Does a Soap Bar Expire? (Answered)

It might seem like soap never goes bad. You probably have some soap that you keep in the spare bathroom or near the kitchen sink that does not get used very often. Or maybe you have special soap that you do not prefer to use every day. The reality is that these soap bars can actually expire and go bad and be unsafe to use on your skin.

You will find that natural and organic soap bars spoil much faster than regular soap products as well. This is due to the natural fats in the soap, which can spoil or even get rancid. You will want to be sure that you know how long to expect from a bar of soap so that you remember to throw out the leftovers before the soap goes bad.

How Long Does Soap Last?

Soaps that are made with preservatives will last for about three years in the packaging and two years once they have been opened. Organic soaps will last a year when still in the package and about six months when they are in use. The ingredients in your soap can impact the timeline for the life of the soap as well, making some soaps much less stable and more likely to go bad. Some ingredients can make a soap product go bad after just a few months.

You should look at the packaging of every soap product that you buy to see how long the manufacturer says it will keep. There can be a wide array of expected shelf life for different soap products, and it’s worth knowing what to expect from each soap that you buy.

What Happens If You Use Expired Soap?

In the best-case scenario, you will use the expired soap, and it will smell bad, and you will throw it out. In the worst-case situation, the spoiled soap might cause your skin to break out or become irritated. Usually, the soap will also feel dry and hard to make lather, or it could feel rough against the skin even when it has gotten wet.

Natural soap products might even look filmy or feel slimy when they are not wet. This is a key sign that the fats in the soap have gone bad, and you can just throw out any soap that appears this way without even testing it to see if it will lather. Very old soaps that are made with natural ingredients can even grow mold, which is another key tip-off that the product has gone bad.

Keep Natural Soaps in Smaller Quantities to Make Sure They Stay Fresh

If you love natural soap products but hate their short shelf-life, make sure to buy smaller bars of soap if you can, or buy fewer at once since they do not keep well. You can make sure that you do not have to throw out your unused soaps if you just keep the supply number down somewhat. Even buying entire stacks of regular soap in bar form with preservatives in the mix is not a great idea. You will only get about a year of storage time from any soap before it goes bad, so don’t overstock your home or business with these products to prevent waste.

This article was last updated on May 5, 2023 .