How Long Does Mouthwash Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on December 25th, 2022

Mouthwash is an important part of any oral hygiene routine, but how long does a bottle of mouthwash last? Here, we explore the shelf life of different types of mouthwash and the factors that affect their shelf life.

We’ll also discuss the risks associated with using expired or unused mouthwash and what to look for when buying new mouthwash. With this information, you’ll be able to determine how long your bottle of mouthwash should last and the best practices for using and storing it.

person holding Mouthwash

Types of Mouthwash and Their Expiration Dates

Different types of mouthwash have different expiration dates.

  • Antiseptic mouthwash usually lasts the longest, with a shelf life of 2 to 3 years.
  • Cosmetic mouthwash, designed to freshen breath, generally has a shorter shelf life and should be used within 12 months of opening.
  • Therapeutic mouthwash, which contains active ingredients to treat certain conditions, should be used within 6 months of opening.

It is important to check the expiry date on the bottle to ensure you are using the product within its shelf life.

How to Tell When Your Mouthwash Has Expired

Mouthwash has a shelf life of two to three years, but it’s important to note that this is only if stored properly and unopened. Once opened, the shelf life is reduced to one year. To tell when your mouthwash has expired, check the expiration date on the bottle.

This is the manufacturer’s recommended date when the product should no longer be used. If your mouthwash has no expiration date, you can also examine its color and smell to determine if it has gone bad. If the color is lighter or darker than usual or if it has an unusual smell, it’s best to discard it. Also, if the mouthwash has separated or has chunks, it has gone bad and should be thrown out.

The Important Role of Ingredients in the Shelf Life of Mouthwash

When understanding how long mouthwash lasts, it is important to consider the ingredients used in its production. The primary ingredients of mouthwash are alcohol or astringents, which act as preservatives and help to extend their shelf life.

Alcohol and other astringents are responsible for helping to kill any bacteria that may be present in the liquid. However, these ingredients also start to break down after a certain period, so the product will need to be replaced more frequently.

Additionally, some mouthwashes contain additional ingredients, such as fluoride or other active ingredients, which can affect the product’s shelf life. To ensure that you get the most out of your bottle of mouthwash, it is important to read the expiration date on the bottle and make sure that you replace it before it expires.

Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of Mouthwash

When it comes to determining the shelf life of mouthwash, several factors play a role. These include the ingredients in the mouthwash, the type of mouthwash, and how it is stored.

As mentioned earlier, the ingredients in the mouthwash can affect its shelf life. Most mouthwashes contain some form of alcohol or astringent, which helps to kill bacteria and keep the mouth clean. However, these ingredients can start to break down over time and weaken the mouthwash’s effectiveness. This is why it is important to check the expiration date on mouthwash bottles, as these ingredients can become less effective if used after their expiration date.

The type of mouthwash is also important regarding its shelf life. For example, antiseptic mouthwashes are designed to kill bacteria and should not be used for three months without consulting a dentist. On the other hand, cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwashes may have a longer shelf life but should still be checked for expiration dates.

Finally, how the mouthwash is stored also affects its shelf life. Generally speaking, it is best to store mouthwash in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help ensure it remains effective for its intended shelf life.

Tips for Storing and Prolonging the Shelf Life of Mouthwash

Maintaining and prolonging the shelf life of your mouthwash is important to ensure your safety and hygiene. Here are some tips for storing your mouthwash and keeping it fresh:

  • Store your mouthwash in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Make sure the lid is tightly closed and secured when not used.
  • Do not leave the bottle uncapped or open when not in use.
  • Avoid storing the bottle in a warm environment, such as near a radiator or in a hot car.
  • Avoid freezing your mouthwash, as it can affect its chemical composition and reduce effectiveness.
  • Do not mix your mouthwash with other products.
  • Shake the bottle before use to ensure that all ingredients are properly mixed.
  • Follow the instructions on the label for proper usage and dosage.
  • Do not share your mouthwash with others, as this can spread germs, viruses, and bacteria.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your mouthwash lasts as long as possible while keeping yourself safe and healthy.

The Difference Between Antiseptic, Cosmetic, and Therapeutic Mouthwashes

Mouthwash is not a one-size-fits-all product. Depending on the type of mouthwash, it can have different expiration dates and recommended uses.

  • Antiseptic mouthwash is typically used to reduce plaque, kill oral bacteria, and freshen your breath. These mouthwashes usually contain antibacterial agents such as alcohol and have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years.
  • Cosmetic mouthwashes are used to help freshen breath but do not contain antibacterial agents, making them safe for long-term use. Cosmetic mouthwashes can last up to 5 years.
  • Therapeutic mouthwashes treat specific conditions, such as gingivitis and periodontal disease, and can last up to 5 years if stored properly.

How to Properly Dispose of Expired or Unused Mouthwash

You should always take the right precautions when disposing of expired or unused mouthwash. The best way to dispose of any mouthwash is to pour it down the drain or toilet and then rinse it with plenty of water. You should never put expired or unused mouthwash in the trash, as this can be hazardous to small children, pets, and wildlife.

Besides, you should never pour expired or unused mouthwash into a sink full of dishes, as this could contaminate your dishes and make them unsafe for consumption. It’s also important to ensure you rinse your bottle before disposing of it in the trash, as this will help prevent any leaks or spills that could cause harm. Finally, always read the label on your mouthwash bottle to ensure you’re disposing of it properly.

The Risks Associated with Using Expired or Unused Mouthwash

The risks associated with using expired or unused mouthwash include an increased risk of infection due to the breakdown of the active ingredients. This can lead to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Additionally, expired mouthwash can taste bitter, making it unpleasant to use.

Ultimately, expired or new mouthwash can contain bacteria that can cause irritation, inflammation, and even infection in the mouth and throat. For these reasons, it is important to pay attention to the expiration date on the bottle and throw away any unused or expired mouthwash.

What to Look for When Buying New Mouthwash

When buying a new bottle of mouthwash, it’s important to look for products with a long shelf life. When shopping, look for products that contain alcohol or other astringents, as these ingredients will help to prolong the shelf life of the product.

Consider the ingredients listed on the label, as some may have shorter shelf lives than others. Finally, check the bottle’s expiration date and avoid buying any mouthwash that is close to expiring. Following these tips will help you purchase a bottle of mouthwash that you can use for its full shelf life.

The Best Practices for Using and Storing Your New Bottle of Mouthwash

When you buy a new bottle of mouthwash, you must practice proper storage and usage habits to get the most out of your product. To help you make the most of your mouthwash, here are some tips on how to use and store it:

  • Always rinse your mouth with water after using mouthwash. This will help prevent any residue from being left behind, which could irritate.
  • Be sure to keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use. This will help keep the product from drying out or becoming contaminated.
  • Make sure you store the bottle in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat.
  • Always discard any leftover mouthwash that has been opened for over three months.
  • If you are using a medicated mouthwash, make sure that you follow the instructions carefully and do not exceed the recommended usage.

Following these tips will ensure that you get the best results from your bottle of mouthwash and that it lasts as long as possible.


Mouthwash is a valuable part of your oral hygiene routine but does not last forever. Knowing the types of mouthwash you have, understanding how to tell when it has expired, and properly storing and disposing of it are all important parts of making sure that you get the most out of your bottle. By following these tips, you can ensure that your mouthwash lasts as long as possible and keep your mouth fresh and clean.


Editorial Staff

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