How Long Does Fabric Softener Last?

How Long Does Fabric Softener Last
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When we ask how long does fabric softener last, there’s a question hidden in that question. And that question is, does fabric softener expire or not? And the answer is yes. Pretty much, all laundry products expire after a certain time.

You can’t just buy a big container of fabric softener and keep using it for the rest of your life. Fabric softeners expire as well. And after expiring, they don’t work properly and can bring damage to your clothes. 

So, you should be aware of when to stop using your fabric softener. And how long is it going to last so that you can buy just the amount you will need? 

You can also read: What Fabric Softener Is Safe for Septic Systems

Does Fabric Softener Expire?

Yes, fabric softeners do expire. Fabric softeners are manufactured to expire within 3 years. Each laundry product is meant to expire at a certain time.

There are preservatives and emulsion in fabric softener that stabilizes the product and can only make the product last a certain period of time. 

The shelf life of fabric softener is usually 3 years. And after that time, the ingredients of fabric softeners start to break and it goes bad.  

Once you open a fabric softener bottle, it lasts a limited time before it spoils. When you open the bottle, the oxygen in the air starts reacting with the ingredients of fabric softener. And it accelerates the deterioration. 

How Long Does Fabric Softener Last?

After you’ve opened the fabric softener bottle, you can use it for up to 6 months. But opened fabric softeners usually do not last more than 6 months. It can be a little more or less than 6 months. 

After 6 months or so, you’ll notice that the fabric softener has gone bad. And using the fabric softener after it has gone bad can be dangerous for your clothes. 

So, when buying fabric softener, I would recommend you buy a bottle that is not too big. You should buy just enough to use for about 6 months.

How Long Does Fabric Softener Last

How to Tell Whether Fabric Softener has Gone Bad or Not?

There are a few things that you will notice when your fabric softener goes bad. If you see those things in your fabric softener, your fabric softener has gone bad. And they are-

  • Fabric softener will separate when gone bad
  • It will become thick and clumpy when gone bad
  • The smell will go bad
  • The smell can also become rancid 
  • Your fabric softener will become extremely thin

These are the signs that you will notice if your fabric softener goes bad. 

Can You Use an Expired Fabric Softener?

Can you use an expired fabric softener? Yes. sure you can. But should you use expired fabric softener is the real question? Fabric softeners do not work effectively after expiration. It becomes thick and clumpy. 

If your fabric softener does not become clumpy and smells okay, you can properly use it. But you should not use it as you don’t know for sure how toxic the fabric softener has become. 

Fabric softeners become toxic after expiring and they can be dangerous for your clothes, skin and your washing machine.

They can leave your clothes with grease stains and a very bad and toxic odor. They can give you various skin issues. And they can also clog your washing machine. 

So, considering all of these issues, you should not use fabric softener after expiring. 


Now you know, fabric softeners expire in about 3 years and opened fabric softeners last for about 6 months.

You should not store your fabric softener opened in a damp area as it can last much less than 6 months as well. You should buy small bottles of fabric softener so that you can use it all before it goes bad. I hope this article was helpful to you.  

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