does hydrogen peroxide expire

Why Hydrogen Peroxide Expires

Does Hydrogen peroxide expire? Why? And can you use expired hydrogen peroxide? These are the questions I will answer in this article.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Expire?

Hydrogen peroxide expires after 36 months if it is kept in its sealed container without being opened. Its shelf life, just like other related chemicals and household items drops once it is open. 

Since hydrogen peroxide comprises of water and an unstable form of oxygen, expiry of the chemical occurs when the oxygen evaporates leaving water behind.

Pouring hydrogen peroxide on a surface leads to production of a fizz; however, if you do not notice any form of fizz, this indicates that your hydrogen peroxide has lost its potency. In that case, it will no longer be useful in cleaning your surfaces.

Shelf life of unopened hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide in a concentration of 3 percent is primarily used as a disinfectant, and it has a shelf life of 12 months, with the ability to last for up to three years if left unopened after opening. 

The acidity of the chemical a weak one, and if the container is kept tightly closed, it will retain its full strength for a longer amount of time.

Shelf life of opened hydrogen peroxide

Once you have opened the container or bottle of hydrogen peroxide, its potency will only endure for 30 to 45 days, with a practical shelf life of approximately 6 months.

How hydrogen peroxide expires?

Because the hydrogen peroxide molecule is unstable, extra oxygen atoms combine to generate O2 molecules, which displaces the water molecule.

This dissociation begins when the hydrogen peroxide is created, and it continues on the shelf and throughout use until the hydrogen peroxide is reduced to simply water in the bottle.

The reaction that occurs when hydrogen peroxide is introduced to air is as follows:

shelf life of hydrogen peroxide

After hydrogen peroxide is exposed to air, a chemical reaction begins, and the hydrogen peroxide reacts with the oxygen in the air, resulting in the formation of water, and the liquid hydrogen peroxide is transformed into simple water.

The result of this is that it loses its usefulness and effectiveness with time, and this occurs more quickly when the substance is contaminated, exposed to bright light, held at a higher temperature, or is agitated (as opposed to being stored at a lower temperature).

These are the reasons why hydrogen peroxide is stored in darker containers.

Can I use Expired hydrogen peroxide?

You should not use expired hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizing agent that has a shelf life of 12 months – 36 months if kept in its original container. While it is possible to use an unopened container of Hydrogen peroxide that has been expired for one year, the efficacy of this chemical cannot be guaranteed after that time period.

It may or may not have the desired effect on the individual who uses it.

However, if you have an opened bottle of Hydrogen peroxide that has been opened for a lengthy period of time (more than 6 months), it will almost certainly not have any impact because, after 6 months, opened Hydrogen peroxide will be changed into pain water and will be useless.

Because a bottle of Hydrogen peroxide is generally quite cheap, you should dispose of any previous expired bottles and replace them with new ones as needed as they become available.

The container of hydrogen peroxide should only be opened when it is time to utilize it, and not before that point.

Hydrogen peroxide that has expired is neither hazardous nor injurious, although it loses its power after a few days if it has been opened.

Effects of using expired hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide that has expired will almost definitely be less effective or completely ineffective, but it is not dangerous and should not have any adverse consequences.

In other words, once hydrogen peroxide has expired, its antibacterial capabilities will be lost, and the results will be the same as if you were simply using water.

How to know if hydrogen peroxide is still good?

If you have an expired bottle of Hydrogen peroxide in your closet and are unsure of its potency, you can do a short test to see whether or not the chemical is still useful.

The Bubble Test requires simple steps:

  1. Pour small amounts of hydrogen peroxide in your sink
  2. If it is still in its potent condition, it will begin to produce bubbles.
  3. In the event that you do not obtain any fizz or bubbles, your Hydrogen peroxide is simply a bottle of ordinary water. Replace it.
  4. It is not recommended to transfer hydrogen peroxide into another clean container because the presence of air during this transfer will reduce its efficacy.
  5. It should be stored in a cold environment because heat can accelerate chemical reactions that may result in the degradation of Hydrogen peroxide, reducing its shelf life.
  6. This bottle should be kept away from direct sunlight since light might react with peroxide and cause it to disintegrate.

Test using your eyes:

  1. Visual inspection of the bottle of hydrogen peroxide can be used to determine its expiration date. If the bottle of Hydrogen peroxide is bloated, it has reached the end of its life.
  2. If hydrogen peroxide appears bloated, it has probably decomposed within the bottle and expired.

Caution when using Hydrogen Peroxide

It is recommended that you avoid dipping your finger or any other swab into the container of Hydrogen peroxide because doing so may lower the potency of the chemical and its efficiency may be compromised.

Hydrogen peroxide should have a concentration of 3 percent when used as a disinfectant, and anything higher than 8 percent is corrosive to the skin.

Consequently, if you have a bottle of Hydrogen peroxide that has been sitting about for a long time, you should consider replacing it because it may no longer be effective.