Does Iodine expire? 

Does Iodine expire? 

No, Iodine does not expire. It can be used for a long, long period of time to dress your wounds or to treat infectious skin conditions. This element has been used for centuries and will continue to serve its purpose. 

Iodine can be kept for much longer if it is the only element present in the formulation. Some iodine-containing antiseptics may expire, especially when a lot of other chemicals are incorporated into them. 

These formulations usually have an expiry date and they may go bad after the date has been passed. So make sure you have iodine and not a mixed preparation. In the case of mixed preparation, you have to make sure that the product has not expired yet. 

Some chemicals may start to irritate your wound or skin if they have gone bad. Iodine, however, would do no such thing no matter how long it has stayed on the shelf. You still have to make sure to store it properly or else it may lose its effectiveness over time. 

Does Iodine lose its efficiency if not stored properly?

Yes, Iodine may not expire but it may lose its effectiveness if you have not stored it properly. If we specifically talk about Iodine tincture, it consists of Iodine in two forms (elemental and combined with sodium), water, and ethanol. 

It will not expire as the formulation does not contain anything that can go bad. However, if you leave the bottle open and the preparation is constantly exposed to the environment, then some of your Iodine may evaporate and the formulation loses its strength. 

Not just this, leaving the container open would also cause the evaporation of ethanol, which is highly volatile. If we talk about other types of Iodine solutions, they may also lose their strength and infection-fighting properties if they are left open. 

Another thing that may happen to a mismanaged Iodine solution is contamination. If the container is left open or if you use it improperly, there’s a chance that you might contaminate the solution on your own. Once contaminated, it slowly changes the effectiveness of the entire solution (1). 

How to store Iodine properly to preserve its effectiveness?

There are a few things that you need to understand about storing any Iodine containing solution. Before that, you have to make sure that you’re buying an undamaged product. 

Sometimes, you may end up accidentally purchasing an item with defective packaging. Some of the important points include (2):

  • When buying an Iodine solution, make sure the bottle is in perfect condition. If the cap of the bottle is cracked, do not purchase that bottle. 
  • If you have accidentally purchased a defective piece and have not opened it yet, go back to the pharmacy and ask your pharmacist to replace it.
  • Once you’re done with using the Iodine solution, make sure you close the cap tightly. 
  • Do not leave the contaminated applicator in the bottle if you’re using one. 
  • If you have had an Iodine solution on your shelf for a long time and you’re not sure if to use it or not, check its consistency and colour. If it is gooey, has lumps, or has dry patches on the side of the bottle, do not use it. If it is in perfect consistency, it’s safe to use.
  • If you have an Iodine solution that has been left open for a while now, do not use it, especially on open wounds. 
  • Make sure you do not change the container of the Iodine formulation. It needs to be stored in an amber-coloured bottle to avoid degradation caused by sunlight. 

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    1. International Programme on Chemical Safety. Iodine. In: INCHEM [Internet]. Geneva: World Health Organization; c2021. [cited 2022 Sep 26]. Available from:


Mayo Clinic. Iodine (Topical Route): Proper Use. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2022. [cited 2022 Sep 26]. Available from: