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Ponderer983's avatar

Does vicks lose its strength after a while?

Asked by Ponderer983 (6406points) January 6th, 2011

So clearly, I have a cold. I found an old jar of vicks vapor rub that has to be at least 5–10 years old. Does vicks go bad? It still smells like it should and after putting it on it helped clear my nose for a bit but then it clogged again. Any ideas as to how long it typically lasts for without losing its effectiveness?

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3 Answers

MissA's avatar

I’ve never experienced it losing its strength.

Afos22's avatar

It wasn’t clear to me that you have a cold. You look great, haha. I still use an old jar of vicks because I only use a little bit at a time. It still works great. The product turns into vapor when it is heated by the body’s heat. So, as long as the jar isn’t sitting open in the sun, it should be fine.


I think it might lose a bit of its concentration, but if the lid was on tight, the menthol and eucalyptus oils still retain their scent as well as medicinal properties. I’ve had a small jar of the stuff for 3 years now, and it still works very well. I think the petroleum ointment “preserves” the potency somewhat. And because your jar of Vicks is 10 years-old, it still might be effective, because it’s my theory that they made things more potent in the past than they do today, so the effectiveness keeps better. But I’ve never had problems with old Vicks ointment. Same thing with Chinese Tiger Balm. My grandmother had a very old jar from the 1950s, and it still worked for her when she was alive in the 1970s.

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