Expired Neosporin: What In The World Should You Do With It?
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Expired Neosporin: What In The World Should You Do With It?

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: November 3, 2015

Expired NeosporinMaybe you finally got around to cleaning out your cluttered medicine cabinet.

Or maybe you got a nasty cut on your knuckle and you’re debating using some old Neosporin.

So does Neosporin really expire?

Yes, well, sort of…

You deserve a better answer than this.

But to answer this question properly, we need to dig deeper into expired Neosporin.

Need to have a better understanding of how Neosporin works.

We need to investigate these questions:

  • Once it’s expired, does it still have any healing potency remaining?
  • Should you consider using expired Neosporin?
  • Could it possibly be harmful to use expired Neosporin?
  • Should you just toss it out the day after it expires?
  • Should you keep it forever? If so, why?

The honest answer to all of these questions is: IT DEPENDS.

It depends because there’s a lot of controversy around these questions. Just like there seems to be controversy around all things “expiration” related.

Yet, all is not lost.

My goal is to provide enough information so you can make an informed decision when it comes to using expired Neosporin.

So let’s get started, but first a quick note…

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a physician. I’m not providing any health advice, but rather collecting and sharing other people’s information and my personal (non-professional) opinions on what I’ve decided to do.

You should always consult your doctor or a licensed professional for all your health-related decisions.


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neosporin tube

Does Expired Neosporin Still Have Any Potency Remaining?

As I have already suggested, the right answer is “It Depends”.

OK, You Got It!

Depends on what?

1. How Far Is The Expired Neosporin Past Its Date?

Neosporin is a medical consumable. As with most medical consumables, their healing potency degrades over time.

The older it gets, the less ability it has to perform as intended.

Ok, that makes sense. So what is the exact degradation pace of Neosporin?

Unfortunately, that information is not publicly available. The makers of Neosporin do not share that information.

However, I discovered that all pharmaceutical companies must follow strict labeling guidelines.

These guidelines require the active ingredient in medications to meet a specific potency range.

When the active ingredients fall outside this specific range, the product must be considered “expired”.

This potency range is unique depending upon the makeup of the product and its active ingredients. But the range is typically very high in the pharmaceutical field.

An example of an acceptable active ingredient range in pharmaceuticals is between 95% to 105% potency.

So in order to follow these strict requirements, the manufacturers of Neosporin must test their products in controlled storage environments.

They record potency test data over a period of time, taking note of when it drops below their required range threshold (i.e. 95%).

Using this collected data, the medical companies use statistics to determine the required expiration date.

A data-supported date that meets the strict industry guidelines.

So the bottom line is this:

The closer your expired Neosporin is to its labeled expiration date, the higher the potency of the active ingredient remains.

Sure, it’s probably slipped below the strict 95% guideline, but should you toss out Neosporin that has an active ingredient potency of 88%?

2. Where And How Has Your Neosporin Been Stored?

Storage practices are always a variable when it comes to expiration dates. Poor storage practices lead to shorter expiration dates. Good storage practices lead to longer expiration dates.

The two major conditions that significantly shorten Neosporin’s shelf life are:

  • Stored in direct sunlight
  • Stored in high-temperature environments

So if we store our Neosporin in locations that avoid these conditions then we will prolong the useful life of our Neosporin.

Or as Marvin Lipman (Consumer Reports Chief Medical Consultant) suggests:

“To assure that medicines stay effective after their expiration dates, don’t store them in the bathroom medicine cabinet. Heat and humidity accelerate how fast a drug deteriorates, so store drugs in a cool, dry place and well out of the reach of children.”


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Should You Apply Neosporin After It Expires?

We now understand that expired Neosporin can still be useful. But should you apply it after it expired?

Are there any associated risks with ignoring the label? Does Neosporin expire and go toxic after a certain amount of time?

Again, information on these questions is sparse and the little information that I was able to find is not from highly trusted sources (i.e. medical journals, or medical websites).

These suggestions are from people who are answering people’s questions on Q/A-based sites.

Q/A Link 1 – Q/A Link 2 – Q/A Link 3

However, as you can tell people tend to agree that Neosporin does not become toxic after expiration.

It should also be noted what was NOT found.

If Neosporin did turn toxic after expiration there would be a whole lot of information about that on the web (and most likely many court cases).

I found no evidence of this, which also supports the idea that Neosporin does not become toxic after it expires.

neosporin expiration date

Should You Use It? Toss It Out? Or Keep It After Its Expiration Date?

What’s your mindset?

Are you a survivalist prepper (like me)?

If times are normal, and you can easily buy a new tube of Neosporin from Walgreens, then you should just purchase a new tube.

I won’t argue that it’s worth using expired Neosporin if a new tube is readily available.

However, as a survivalist, I tend to think about worst-case scenarios such as TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It).

This survivalist mindset changes how I think about expiration dates. “Expiration Dates” and “Best If Used By Dates” are valid in normal times (where food and medical supplies are in abundance).

But they become nearly meaningless the day our modern medical resources become scarce.

In such a world, many items that have value today will become worthless; while many undervalued items today will skyrocket in value.

I believe Neosporin will skyrocket in value in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI world. Even if it’s expired Neosporin. Why?

Let Me Share With You A Short Hypothetical Story:

Let’s pretend that TSHTF happens and life as we know it is over. Maybe it’s a highly contagious virus that wipes out 87% of the world’s population.

Maybe it’s world war III that leaves behind scorched earth. Maybe it’s a massive EMP attack.

Whatever this cause, medical attention and medical supplies will become very limited. You won’t be stopping over at your local drug store to pick up cold medicine, nasal spray, or Neosporin.

In this hypothetical story, let’s pretend that you have a 6-year-old son.

Maybe he was walking around your beat-up neighborhood in a pair of worn-out sneakers and stepped on a large shard of glass.

He’s left with a nasty cut on his heel.

In haste, you clean it with a semi-sanitary source and wrap it with the cleanest bandages you can find.

You then pray it doesn’t become infected.

After a few hours, the cut starts to turn a pinkish-red hue, begins to swell, and looks to be in the early stages of a deadly infection.

Remember in this new world, getting access to regular antibiotics is all but impossible. Unless you planned ahead.

In this story, you didn’t. Your son is doomed.

But wait…

Your neighbor (who is a prepared survivalist) happens to have Neosporin.

It’s 3 years past its “expiration date”, but who cares, this is your son’s life we are talking about.

Your neighbor wants to help, but he also knows that in this world of limited medical supplies you don’t just give stuff away for free.

Especially something as valuable as infection-fighting Neosporin.

So he proposes a barter.

He will give you a small amount of Neosporin in exchange for one month worth of food and a brick of .22 bullets.

But you didn’t prepare. You never thought life could ever change so drastically.

You don’t have a brick of 22 shells to trade.

“That’s OK,” he says, “How about instead you trade your firewood?” That large pile in your backyard.

The pile you bought for your fireplace because your family enjoys fires at Christmas.

It’s about a cord of firewood in total.

Without electricity, you were planning on this firewood to keep your family from freezing on the coldest winter nights.

But what options do you have?

You can forego the trade and your son will surely die.

Or you can make the trade and improve your son’s odds of surviving.

You realize it’s not really a choice at all.

You do the deal.


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The Moral Of The Story Is This…

If you’re worried about the future of our world (and you should be), maybe you should hang on to your expired Neosporin.

The date that’s stamped onto your Neosporin is just the time in which the drug manufacturer can guarantee its maximum safety and potency based on product testing.

However, this leaves many months (possibly many years) where the medicine will still be effective.

  • So Does Neosporin Expire? Yes, eventually.
  • Will I throw mine out? Nope.

I will continue to keep my Neosporin well after its expiration date.

  • I keep it stored in a dark, cool location.
  • I keep it for the “what if” scenarios.

It’s an item that will have a skyrocketing value for bartering and an item that may help protect my own family from infections.

This is my personal stance on keeping and using expired Neosporin.

Remember: Prepare, Adapt and Overcome,
“Just In Case” Jack

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
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