When the urge to clean strikes, you may find yourself with an armful of bathroom products, including mouthwash, that makes you wonder how serious to take their expiration dates. The mouthwash may seem OK based on its appearance and smell, yet its expiration date may tell another story.

Does Mouthwash Expire?

Usually, mouthwash is good for a maximum of 2 to 3 years from the manufacture date.

Most mouthwash contains alcohol or another astringent, which starts to dissolve after 2 or 3 years and essentially waters down the liquid. This may encourage bacteria growth, which makes expired mouthwash potentially unsafe to use.

Common mouthwash ingredients such as fluoride, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils also deteriorate over time, making them less effective.

Read on to learn more about the risks of using expired mouthwash, as well as some tips for putting your leftover liquid to good use.