Does Perfume Expire? Signs To Look For and What to Do

Published: Oct 27, 2022 • Last Updated: Jan 03, 2024

Perfumes do go bad however how long it will last depends on how its stored and the chemicals & ingredients used in that perfume which is unique for each perfume. Therefore we can't say when the perfume will expire however generally speaking, an opened bottle can usually last 2 years while an unopened bottle can last decades.

What factors contribute to perfumes going off?

Perfumes with heavy bases like amber, leather or woody notes lasts longer than lighter bases like citrus. These prefumes with heavy base notes and easy on the top notes are the ones that are most likely to get better with age.

Perfumes that contain no fat - as in essential oils - lasts a lot longer compared to perfumes that do contain fats (commonly vegetable oil).

Natural ingredients expire sooner than synthetic ingredients as they are designed with stability.

Perfumes with a higher alcohol content like Eau de Toilette last longer than the ones with higher oil content like Eau de Parfum. This is because alcohol is a preservative and hinders oxidation.

And of course, opened bottle will expire much sooner than a sealed one. Once you open the bottle, you introduce air into the bottle which oxidizes the juice. As you spray on your perfume, the liquid that comes out of the bottle is replaced by air that goes in to fill its place. The less juice you have left in the bottle, the more air is there to interact with it so don't "save up" the last drops of your favorite perfume.

Sunlight, specifically UV light is another source of damage to the delicate compounds of the perfume. Over time, UV exposure breaks down these compounds altering the smell of the perfume.

How you store your perfume affects the longevity of your perfume in a massive way. Keep reading to learn how to store your perfumes properly.

How to tell if a perfume has gone bad?

Ifi holding an expired bottle of Lomani AB Spirit Silver
An expired bottle of Lomani AB Spirit Silver from YouTube channel IfiShares. The juice is muddy and greenish looking, it should be yellowish and more clear.
  1. Visual inspection: If the color of the juice has changed significantly from when it was new, you should probably throw that out. Same thing if you see crystals forming in the bottle.
  2. Smell it: If the perfume smells bad to you and it didn't before, if it smells sour or lic or just strange, tt may have expired. Its alright if the perfume smells different but not bad. Many high quality perfumes ages and develops with time like a fine wine.
  3. Skin irritation: Sometimes the perfume looks and smells the same but all of a sudden, it has started irritating your skin. You should chuck that sucker in the bin.

What happens if I put on an expired perfume?

Applying an expired perfume can smell unpleasant on your skin. It may also cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction but that's fairly uncommon.

I've had old perfumes that when I sprayed just didn't smell like anything after 10 mins. I felt like I was just spraying alcohol on me 😄.

Some expired perfumes might also stain your clothes so test them out before spraying it all over.

How to get rid of a perfume?

If you've decided the perfume is a lost cause, open up the bottle from its spray nozzle and pour the juice down the sink. Follow up with soapy water that will dissolve and wash out the oils so they don't hang around the pipes and send weird odors back up.

Bottle of Daisy used to store glitter
Credits: And Everything Nice

As for the bottle, if its glass you can throw it in recycling and the plastic parts in the trash. If its a gorgeous bottle, consider repurposing it for something else like how Chelsey used the Daisy bottle to store her glitter 😉 (image above).

Check out this infographic for many more uses of perfume bottles.

How do I store perfumes to give Gods of expiration the slip?

We wrote an article on how to store your perfumes but here's a quick rundown.

  1. Sunlight, air, humidity and high temperatures are all bad for your perfume so store your bottles in a cool, dry and dark place. This could be a drawer in your dresser and definitely not in the bathroom.
  2. You can also store perfumes in your refrigerator. The cool temperature will slow down oxidation especially for the lighter compounds that we mentioned earlier like citrus. If you do this, don't let the perfume warm up to room temperature. Temperature fluctuations are just as bad as high heat.
  3. If you have very little juice left in the bottle and don't want to use it up, decant the juice into a smaller travel sized vial to reduce air exposure.

You'll never have to worry about perfumes expiring because when you subscribe to ScentGod, we send you a monthly supply of your favorite fragrances fresh every month.

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Photo of Preet Singh

Preet Singh

I have always been enamored by the power of perfumes to evoke emotions and capture memories. This profound love for fragrances led to the creation of ScentGod, a platform designed to allow everyone the luxury of discovering and wearing premium scents without the commitment of a full-sized purchase. My vision for ScentGod is more than just offering fragrances; it's about sharing passion, creating experiences, and helping people find their signature essence.

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