Baby oil. You may have a few bottles stored in the back of your cabinet from your baby shower a while back. What you may not have considered is how long that baby oil actually lasts.
Does baby oil expire? Baby oil typically expires within three years of its manufacture date. While mineral oil, the main ingredient in most baby oils, has a long shelf life, the fragrances and additives in baby oil break down over time and can cause the oil to be less effective or cause skin irritation for your baby.
So how do you know if your baby oil has expired? Then what? Is there something else you can use it for? Let’s take a look at how you can determine if your baby oil is safe to use on your baby and what to do with it if it is not.
Baby Oil Shelf Life
Most of us know that cooking oils definitely have a shelf life and can go rancid rather easily. So, is the same true of all oils, or does baby oil last indefinitely?
Baby Oil Expiration Date
The easiest way to tell if your baby oil has expired is to check for an expiration date. Most brands will have it printed on the bottom of the bottle or somewhere on the packaging.
Experts agree that baby oil should be used within three years after it is manufactured. This is the recommended time for baby oil that has been stored correctly.
Any exposure to elements or improper storage techniques could result in your baby oil going bad a lot sooner, so it is important to know how to tell if your baby oil is no longer usable.
How Do You Know if Baby Oil Has Expired?
Besides the expiration date, there are other tell-tale signs that your baby oil is no longer usable. Here are some quick, easy ways to determine whether your baby oil is still good or not.
Change in Scent
Most of the time, we use our noses as the first detective to determine if something is good or not. The scent of something can tell a lot about its quality. Unfortunately, baby oil won’t smell bad when it has expired, but it won’t smell good either.
Most baby oils are made of mineral oil with additives, such as fragrances, that give the oil that soft, gentle smell that we all love.
Over time, these fragrances break down, which can cause a change in the scent of the baby oil. If you notice that your baby oil has no smell at all, it is probably time for a new bottle.
Change in Color
Another easy way to check if your baby oil has expired or not is to look at its color. If you notice any changes in the coloring of the oil, it should be replaced.
Baby oil is usually clear. As it ages, it may become more yellowish or become cloudy. You may also notice the oil separating into layers.
These are all signs that the oil has expired and should not be used on your baby.
Change in Consistency
In addition to changes in color, scent, and appearance, the consistency of baby oil changes as it ages or as it is exposed to the elements.
Baby oil can become thin and runny or even thick and gel-like when the stabilizers in it begin to break down.
If baby oil is sticky or leaves a residue after application, that is another sign that it is no longer effective. If you notice any of these changes in the consistency of your baby oil, discontinue its use on your little one.
Sometimes the container of baby oil can begin to lose its shape or appear to be bulging. This is a sign that the ingredients in the oil are breaking down. This usually happens after many, many years.
Oftentimes when the stabilizers and fragrances in baby oil begin to break down, the once-translucent oil becomes cloudy. This is a good indication that the quality of your oil has diminished and that it should be replaced.
Baby oil becomes cloudy when it has become exposed to water or humidity from the surrounding environment.
Excess moisture in the oil provides the necessary environment for bacteria to grow and thrive, which can be dangerous for your baby.
If you see sediment on the bottom of your bottle of oil, it is no longer good and should be replaced. Like bulging, this doesn’t usually happen until after several years.
Can You Use Expired Baby Oil?
Baby oil that has gone bad or expired should not be used on your little one. Using expired products can put your baby at risk of rashes, irritation, or allergic reactions.
Also, as with other cosmetic products, there is a higher risk of bacteria lurking in the oil once it has expired, which can be harmful to your baby.
However, just because expired baby oil should no longer be used on skin does not mean that it is useless and has to be thrown away. There are several uses for expired baby oil around your house that are mentioned below!
How Long Does Oil Last After Expiration Date?
Baby oil may last longer than the expiration date that it is given, especially if it has been stored correctly or even unopened.
In general, it is safe to use the product after its expiration date as long as it looks, feels, and smells normal and proves to be working effectively.
If you notice any discoloration, a bulging container, or changes in texture, the oil should be replaced.
Uses for Expired Baby Oil
The great thing about baby oil is that it really doesn’t go bad. While it may no longer be safe to use on skin, it is still perfectly safe to use for a variety of other things around your home.
- Cheap lubricant to use in place of WD40
- Clean stainless steel appliances
- Remove stickers or bandaids
- Condition leather shoes or bags
- Polish wood floors
How To Dispose of Baby Oil
Baby oil is not considered hazardous waste and is safe to dispose of in the regular trash.
Does Baby Oil Clog Pores?
Baby oil is noncomedogenic, meaning that it will not clog your skin’s pores. This makes it a great makeup remover or face moisturizer.
Is Baby Oil Safe for Babies?
The key ingredient in many baby oils on the market is mineral oil. There is a lot of controversy and debate on the safety and effectiveness of using mineral oil on your baby’s skin.
In general, it is safe to use baby oil that has cosmetic-grade mineral oil as its key ingredient. However, research shows that it may not actually be as effective as using baby oil that contains cleaner alternatives such as coconut or jojoba oil.
We know that your little one’s health and safety are your top concerns. It is always best to have a “better safe than sorry” mindset when it comes to the products we use on our babies and when they expire.
We hope this article gave you some guidance and peace of mind.
Charlynn is an educator and mom to fraternal boy/girl twins. She loves learning through the experiences she has with her littles and using her knowledge to help other moms as they embark on the journey of motherhood.