Does Cologne Expire Or Go Bad [Yes or NO]

Do you have the habit of purchasing a lot of fragrances but end up using only your favorite ones? Well, then you are not the only one. Once in a blue moon, we get back to our collection and wonder if our colognes have expired. In this article, we will share with you information about colognes like does cologne expires, or does colognes go bad.

If you own a plethora of fragrances, you may have noticed that their fragrance potency fades over time. This may be the sign that your cologne is going to expire soon. However, there are several ways in which you can increase the lifespan of your cologne, and we will be discussing that in this article later on. 

How Long Does Cologne Last?

The typical shelf life of cologne is anywhere between three to five years. However, it again depends upon the brand and the manufacturers, so do check out the labels. Cologne does not go bad in the same sense as food, so it is okay to keep using the bottle for a longer period. 

Experts have confirmed that although colognes have a shelf life, there is no hard and fast rule. Later in this article, we have listed some tips that you can use to make your cologne last longer. 

Does Cologne Expire?

Yes, cologne does go bad and this depends upon the scent’s chemical composition. Some cologne expires in less than a year whereas some can last up to even 10 years. However, the average shelf life of most of the cologne is three to five years, as already mentioned above. 

According to experts, the cologne that has heavier base notes can last the longest. They compare such colognes to a fine wine that gets better with age. Examples of colognes with heavier base notes include oriental scents, like those with amber and patchouli. 

Citrus ORANGE BLOSSOM PERFUME, green, and floral colognes do not last long because of their lighter base notes. The solution of colognes with lighter base notes is often volatile. 

How long a bottle of cologne lasts also depends upon the way you store them. Colognes that are stored properly will last even longer than the ones that are not. 

Ways To Check The Expiry Of Your Cologne

Sometimes you may have not touched your cologne for years and now, you are feeling a little unsafe to use. Well, before trying to use it again, check out the points below to find out if your cologne has already expired or not:

  • See how the cologne looks: If you see any change in the color of your cologne, then it might be the sign of its expiry. The cologne that has gone bad appears darker in color than it was in the beginning. 

You can also check the volume of your cologne in the bottle to identify the expiry of your cologne. The cologne that is expired will have less perfume in the bottle because due to high alcohol content, it evaporates over time. 

  • Test how it smells: The most common way to check the expiry of a cologne is to smell it. Common signs are cologne smelling sour like vinegar or a change in the concentration of the original scent. The cologne goes bad when its smell changes from the one you started with. 

  • Checking the expiry date: If you don’t trust your senses, then there is another foolproof way of checking the expiry of your cologne i.e. checking the expiration date. you can see the expiry date on the packaging of the product. It comes either in the form of a PAO number or batch code. You can find these normally on the bottom of your cologne bottle or on the box it comes with. 


  • Alcohol-free and clean fragrances
  • Oil-based colognes
  • Fragrances with citrus notes


  • Scents that contain high alcohol content
  • Colognes with amber, woody, and leather notes


  1. Keep the cologne away from heat: Heat can break down the fragrance molecules, which can change its chemical composition. Therefore, try to keep your cologne below 59 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius. 
  1. Store it in closed cupboards: Bathrooms are not ideal places to keep colognes as it is installed with water pipes and contain heat or humidity. Therefore, try to keep them in a vanity that is away from the direct sunlight.
  2. Keep it away from light: Although it may sound cool to place your colognes on the window sill, let me tell you that it is a bad place to store fragrance. Light breaks down the fragrance molecules, which changes its chemical composition and makes it prone to oxidation.
  1. Use it until the bottle is empty: Once the bottle is open, the fragrance will expire because the oxygen gets into the formula. That is why a simple way of making the most out of your favorite and expensive colognes is to simply keep using them until they get empty. Do not just bring 100 fragrances altogether.
  1. Try to store it in a chill place: Storing fragrances in the fridge is a good option but not when your family constantly keeps opening it, which allows the light to enter the fridge. However, you can wrap your cologne with aluminum foil or better keep it in the freezer. Do not worry, your cologne will not freeze due to the presence of high alcohol content in it. 


Sometimes you don’t feel like throwing your expired colognes. So here are some ways in which you make use of them: 

  • Use them to remove nail paint:  Perfumes contain alcohol content and help in breaking down the molecules of nail paint. By doing this, the nail polish easily loses its color and comes off. If you are running out of your nail paint remover, simply try this technique to remove your nail polish. 
  • Cleaning mirrors: Grab any of your expired cologne and spray it on your dirty mirror. Then clean it with a wet towel. This helps in cleaning the mirror effectively without leaving any streaks or stains behind. It is a great replacement for bleach and glass cleaners. 
  • Cleaning keyboards: Thanks to the presence of alcohol in colognes they can also be efficiently used in cleaning keyboards. Alcohol content helps in removing dirt from the keyboard and works similarly to the keyboard solution. 


Now that you have all the information regarding does cologne expire, don’t forget to check the expiration dates before you purchase any cologne. Comment down below and let us know your favorite technique of storing colognes to make them last longer.

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