Does Bubble Bath Expire? Shelf Life and Storage Tips

Does Bubble Bath Expire? Shelf Life and Storage Tips

Does Bubble Bath Expire? Shelf Life and Storage Tips

Yes, shower products like bath bombs and bubble baths expire. But how long exactly does a bubble bath last?

You can check the expiration date on the packaging — if there is no date, you can assume that it is safe to use up to 2-3 years from manufacturing as long as it is stored well.

Bubble bath products contain either chemical or natural preservatives, and you should avoid the chemical ones to lower any risk of illness.

If you are still wondering whether you can safely relax in a tub of that bath bomb or bubble bath, keep reading. This guide will cover the signs of an expired product and how you can keep it properly stored.

What Does Expiration Date Mean?

The expiration date tells you when a product is fresh and safe for use. Cosmetics and bath products also have expiration dates, which can typically be one to three years after it was manufactured.

For instance, body washes can last for three years, shower steamers have a shelf life of about six months, and most bath bombs expire after one year. A bath bomb can lose its fizz after around six months, but you can still use it safely.

If nothing is printed on the bubble bath boxes, you can safely assume a shelf life of 2 to 3 years from the manufacturing date— as long as you store them well.

What is the Role of Preservatives in Bubble Baths?

Preservatives extend the shelf life of bubble baths by preventing the growth of bacteria, mold, yeast, and other microbes.

Body washes, bubble baths, and other shower products contain either chemical or natural preservatives, and both can keep them fresh for months.

Chemical Preservatives

Some common chemical preservatives in bubble baths and bath bombs include cocamide DEA and sodium lauryl sulfate. However, some of these present health risks.

For instance, cocamide DEA is deemed a safe cosmetic ingredient by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel of the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).

However, it should not be used in products that contain nitrosating agents since they may turn carcinogenic.

Meanwhile, phenoxyethanol is harmful to the body, possibly causing irritation in the lungs, eyes, and skin.

Chemicals can give bath bombs and bubble baths a long shelf life. However, it is not safe or fun for you or your little ones to be sitting in chemicals.

Natural Preservatives

Natural preservatives in a bubble bath and bath bomb can make them expire after around one year.

This means naturally-preserved bath bombs will expire faster. However, they are gentler on the skin and safer for the body to soak in for long periods.

One example of a natural preservative is citric acid, which is from plants. Sodium chloride, or table salt, is another ingredient that adds thickness to the product.

Research Bubble Bath Ingredients

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When buying bubble baths and bath bombs, always research the ingredients in the formulas — especially if children will be using them. The ingredients should be listed on the bottle.

Familiarize yourself with what is safe and unsafe, including preservatives.

Try checking online resources like The Good Guide and EWG Skin Deep to make the process easier.

How to Find Out True Bubble Bath Expiration and Other Factors to Consider

The expiration date printed on a shower product is one sure way to know its expiration. However, there are other factors to keep in mind when considering whether a bubble bath has expired.

These include how the product was stored, whether it has been opened, and the bubble bath scent.

How Was Your Bubble Bath Stored?

Proper storage is important to preserve your bath bombs and bubble baths.

Most cosmetics and bath products that are typically stored in the bathroom should actually be kept in a cool, dry place — like away from the shower.

However, keeping bath bombs and bubble baths in the bathroom cabinet is safe enough. Do not expose it to excess moisture and air when you take a shower by putting it on top of the toilet or on a counter.

Preservatives can quickly degrade here. If your product has a fragrance, you might find it has become milder or disappeared completely.

Store them away from warm, humid places and direct sunlight since the bottle material might also degrade and mix with the product, affecting the fragrance.

A bath bomb is even more prone to mold since it may contain natural ingredients like essential oils, flower petals, oatmeal, and milk.

Has Your Bubble Bath Been Opened?

If your bubble bath hasn't been opened, it should be airtight. That means nothing can leak out or leach into the bottle.

Once you have opened your bubble bath, it is more likely to expire within three years than unopened bottles.

How Does Your Bubble Bath Smell?

Bubble baths typically have fragrance in their ingredients — and that fragrance will eventually disappear as the ingredient degrades.

Once you start smelling any unpleasant or unusual odor in the product, you should throw it away even if it is still far from the printed expiration date.

If the fragrance is still there but faint and the product is not expired, you can still use it.

If you have a fragrance-free product, an unusual scent is a sure sign that it is not safe anymore.

Will My Bubble Bath Still Make Bubbles?

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Bath bombs and bubble baths contain surfactants, which make them fun and frothy when you add air by putting them in running water.

As long as the bath bomb or bubble bath can still make bubbles and has a fragrance, it is usable — even if it is past the printed date.

To check if your product can still create bubbles, simply mix some into warm running water. We recommend against using expired bubble baths.

What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)?

SLS is a common surfactant in bath bombs and bubble baths. Aside from making bubbles, it also helps remove dirt and grime.

However, it can irritate sensitive skin since it is derived from synthetic sources.

That being said, are bubble baths bad for you? If you avoid SLS, they're not harmful.

SLS has a natural but pricier alternative called sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa). This is derived from coconut oil and palm oil and can last up to two years without any preservative.

Key Takeaways on Bubble Bath Expiration

Bubble baths and bath bombs expire. One way of knowing when is to check the expiration date printed on the packaging.

However, there are also a few other ways to know if your bubble bath is still good to use.

  • Whether it was stored properly
  • If it was opened
  • How it smells and how strong the fragrance still is

Kids bubble bath can still create bubbles as long as the surfactants in the formula remain active — but you should throw away expired products so no one gets exposed to bacteria and microbes.

Always research the ingredients in your bubble baths and bath bombs. Watch out for chemicals like SLS that can cause skin irritation in those with sensitive skin.

Store the bath bomb and bubble bath away from excess moisture and heat.