to determine if body wash has expired is if it still lathers. If the product doesn’t foam well, using it won’t do you much good even though it may still be safe to use.

What Can You Do With Leftover Body Wash?

Not all toiletries are useless once they reach their expiration dates. While you can choose to discard your body wash that’s past its expiry date, you can still use it for different purposes. As long as it hasn’t gone rancid, your body wash is still ideal for other cleaning purposes.

You can use expired body wash to clean glass surfaces and prevent them from fogging. You can also use it to clean your bathroom, kitchen, and floor tiles. You can also use it to clean jewelry and silverware because the detergents aren’t that reactive, providing an easy shine to your ornaments.

If you wish to freshen up the smell of your clothing or furniture, you can add small amounts of body wash to the cleaning water. Expired body wash can also serve as a good lubricant in some cases. You can use it for nails, screws, chains, and unstick rusty or jammed zippers from bags, coats, and other items. As you can see, numerous alternative uses to an expired body wash will make you not throw away the bottle just yet.

How Long Can You Store Body Wash?

The length of time you can store body wash depends on several factors. The first is whether or not you have opened the bottle. Most body wash manufacturers will include a POA label, particularly if they are FDA-approved. Inspect the back of the bottle towards the bottom to locate the POA label.

Most products have a “use by” label in the form of a small container with the lid off. This label approximates how long you can store the body wash after opening. Most likely, the label will read 12M, indicating that the product will last 12 months after you open it. You can store most store-bought body washes for up to three years if unopened.

Secondly, the ingredients in the body wash also affect how long you can store it. Store-bought body washes have chemical preservatives that improve their shelf lives significantly. Depending on the ingredients, some body washes can last about two years and others three years. To extend the time you can store your body wash, you can follow the tips below:

  • Close the lid on your body wash tightly after use
  • Keep unopened body wash away from direct sunlight or high temperatures
  • Store the body wash in a cool dark spot
  • Minimize exposure to substances that may contaminate the product


Overall, body wash does expire – generally after 12 months if opened and up to three years if unopened. Depending on how long the product is past its expiry date and how well you stored it, it may still be safe to use. A few months after expiry is fine, but if it’s years past, usage isn’t recommendable. There are also other alternative uses for expired body wash. However, it’s best to discard body wash that has gone rancid.

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