Does Isopropyl Alcohol Expire?

Yes, once opened Isopropyl alcohol starts losing its effectiveness but it doesn’t actually go bad.  In most cases, we use isopropyl alcohol as a natural household disinfectant that can be used for cleaning and disinfecting purposes. It comes in a diluted 99 % solution. Isopropyl alcohol does not expire, but the stored isopropyl alcohol can lose its effectiveness over time. 

The expiration date on your bottle of isopropyl alcohol is there to inform you when it was produced, not when it should be discarded. However, if you have had the bottle of rubbing alcohol for a while and are unsure if it is still effective, it may be best to replace it.

In general, isopropyl alcohol has a shelf life of one year in most healthcare settings; however, this can vary depending on where and how it is stored. If you are unsure about the age or effectiveness of your bottle of rubbing alcohol, and have other related doubts over it then stop worrying about it. In this article, I am sharing some important information about the expiration of isopropyl alcohol along with some additional associated information. 

5 Warning Signs That Your Isopropyl Alcohol Gone Bad

does isopropyl alcohol expire

As the isopropyl alcohol gets older, its chemical structure begins to break down and it begins to evaporate over time. This evaporation process happens faster in areas with higher humidity and water levels in the air. So it is very important to look for the signs that can tell if the isopropyl alcohol has gone bad, 5 important warning signs are:-

1. Change in appearance 

Isopropyl alcohol has a water-like appearance and if it shows cloudiness then it is an indication that it has gone bad and you should not use it. 

2. Change in odor

If you find any changes in the smell of isopropyl alcohol then it has gone bad. 

3. Change in volume

If the volume of the alcohol is reduced then consider it as well as a warning sign. If you notice any of these signs then it’s time to toss out your bottle and buy a new one.

4. Thickening of the liquid

If you observe any change in the consistency of the rubbing alcohol then you should take it as a warning sign.

5. Change in color

The color change is an indicator of chemical change and if you find any color change then it shows that the chemical reactions have taken place and the alcohol is now not good for use. 

Tips To Store Isopropyl Alcohol

does isopropyl alcohol expire

As it is an inflammation chemical, we should store it properly so now, let us discuss some tips to store isopropyl alcohol:-

  • Isopropyl alcohol should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from ignition sources like heat, sparks, and flames.
  • Industry-standard versions of isopropyl alcohol are flammable, so always take precautions when using it and store it away from high temperatures.
  • Ethanol alcohol should also not be stored with isopropyl alcohol, as it can react and create a dangerous environment.
  • To ensure the safety of the environment, it is always best practice to store any flammable liquid in a closed container, away from heat sources or open flames.
  • Isopropyl alcohol should be kept in a safe place, out of reach of pets and children., 

If not stored properly, isopropyl alcohol can even cause fire and as we know that environmental impact of fires can be devastating, so it is best to take all necessary precautions when using isopropyl alcohol. By following the above steps you can help ensure that the risk of fires due to stored isopropyl alcohol is minimal. 

What Happens If You Use Expired Isopropyl Alcohol?

If you leave old alcohol out for an extended period, it will expire and be dangerous to use. Isopropyl alcohol is much more toxic than ethanol but less toxic than many other types of toxic alcohol. – If it is ingested, it can cause extreme alcohol toxicity and even death.

In some cases, it can cause a person to experience a blackout or other severe mental effects. If ingested, isopropyl alcohol will enter the bloodstream faster than ethanol and requires emergency treatment to prevent serious consequences. (reference 1) 

Pouring expired isopropyl alcohol down the sink can be dangerous, as the isopropyl alcohol can contaminate your water supply. You should never expose old isopropyl alcohol to direct sunlight, as this can cause it to break down faster.

Isopropyl alcohol is a household disinfectant and cleaner, but if it’s expired, it’s no longer effective in killing germs or cleaning surfaces. Whereas hand sanitizers are made with denatured ethanol, rubbing alcohol solutions typically contain isopropyl alcohol, water, and other components. When an expired rubbing alcohol solution is used for cleaning and disinfecting purposes, its effectiveness tends to diminish.

This happens because the key difference between the solution before and after its expiration date is the concentration of isopropyl alcohol in it. The expiration date shows when the solution’s effectiveness starts to decrease and it’s best to discard it after that date. 

Some Interesting Facts About The Isopropyl Alcohol

does isopropyl alcohol expire

So now, have a look at some more information about isopropyl alcohol and associated facts. 

  • Isopropyl alcohol, also known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol, is an inexpensive solvent that is used in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products. It is often found in aftershave lotions, hair and skin care products, and other cosmetics such as eye and makeup products.
  • Isopropyl alcohol is also used by hospitals for surgical hand scrubs and other medical purposes.
  • It can be denatured to make ethanol for use in drugs, shellacs, cars, and cosmetics such as lotions and bath products. Inhaling the fumes of isopropyl alcohol can have an anaesthetic effect on the body.
  • The industry uses isopropyl alcohol to manufacture several items from automotive parts to pharmaceuticals. (Reference 2)


Q1. Does isopropyl alcohol expire if not opened?
Ans. No, if isopropyl alcohol is not opened, it doesn’t go bad. 

Q2. How long is 70 isopropyl alcohol good for?
Ans. 70 isopropyl alcohol is good for 2-3 years. 

Q3. What happens when alcohol expires?
Ans. When alcohol expires it starts losing its flavor and starts evaporating. 


Our mission is to provide accurate and researched insights to our readers. Thus, we wish to share the references of the studies conducted on the subject matter for detailed read for our readers to refer: 

  1. Isopropyl alcohol poisoning
  2. Efficacy and effectiveness of alcohol in the disinfection:

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