Does Dish Soap Ever Expire?

When you give your cups, plates, and cutlery a good wash, you obviously want the dish soap you use to be as effective as possible. However, that might not happen if the cleaning product has expired. Yes, that's right, dish soap can expire, too.

Exactly how long you can rely on the soap to be useful depends on a few different factors but it'll generally last for around a year to a year and a half. Although that may mean you can go ahead and use that bottle of Dawn that you bought a few months ago and forgot in the back of your cupboard, you should be aware of the fact that old soap won't work as well as the newer stuff.

That's because the ingredients break down over time and aren't able to get rid of the bacteria that can build up on dirty dishes. Although soap doesn't kill this potentially problematic bacteria, Joy Phillips, Ph.D., research assistant and professor of immunology at San Diego State University, explained to Insider that it can separate the ickiness from the dish so that the water you're using can take over and drag everything down the drain.

Fortunately, there are ways to make your dish soap last longer and stay as effective as possible for as long as possible. You might also be wondering what you should do with dish soap that has gone bad and what kind may last longer than others.

Some dish soaps expire faster

It seems like new and improved cleaning products hit the shelves every day. However, when it comes to dish soap, you can rely on a few main types, including liquid and powder detergent as well as pods and tablets. Although the latter two are popular choices, one happens to maintain its effectiveness for quite a bit longer.

While you can usually rely on tablets for around a year and a half, detergent pods, in general, have a shorter shelf life, with some showing signs of decline in as short as six months. At that point, the liquid dish soap can begin to seep through the pod's casing, which will weaken as the exterior surface breaks down and erodes. Leaving the liquid uncovered exposes it to air, which can affect how well it works.

This is also why soap tablets can expire faster if left out or stored in an unsealed container or package. The powdered dish soap isn't able to keep itself together and begins to break apart, making it less effective. These are just some of the considerations you should weigh when buying dish soap in bulk.

Of course, if you want to keep your dish soap from expiring too soon, then you can take a few simple steps to do just that.

Expand dish soap's lifespan before getting rid of old stuff

You can ensure that you get the most out of your dish soap by giving it the necessary TLC. Although that may sound like a lot, all you really need to do is store it properly. If you prefer to use a liquid or powdered product, then you definitely want to keep it in a jar or bottle that won't let in too much air, according to Nancy Bock of the American Cleaning Institute (via The Kitchn).

If stored without a lid, the air can weaken the cleaning product's formula. On top of that, you shouldn't keep soap under your sink despite it being a convenient spot. Instead, you want to opt for a place that will stay dry, won't get too humid, and doesn't get excessively hot or cold.

If your dish soap has expired and you don't want to use it, you can simply squeeze it all into your sink and let it wash down the drain just like it would if you were doing your dishes. Per Bock, "Powders should be disposed of in small quantities at a time so they don't form lumps in the drain. And remember — just as you shouldn't mix cleaning products together when using them, you shouldn't mix unused products during disposal."

Just like most things, when it comes to dish soap, it's surely better to be safe than sorry.