Does Vaseline Expire? (Fully Explained)

Petroleum jelly is commonly known as vaseline, and it has many benefits, but does vaseline expire? Vaseline is used for various purposes. It can be used as a moisturizer for dry skin, lube for stuck objects, heal diaper rash, burns, and scars. It can also be used for healing your pet’s injuries such as a paw.

It has become versatile, and you will find it in almost every home for daily use. But the question here is that does Vaseline expires or go bad?

This question is very important to address because most of the time, the product is many days old when you desire to use it.

So it should be known that it is expired or can be used. The answer to this question is simply yes.

But the amazing thing is that it can last long for many years as compared to any other cosmetic product. It is best to use it within three years, but sometimes it can stay up to ten years even after it has been opened.

However, you can also extend its life by some considerations. Such as never sticking your fingers into the product because it can cause harmful bacteria or fungi to proliferate and ultimately destroy your product.

Also, if you are in doubt about Vaseline, then it is better not to use it as it is easily replaceable because of being cheap.

The oily consistency of the jelly may be an indication that your product is expired or maybe at the edge of expiry.

Does Vaseline Expire?

Why Use Vaseline?

Why Use Vaseline

Vaseline has a long shelf life, and its characteristics do not change even after ten years. Now, the manufacturing companies have started to add an expiry date on the product which is a minimum of three years.

This is because the manufacturers such as Unilever want safety at every cost so they mention it. However, you will find that some of the petroleum jelly products have mentioned expiry dates over them while others do not.

It is because petroleum jelly is considered a cosmetic product, and cosmetic products aren’t required by law to have an expiration date.

So don’t panic if you find a product without an expiry date mentioned over it. It does not expire easily because there are no active ingredients in it to get expired.

The only backlash you will face is that it will lose its productivity with time. It is made by hydrocarbons that degrade slowly, giving it increased shelf life.

The change in color, smell, and consistency are the best indicators, and it is best to discard it after observation.

If your product also contains other ingredients then you should read the description before use. If it is 100% petroleum jelly then you can use it without any fear.

How Long Can You Keep Vaseline After Opening It?

How Long Can You Keep Vaseline After Opening It

The tub of petroleum jelly has increased shelf life.

There is the presence of hydrocarbons in petroleum jelly jars and the absence of any active ingredients in them.

Does vaseline expire? It does not spoil easily. However, you can also increase its shelf life. Always store it in a cold place for increasing shelf life.

Don’t put your fingertips in the product because it can be a source of the proliferation of bacteria and fungi in it.

The product itself does not have an ingredient that can promote bacterial growth, but external factors can encourage the process.

Some of the bacteria can survive in the jar after getting nutrients and moisture from your fingertips. Also, it can’t stay for long but if you can your family is using it repeatedly then it can enhance the spoilage process.

The best way is to take out the required about with the help of a clean spoon. The contaminated product can cause infection on your skin.

Technically the expired product is not dangerous because it does not have any pharmaceutical properties. It does not have any drugs or chemicals that can harm you after getting expired.

Even if your Vaseline jar has expired according to the mentioned date over it but it smells good and the color is fine then you can easily use it.

But again it depends that for which purpose you are going to use it. Like if you want to use it as a moisturizer or for sensitive skin then it is better to discard it.

It does not mean that you should discard jars anyways because they lose effectiveness over time and there is a risk of infection.

You can use them for any other purpose at the home. For example, a drop of jelly can clean the coffee stain from your cloth.

It can also be used as a slug repellent, mix it with salt, and put on any crack around your house. It can also protect you against chafing if you are a sports player.

How Long Can you Keep Closed Vaseline?

You can keep closed Vaseline for a long time. There are no active ingredients in it to get spoil easily. Unopened Vaseline can sometimes even stay up to ten years.

There are some of the factors that can promote its spoilage such as if you keep your fingers in the product then the cells from your fingers can provide nutrients or moisture for bacterial growth causing infection in it.

But if it is a sealed pack then there are very low chances to get spoiled because petroleum jelly does not have any active ingredients to provide nutrients to the bacteria for their growth.

Now the manufacturers mention date over the product like “best before”. Even if your product has been expired according to the mentioned date but smells good then it can be used easily.

You should avoid leaving the jar open and especially in the room having a window because it can cause bacterial contamination in it.

Moisturizer lotion of the petroleum jelly lasts up to three years and should not be used after that because these are skincare products and can harm your skin in the form of skin infection. Therefore, don’t worry too much by asking yourself “does vaseline expire” as it does it very slowly. 

What Is Vaseline Made Of?

What Is Vaseline Made Of

In 1859, Robert Augustus Chesebrough discovered petroleum jelly. He discovered it while noticing that workers use gooey jelly-like substances for the healing of wounds and getting a cure.

Originally it was known as Wonder Jelly,” which is a mixture of waxes and mineral oils. He was a young chemist who began to study road wax.

He studied and refined it and after that, he came up with a transparent substance to which we know as Vaseline or petroleum jelly.

It is known as petroleum, a mixture of mineral oils and waxes. It forms a semi-solid jelly-like substance. Does vaseline expire? As we’ve discussed it is made of petroleum so it expires very slowly.

This product has not changed much from the tie it was discovered by Robert Augustus Chesebrough.

The main ingredient of Vaseline is petroleum which helps in healing via sealing your skin and acts as a water barrier. It retains moisturizer and helps in the healing of the wound.

What Is Petroleum Jelly?

Petroleum jelly is a kind of moisturizer. It is sold under the name vaseline but there are other brands as well and there really isn’t any difference between the brands. Unilever is the company name that makes this product.

Many have claimed that they only use the highest quality ingredients for manufacturing and a special purification and filtration process to get the end product.

You can note differences between Vaseline and other brands for example the thickness, fragrance, and consistency are different for different brands. However, there is no difference in the products regarding their safety.

The best solution is that you should read the description of the product and make sure that it should be 100% petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is made up of hydrocarbons therefore the answer to the question “does vaseline expire?” is mostly no.

How Was Petroleum Jelly Used Initially?

Initially, it had medicinal properties and then consumers began to use it for cosmetic purposes and many ailments including toenail fungus, non-std genital rash, nosebleeds, diaper rash, and common colds.

The melting point of vaseline is 40C to 70C. When we heat it, it converts into liquid.

Its fumes are flammable not the original product. That is why we need small twigs, bark, and leaves for the ignition of petroleum jelly. It is colorless, translucent, and tasteless when it is pure.

But if there is an addition of some of the flavors or colors in it then it will have a specific fragrance or color. By exposing it to the air it does not get oxidized also not readily acted on by chemical reagents.

Vaseline or petroleum jelly doesn’t go well with water, like oil, meaning it is not soluble.

It has a semi-solid consistency and can retain its definite shape at room temperature but at high temperature, it changes into a liquid. Petroleum jelly can have different grades such as B, P, or USP. It has many medicinal and personal-care applications.

It acts as an antibacterial agent due to whom petroleum jelly called red veterinary petrolatum, or Red Vet Pet for short, was included in the medical kit of the warriors during World War II.

As a sunscreen, it is also used as a protection of the skin against UV rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should keep your skin moist with petroleum jelly to prevent scarring.

After laser skin resurfacing treatment, it retains moisture in the skin of a patient in the initial post-operative period. In 1994, there was a report published in which it was recommended that do not use it inside your nose because of the fear of lipid pneumonia, but it was only reported in one patient. 

However, it is widely used by otolaryngologists—ear, nose, and throat surgeons to combat nasal problems.

Is Vaseline Eco Friendly?

Is Vaseline Eco Friendly

Unfortunately, it is bad for the environment because it is not biodegradable. This also answers your “does vaseline expire” question because of the fact that vaseline is made by oil refining.

It is made with hazardous compounds that if these compounds leach into the soil it will be harmful to the plants or the rest of the life.

A slightly safer compound that we form after the breakdown of the petroleum is rubbing alcohol. But even this compound can be hazardous for human life. It can’t be recycled also because it is a semi-solid inconsistency.

It is impossible to break down the petroleum jelly so that we can use it for making any other compound.

You can’t dispose of it as other trash because the hazardous chemicals can affect the environment. You should not dispose of it openly rather its lid should be attached with it.

As long as its lid is attached, it will not affect our environment. It is also causing climate change because a hazardous waste, acid rain, and air pollution are all the results of these compounds.

Alternatives To Petroleum Jelly

There are several eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum jelly such as Waxelene, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Jojoba Oil, etc. Though these items expire as they are organic and the answer to your ” does vaseline expire” question is mostly no.

All of these products are made from beans, shrubs, butter, etc. But can be used as an alternative to petroleum jelly because of is eco-friendly and less hazardous to the environment

Conclusion On Does Vaseline Expire

We had a detailed discussion on the composition, physical or chemical properties of Vaseline and “does vaseline expire”. Vaseline is a brand like many, of a product called petroleum jelly.

It can be used for various purposes and one of the distinctive properties is its medical use.

However, petroleum jelly is hazardous for the environment so there are several alternatives present in the market for petroleum jelly so that we can avoid the harm as much as we can.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you did, also check out some of our other articles such as “chiclet teeth“, “Concealer Vs Foundation“, and “What does it mean when you see a shooting star?


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We are GoldenTurtle. We aim to answer all queries about decorating walls and doing DIY guides on hanging things on the wall.

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