Bar Soap Expiration Date — Is It Still Safe to Use?

During my travels over the years, I have used literally hundreds — perhaps thousands — of bars of soap at hotel and resort properties; and for the most part, I had generally been satisfied with using them…

Bar Soap Expiration Date — Is It Still Safe to Use?

bar soap expiration date

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…but during a stay some time ago, I encountered a bar of soap which had an expiration date of January of 2019 printed on the box in which it was packaged. I had already used the soap; but I brought the empty box home so that I can write this article.

I decided to wait on writing the article because I wondered if this was a new trend which had started — but the packaging of bars of soap during subsequent stays had no expiration date printed on them.

This particular bar of soap was manufactured by Peter Thomas Roth, which develops a line of clinical skin care products. It is what is known as a massaging bar of soap, which has bumps on one side of the bar to supposedly create a “massaging” effect while bathing or showering.

bar soap expiration date

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Personally, I believe that a massaging bar of soap is just a marketing gimmick to include less soap per bar by having bumps on one side instead of filling in soap between the bumps for a full bar…

bar soap expiration date

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…and when compared to a different massaging bar of soap which was manufactured by Neutrogena, the one from Peter Thomas Roth seems to be thinner, lighter and less volume — but I digress.

After conducting some research, multiple sources claim that a bar of soap in general expires after three years — unless some or all of the ingredients are organic or natural, which could render the bar of soap to be more perishable and therefore have a sooner expiration date.

A bar of soap may be considered too old if it shows visible cracks, is unusually dry, or has mold on it. Factors which can diminish the effectiveness of a bar of soap include — but are not limited to — air, light, bacteria, heat, and humidity once the soap is removed from its packaging. Regardless, the bar of soap may still be used — but it may not be as effective as before its expiration date.

An old bar of soap could also help to spread disease faster than a newer bar of soap. “ 

Additionally, using an old bar of soap can cause skin rashes and sensitivity.

That article gives the following suggestions as to how to prolong the shelf life of a bar of soap:

bar soap expiration date

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Anyway, this bar of soap weighed in at 1.23 ounces or 35 grams; and it was made in Greece. The ingredients consist of sodium palmate, sodium palm kernelate, water (aqua), sodium chloride, glycerin, tetrasodium etidronate, tetrasodium efta, fragrance (parfum), citronella, hexyl cinnamal, limonene, linalool, and titanium dioxide (CI 77891).

I wonder which of these ingredients expires the soonest…


I wonder just how old are the bars of soap found in some hotel and resort properties which may purchase them in bulk and not use all of them quickly enough.

I was initially surprised when I found that expiration date printed on the box on that bar of soap — but I suppose that expiring ingredients stand to reason when considering the aforementioned factors which contribute to the degradation of the soap…

…and I further suppose that if a bottle of water can eventually expire, then so can bars of soap…

All photographs ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “Bar Soap Expiration Date — Is It Still Safe to Use?”

  1. Henry says:

    bottles of water expire because the plastic is *slightly* porous … so gases continue to pass through *very* slowly.

    also, the plastic will eventually deteriorate (not as fast as it could, but …).

  2. Marilyn Nowalk says:

    unused soaps and shampoo makes great donation to your local homeless shelter. Please consider donatimg!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I agree, Marilyn Nowalk

      …but there is also this solution as well:

  3. Rick Saida says:

    Who’s to say that the date on the soap is an expiration ?
    I have worked in production for over 20 years, some products are coded with a best by date or even manufactured date. Best way to be sure is to call and check with the lot #.
    Manufacturers can tell you when that lot # was made and what the expiration is.

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