can vaseline go bad?

Does Vaseline Expire or Go Bad?

Unlock unending Shine-Does Your Vaseline Expire or Go Bad? Indulge into timeless skincare with Vaseline – no expiry, just radiant benefits! Learn how to keep it fresh and your skin glowing. Your beauty and skin deserve the best and with Vaseline, there’s is no expiration on that Shine with Glow.

What is Vaseline?

Vaseline is a brand name for petroleum jelly, a substance derived from petroleum extraction and oil refining. It is composed primarily of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules, giving Vaseline a semi-solid waxy texture. So, what do you think Does Vaseline Expire or Go Bad?

Does Vaseline Expire or Go Bad?

The original Vaseline jelly was developed in 1859 by chemist Robert Chesebrough after he observed oil workers applying residual “rod wax” from drilling to their injuries. Chesebrough patented a process to gelatinize the petroleum byproduct into a stable, thick substance.

Vaseline petroleum jelly is often used:

  • As a moisturizer and protectant for dry, cracked skin
  • To help heal minor cuts, burns, rashes
  • As chapstick for chapped lips
  • To remove makeup
  • For temporary Lubrication of sticky surfaces

The signature tin tube container Vaseline became an iconic symbol of the product’s versatility and affordability as a remedy for various household needs.

Does Vaseline Expire or Go Bad?

So, do you think that Vaseline or this jelly-like petroleum can expire?

While petroleum jelly/ Vaseline itself does not have an expiration date, Vaseline jars list a recommended 3-year shelf life. However, this is not a firm expiration or safety cutoff but it can be bad in rare cases.

Meanwhile, the reason Vaseline containers note an expiry timeline is more for quality control and consumer notice purposes. Legally, the FDA does not require cosmetic products to display expiration dates the way food and drugs do.

Vaseline petroleum jelly can last significantly longer than 3 years when stored properly. The product contains no water, which means there is no risk of bacteria or mould growing in an unopened container.

The mineral oils and waxes comprising petroleum jelly also have very long shelf lives. There are no “active ingredients” that degrade over time. An unopened tub of pure Vaseline has the potential to remain intact essentially indefinitely with no safety issues.

Once opened, Vaseline is still extremely stable but becomes more susceptible to contamination. Dipping fingers into the jelly can introduce dirt, moisture, and germs. It is ideal to replace opened jars after 3 years as a precaution.

Top 6 Signs If Your Vaseline Has Gone Bad Or Expire:

What happens if you find Vaseline bad or something like expires? Although an unopened Vaseline jar can technically last forever, once it has been opened, the contents may eventually show signs of expiration.

Here are some following red flags that indicate your Vaseline petroleum jelly may go Bad and expire:

  • Colour change – Fresh Vaseline is a pale yellow colour. If the jelly appears darker or orange-tinged, it could be expired.
  • Grainy or frothy texture – Vaseline is smooth with a creamy, wax-like consistency when fresh. If it becomes grainy or develops bubbles, toss it.
  • Strange or unpleasant smell – Newly opened Vaseline has little to no scent. Foul scents like sulfur indicate contamination.
  • Dryness or shrinking – Vaseline evaporates slowly over time after opening, becoming dried out or shrunken.
  • A layer of oil – Expired petroleum jelly may start “sweating” droplets of oil that pool on the surface.
  • Decay– Rare but possible if a lot of moisture contaminated an opened jar. Appears as fuzzy spots.

If you notice any of the above signs, it is best to discard your Vaseline instead of risking using the corrupted product. Always inspect product condition before use.

Despite these potential changes, Vaseline is generally safe to use unless there are clear signs of spoilage, such as an unpleasant scent. If you’re ever in doubt about the condition of your Vaseline, it might be a good idea to replace it with a fresh jar.

Proper Storage for Freshness of Vaseline:

If you want to get the most out of a jar of Vaseline, it must be stored appropriately to maintain quality. Here are some tips for keeping your petroleum jelly in optimal condition:

  • Store the jelly at room temperature away from heat sources like stoves or radiators that could melt it.
  • Keep the lid screwed on tight when not in use to prevent air exposure and contamination from debris.
  • Do not store Vaseline in humid environments like the bathroom shower. Moisture causes quicker degradation.
  • Keep away from direct sunlight, which can impact product integrity and cause discolouration over time.
  • Consider transferring some jelly into a smaller sealed container if you will need more time to finish a large jar. This minimizes air contact.
  • Never put fingers into the main Vaseline jar to avoid transferring dirt and bacteria. Use a clean utensil instead.
  • Check that the inner plastic seal is intact before first opening a new Vaseline container.

Following proper storage methods allows Vaseline to retain its expected shelf life. And remember to watch for any signs of expiration after opening.

What Happens If You Use An Expired Vaseline?

If Vaseline Get Expired Or Go Bad

There are no safety issues with using expired Vaseline or petroleum jelly when applied topically. It does not become toxic or dangerous as it ages.

The main concern is reduced effectiveness. Vaseline can evaporate and become drier over time after opening. Older jelly may offer less skin protection or moisturizing ability.

Using contaminated expired Vaseline could potentially lead to skin irritation or infection if bacteria is present. But purified petroleum jelly itself does not harbour pathogens or microbes thanks to the refining process.

While not ideal for skin care once it has sat for years, Vaseline will still work fine for household lubricating tasks even after expiring. It can be used to grease door hinges, lubricate tools and other metal objects, and protect wood’s finish.

So go ahead and use that ancient tin of Vaseline leftover from the 1990s to oil squeaky furniture joints – just don’t put it on your face!

Subtle Transformations:
Over time, Vaseline may undergo subtle changes. Elements such as exposure to air and temperature variations can influence its texture and fragrance. It’s a graceful evolution rather than a rapid expiration. The consistency might become a touch firmer or grainier journey through time

Alternatives Once Vaseline Expires Or Go Bad:

bes alternatives to vaseline

When your decades-old Vaseline finally needs to be retired, there are some suitable alternatives both in the medicine cabinet and around the house:


For Lubrication

  • Baby oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Candle wax
  • Bar soap shavings
  • Beeswax
  • Vegetable shortening

Protecting Metals

  • Mineral oil
  • Silicone-based lubricants
  • Beeswax paste
  • Unscented chapstick

For Wood Finish

  • Mineral oil
  • Olive oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Vegetable oils
  • Beeswax wood conditioner

When to Replace Your Vaseline

Here are some good rules of thumb on when it makes sense to discard old Vaseline and get a fresh jar:

  • Past the 3-year recommended shelf life after opening
  • Noticeable changes in smell, texture, or appearance

When did you originally buy it?

  • Stored in hot, humid environments like bathrooms
  • Used frequently with dirty hands over time

The inner plastic seal was already broken before the first use.

Keeping an eye on your particular Vaseline jar and being aware of signs it may need replacement will ensure you get the highest quality product each time.


While Vaseline or petroleum jelly does not actually expire, it can degrade in quality and risk contamination after opening. Storing it properly helps maximize shelf life for up to 3-5 years. Being aware of any changes in smell, texture, and appearance allows you to spot when it is time to replace an old jar. With proper storage, Vaseline can remain effective and safe for your household needs for many years.


Does Vaseline go bad if left open?

An opened jar of Vaseline has a higher risk of contamination and quality degradation over time. It’s ideal to replace opened petroleum jelly containers after 3 years as a precaution.

Is it OK to use Vaseline after the expiration date?

While not ideal for skin care, technically, you can still safely use expired Vaseline for purposes like lubricating household objects. But replace very old jars for topical skin application to avoid irritation.

Can I still use expired Vaseline?

While Vaseline or petroleum jelly does not expire, it can degrade in quality and risk contamination after opening. Storing it properly helps maximize shelf life for up to 3-5 years.

How can you tell if Vaseline has gone bad?

Look for changes in colour, texture, smell, or moisture levels. Graininess, foul odours, dryness, and layering are signs petroleum jelly has likely expired and should be discarded.

Can old Vaseline hurt you?

On its own, expired Vaseline is not harmful or toxic. But very old, contaminated jars may harbour bacteria that could potentially cause skin infection if applied topically, especially on compromised skin.

Can you get sick from using old Vaseline?

On its own, expired Vaseline is not toxic and cannot directly make you sick. However, using very old Vaseline contaminated with bacteria or mould can potentially cause skin infections.

Does Vaseline expire if unopened?

An unopened container of pure Vaseline petroleum jelly can last indefinitely with proper storage since there are no active ingredients to break down over time. The expiry date is more relevant once it is opened.

What do you think does Vaseline Expire or Go Bad?

Vaseline, in general, doesn’t have a strict expiration date. While it may undergo subtle changes in texture and fragrance over time, it doesn’t necessarily go bad. Proper storage practices, such as keeping it in a cool, dry place and sealing the container, can help maintain its quality. If you notice significant changes like an unusual smell or color, it might be time to replace it. Overall, with proper care, Vaseline remains a reliable and enduring product.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Verified by MonsterInsights