Does Mineral Oil Expire? Everything You Need to Know

Mineral oil is a clear, odorless liquid that is derived from petroleum. It has many uses, such as moisturizing skin, lubricating machinery, preserving wood, and removing earwax.

But does mineral oil expire? How can you tell if it has gone bad? And what can you do with expired mineral oil? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more.

Does Mineral Oil Expire?

The short answer is yes, mineral oil does expire. However, the shelf life of mineral oil depends on several factors, such as how it is stored, whether it is contaminated, and what quality of oil it is.

Storage conditions: Mineral oil should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from heat, light, and moisture. Exposure to these elements can cause the oil to degrade faster and lose its effectiveness.

Contamination: Mineral oil can become contaminated by dust, dirt, water, bacteria, or other substances that get into the bottle. Contamination can affect the purity, safety, and performance of the oil. Therefore, it is important to keep the bottle tightly closed and use clean tools to dispense the oil.

Quality of oil: Mineral oil comes in different grades, depending on the level of refinement and processing. Higher quality mineral oil, such as pharmaceutical or cosmetic grade, has fewer impurities and additives, and thus lasts longer than lower quality mineral oil, such as technical or industrial grade.

Generally speaking, unopened mineral oil can last for several years, while opened mineral oil can last for about a year. However, these are only rough estimates, and the actual expiration date may vary depending on the specific product and conditions.

How to Tell If Mineral Oil Has Gone Bad?

There are some signs that can indicate that mineral oil has gone bad, such as:

Odor changes: Mineral oil is normally odorless, but if it develops a rancid, sour, or unpleasant smell, it means that it has been oxidized or contaminated by bacteria or fungi. This can happen if the oil is exposed to air, heat, or moisture for too long.

Appearance alteration: Mineral oil is normally clear and transparent, but if it becomes cloudy, milky, yellowish, or brownish, it means that it has been degraded or contaminated by water, dust, or other substances. This can happen if the oil is stored in a dirty or damp place, or if the bottle is not sealed properly.

Reduced performance: Mineral oil is normally smooth and slippery, but if it becomes thick, sticky, or lumpy, it means that it has lost its viscosity or consistency. This can happen if the oil is exposed to extreme temperatures or mixed with incompatible substances. This can affect the functionality and efficiency of the oil, especially for lubrication purposes.

If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the oil and replace it with a fresh one. Using expired mineral oil can cause skin irritation, infection, inflammation, or damage to the equipment or surfaces that it is applied to.

What to Do with Expired Mineral Oil?

Now that you know the answer to ‘’does mineral oil expire’’, here’s what you can do next.

If you have expired mineral oil that you don’t want to use anymore, you may wonder what to do with it. Here are some possible options:

Reuse it for other purposes: If the oil is not too bad, you may be able to reuse it for other purposes that don’t require high quality or safety standards, such as industrial lubrication, rust prevention, or weed control. However, you should always test the oil first and make sure that it is compatible with the intended use and does not cause any harm or damage.

Recycle it: If the oil is too bad to reuse, you may be able to recycle it at a local collection center or facility that accepts used oil. Recycling oil can help reduce waste and environmental impact, as well as conserve natural resources and energy. However, you should always check the regulations and requirements of your area and the recycling facility before disposing of the oil.

Dispose of it properly: If the oil is not reusable or recyclable, you should dispose of it properly and safely. You should never pour oil down the drain, into the toilet, or onto the ground, as this can cause pollution, clogging, or health hazards. You should also never throw oil in the trash, as this can cause fire, explosion, or leakage. Instead, you should put the oil in a sealed container and take it to a hazardous waste disposal site or a licensed waste contractor that can handle it.

See also: Do shower gels expire?

Can You Drink Expired Mineral Oil?

No, you should not drink expired mineral oil. Expired mineral oil can be contaminated by bacteria, fungi, water, dust, or other substances that can cause infection, inflammation, or irritation in your digestive system.

Moreover, mineral oil can interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, and cause diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Therefore, it is not advisable to consume mineral oil that is beyond its expiry date.

If you are looking for a safe and effective laxative, you may want to consult your doctor or pharmacist for other options. Mineral oil is not recommended for oral use, especially for children, pregnant women, or people with certain medical conditions


In regard to does mineral oil expire, Mineral oil is a versatile product that has many uses, but it does expire over time. The shelf life of mineral oil depends on how it is stored, whether it is contaminated, and what quality of oil it is.

You can tell if mineral oil has gone bad by checking its odor, appearance, and performance. You can do something with expired mineral oil, such as reusing it, recycling it, or disposing of it properly.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your mineral oil and ensure its utility and safety.