Salts Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

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Salt has many uses but have you ever had the same batch of salt sitting on your condiment rack for years? Most of us have never seen a spoiled bottle of salt. Now, this makes you wonder: Does salt go bad?

No, and yes. If we talk about pure salt, it actually doesn’t go bad. However, if you combine it with ingredients such as herbs, seasonings, and additives, there is a chance that your salt will lose its quality.

In this post, these are the essential points that we are going to share with you:

So, keep reading…

What Is Salt?

Salt or sodium chloride (NaCl) is an inexpensive mineral substance that is highly valuable for survival. Salt does wonders in enhancing the food’s sweetness and suppressing bitterness. They’re used in cooking almost all dishes, from meat, fish, vegetables, baked goods, sauces, and even cereals! (*)

Salt is also a crucial contributor to food preservation. It helps extend our foods’ shelf life by providing an environment that does not support microbial growth. Moreover, salt also absorbs moisture and dries the food out.

The sodium in salt plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s fluid balance, nerve impulse transmission, and muscle function in terms of the health aspect.

There are different types of salts. The common ones that we will be discussing in this post are:

  • Canning and pickling salt
  • Celtic salt
  • Curing salt
  • Iodized salt
  • Kosher salt
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Real salt
  • Table salt

How Long Does Salt Last?

Pure or natural salt is a stable compound with an indefinite shelf life as a natural preservative. Yes, it can last for like an eternity without losing its flavor and potency. This is the shelf life of other types of salt:

Canning and Pickling Salt

Salt used for canning and pickling is pure sodium chloride or pure salt. It can stay indefinitely as long as you keep it away from moisture to prevent it from clumping.

This type of salt is free from additives and anti-caking agents. Pure salt is ideal for canning and pickling, making the liquid look cloudy. For a clear brine solution, this is your best option.

Celtic Salt

If you protect it from moisture, Celtic salt can last indefinitely. Celtic salt is recognized as dirt-free, clean, and pure ocean sea salt. It has lower sodium (Na) content compared to table salt.

This type of salt has minerals such as calcium and magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, chromium, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Curing Salt

Curing salt is commonly used to preserve meat and fish. The shelf life of curing salt will depend on the type of ingredients it contains. Curing salt with salt and sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite has an indefinite shelf life.

If the one you have has propylene glycol, artificial flavors, fat stabilizers, or others, you should base it on their printed expiration dates.

Iodized Salt

Iodized salt is an iodine-fortified salt. In other words, it’s just table salt that is supplemented with potassium iodide and a minimal amount of dextrose to prevent the iodine from turning yellow. Because of iodine added in table salt can only last for about five years.

Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is not like your ordinary pure salt. This coarse and flaky salt cannot last forever, but it has a shelf life that can reach up to 5 years. In contrast, it may last indefinitely as long as you keep it in a proper storage condition.

Pink Himalayan Salt

The famous coarse to extra acceptable pink Himalayan salt comes from the mine of Punjab, Pakistan. Its shelf life can also last forever. This salt is healthy because it slightly contains more minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, and iron compared to pure salt.

Real Salt

Sourced from the ancient ocean in Utah, USA, natural salt can also last indefinitely. It contains a blend of minerals and has a slightly sweet taste. Types of natural salt are coarse, fine, powdered, and Kosher.

Table Salt

Tables salt is a demineralized type of salt mined from underground salt deposits. It is also known as the all-purpose granulated culinary salt, and it also has an indefinite shelf life.

Does Salt Expire?

Salt does not usually come with an expiration date. If it is a salt product that contains other food ingredients, they are expected to deteriorate on the printed date.

How Do You Know If Your Salt Is Spoiled?

If we talk about spoilage caused by food pathogens, you won’t hear much about that issue. However, it does not mean that there’s no way that salt can go bad even though most of them can last forever.

There will be certain cases that might render salt either bad or useless to the point you will need to throw it away. These are the signs you should look to find out if your salt has already gone bad:

1. Clumping

Clumping happens if your salt has been exposed to moisture. This is primarily the case your salt is stored for a long time. This characteristic is not necessarily bad. You can either break it apart if you want to use it or just discard it.

2. Odd Smell

Salt is a strong absorber of odor. If you have an odd-smelling salt, it tells that it has picked up the smell of whatever is stored near it.

3. Pest Infestation

Yes, salt tastes salty but don’t be surprised that bugs and other insects (and even dead ones) can also get into the jar or package. It would help if you threw it away.

How To Store Salt Properly?

Follow these tips to ensure you have kept your salt at its ideal storage condition:

  1. Repack your salt if you have bought it in bulk. Please keep them in an airtight container or quart-size canning jars.
  2. Never store your salt in metal containers. Salt can leach out the metals and/or possible poisonous elements in this type of container.
  3. Please keep it in a cool, dry, and dark place. It can be in a spice cabinet or pantry.
  4. Please keep it away from heat sources such as the stove or dishwasher.
  5. Do not put oxygen absorbers if you have stored your salt for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What to do with salt that has already gone bad?

  • You can use it to remove red wine stains on a table cloth.
  • If you have mouth sores or sore throat, you can use it to make a gargle solution.
  • If you don’t have a freezer and want to maintain the frozen texture of your dessert, you can mix old rock salt with ice to lower the freezing point.

2. How salt affects the body?

Overconsumption of salt or salty foods can cause water retention, intense thirst, and increased blood pressure. (*)

Learn more: Does epson salt go bad?


Most salts do not spoil unless combined with other ingredients that will eventually go bad.

It is rare to encounter a bad quality salt, but if there’s a pest infestation or if it possesses an odd odor, we advise that you should throw it away.

Storing salt is simple. All you need to do is close the container lid properly and store it in a cool, dry, and dark place like your pantry or spices cabinet. Plus, it should be kept away from sources of heat.

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Up Next: Does Black Pepper Go Bad or Expire? How Long Does It Last?

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