Does Cologne Expire? [How To Tell 2022]

You will agree with me when I say, 

Sometimes, it’s very hard to tell if the Cologne has actually expired or not. Being an expert on this topic, I decided to create a short and easy guide to help you out in this matter

Does cologne expire?

Now cologne doesn’t expire in the same way as food does but it can go bad. This is because it contains oils of flowers or fruits in its composition to give it a pleasant scent, these things are organic, and organic items have a tendency to expire over the years. You can prevent your cologne from expiring by storing it properly and keeping it away from heat. The expiration date of a cologne also depends on the quality it.  You should preferably bring the cologne into use before the bottle expires. 

Can you wear old cologne?

Now there is no harm in wearing vintage colognes however if it’s expired it can be very harmful. For this purpose, make sure to check if it has gone bad before using old colognes. Although colognes that have gone bad can be bad for your skin there are different ways from which you can recycle colognes bottles or even bad cologne as long as it doesn’t have an unpleasant smell.

Learn more: Which one is the best Perfume vs Cologne.

So does a Cologne actually Expire?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in regards to fragrances and perfumes and the answer is simple? 

But the amount of time it lasts completely depends on its composition. Some colognes expire in less than a year, some last for more than ten years. Sometimes old and bad cologne can also irritate your skin. However, you can’t just drain bad cologne down your sink either. It needs to be properly handled and effectively removed. 

How to tell if your cologne has expired:

The following are some of the ways from which you can detect if your cologne has expired.

1. Change in its fragrance.

This is one of the simplest and most obvious ways to tell if your cologne has expired. Smell the cologne to check if the odor has changed or if the cologne is giving an unpleasant smell. If the cologne is oil-based it will give a smell similar to that of vinegar.

2. Change in color.

This is also a simple way to see if your cologne has gone bad. Check to see if the color of the cologne has changed. Mostly colognes that have expired tend to have a darker color than before this usually happens with alcohol-based colognes.

3. Change in quantity.

Alcohol-based colognes may significantly reduce in quantity. This is due to the reason that alcohol has evaporated from their concentration.

4. Check the packaging.

Carefully check the packaging of the cologne and look for an expiration date, these are usually given at the bottom of the bottle. If you can’t find the expiration date look for a PAO number or a batch code. These usually indicate when and where the cologne was made and for how long you can use it.  Sometimes these numbers can be very confusing so make sure to look for the correct digits.

How long does cologne last for?

The expiration date of a cologne depends upon its composition some last for less than a year some last for more than ten years but the average shelf life of cologne is three to five years.

If the cologne is unopened it lasts for more time compared to a used bottle.  Some colognes are also oil-based and hence they have a longer shelf life than alcohol-based perfumes. Oil-based colognes also last for more time on your body some even last for 8 to 10 hours.

How to prevent Cologne from going bad:

When we answered  the ever-impending question “does cologne expire?” We came to the conclusion that cologne goes bad but we can extend its expiration date by following these steps.

  • Keep away from heat 

Heat is one of the biggest factors that come into play when it comes to the expiry of colognes. It tends to change the composition of it and hence it loses its fragrance. If your cologne is stored in a plastic bottle heat may cause the plastic to melt and seep into the cologne which destroys its composition.

 Colored bottles tend to prevent heat. 

Sunlight can also cause the cologne to go bad and change its composition or color.

  • Keep in a closet or drawer

Now it may seem common sense to store the cologne in a refrigerator but that would be incorrect. You will have to take it out to use it and that kind of change in temperature can cause its composition to change as well. It is best to store your cologne in a closet or drawer.

Don’ t change the container:

Never change the container of the cologne to keep heat away from it. 

Colognes are usually sold in glass or decorative containers these types of containers are best for storing colognes as they are airtight and prevent air from entering the bottle. The process of changing the bottle of your cologne can cause it to be exposed to different gasses in the air and hence change its composition.

Don’ t save the cologne for a special occasion.

Now we know the answer to the question does cologne expire (the answer is that it most certainly does if you’ve missed it). Which is why we recommend you need to frequently use the cologne so that it doesn’t expire and go to waste completely. 


In this article, we have answered the most frequently asked question does cologne expire. Cologne does expire it normally has a  shelf life of three to five years. 

You should never use an expired cologne it can cause irritation on your skin and allergic reactions. 

When your cologne expires properly dispose of it.

Make sure to check the expiration date of the cologne before using it. Follow the steps given above to prevent it from expiring. Buy a good quality cologne as it will require minimum maintenance but keep it away from heat.

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