If you’ve found a bottle of perfume that’s a few years old now you must be asking yourself the question: “does perfume go bad?”. Perfumes don’t go bad, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that their fragrance doesn’t deteriorate. In fact, deterioration is a severe issue when it comes to perfume. After some time the perfume’s fragrance changes and probably the only reasonable thing to do when that happens is to throw the bottle out. If you store perfume properly, you’ll be able to use it for an extended period.

Perfume bottle
(credit: ignescent_infidel)

How To Store Perfume

Perfumes that you currently use should be stored in a room with a constant temperature. It’s also good when the temperature is a little below room temperature. You should keep the bottle in a dark place, away from direct sunlight. Most people keep perfumes in the bathroom, but that’s not a good idea: there’s possibly a lot of sunlight, and usually, that’s the room where the temperature fluctuates a lot.

If you have some perfumes that you don’t use at a time, or you just use them in special occasions, you should store it in a dark, cool place, possibly in a box so light won’t be able to affect the liquid.

Please note that you should take special care about women’s perfumes in clear bottles – clear bottle doesn’t protect its content from light. Dark and opaque containers protect perfume from some of the light. Remember that the bottle should be closed as tightly as possible – if you leave it opened, some of the liquid will evaporate.

Shelf Life Of Perfume

Perfume’s shelf life varies a lot. Producers usually place a “best-by” date on the bottle, and that date should give you some knowledge about the possible shelf life of a certain perfume. Of course, producers must be careful with those dates, so probably your men’s or women’s perfume will be fine for a much longer period. Shelf life also depends strongly on how the perfume is stored. The color of the bottle also comes into play, dark and opaque bottles tend to have a longer shelf life. You can safely assume that any kind of perfume (men’s, women’s, it doesn’t really matter) should be fine for at least a year, but most perfumes will be good for three years or even more. Of course, you should bear in mind that perfume made with quality components will be fine for longer.

Can Perfume Go Bad?

Perfumes don’t go bad in a way that you shouldn’t use it anymore. As I’ve mentioned earlier, their scent changes through time so if you don’t like the fragrance anymore, you should toss the perfume. The color of the liquid also changes, so if it’s noticeably darker (that happens due to oxidation) than it was when you bought it, it’ll probably smell different.

As you can see, perfume doesn’t go bad in a way that it’s spoiled. Its fragrance, however, changes over time. Because of that, after some time (possibly a few years) the fragrance won’t appeal to you anymore, and you will have to discard it. Storage of perfumes is also important – the better you store them, the longer they will last.