How To Tell If Powdered Formula Is Bad (4 Signs)

One would prefer powdered formula over ready-to-drink liquid formulas for several reasons. 

For some, it is the safety, nutritional value, and lower price; for others, it may just be their preference. 

For whatever reason, these powders are bound to go bad at some point, and since it is not in liquid form, it can be difficult to tell when it is bad. 

Fortunately, there are pointers on how to tell if powdered formula is bad. Observing any of the signs in this article may mean that the formula is bad.

Table of Contents

Baby Powdered Formula

Powdered formula is a great way to feed your baby nutritionally packed formula in adequate proportions. It is safe, convenient, and cheaper than liquid formula. 

Many brands of powdered formula are designed to mimic natural breast milk.

They contain extracted vitamins, minerals, fats, and other nutrients found in the breast, making them very suitable as infant and continuation foods. 

These nutrients are needed to complete the formula; however, when exposed for some time, they gradually lose their value and sometimes become poisonous.

Many powdered formulas become less safe after being opened for a long time. It can be difficult to tell when a powdered formula is bad because there are very little to no visible changes in the appearance.

How To Tell If Powdered Formula Is Bad

The easiest way to tell if your baby’s formula is good or bad is by checking the expiry date. 

But many formulas become bad even before their expiry date, making it tricky to tell when a formula has gone bad.

There are many reasons why a formula can go bad before its expiry date. 

When exposed to extreme temperatures like very hot or cold areas, it alters the composition of the formula and can change the taste and appearance, making it less suitable. 

Keeping the formula at room temperature and away from the sun and refrigerator is discouraged.

In cases where these appearances aren’t apparent, you can look out for other signs like;

See also  Can Baby Wear Knotted Gown in Car Seat? Discussed


Once a baby formula is no longer good, there’s a slight change in the smell. Once subjected to more cold than required, powdered formula can become moist and trap bacteria.

The presence of bacteria can affect the formula’s smell. Although some formulas have a strong smell, even when healthy, there’s always a difference.


One of the early signs of a bad formula is discoloration. Baby formula has a dull white or milky color in its original healthy state. 

When it becomes yellowish or any color other than milky color, the formula has expired or been left open for a while and is now contaminated.

It Has Been Opened For Over 30 Days

The average shelf life of most formula brands is 30 days. This means once open, you should consume the formula within 30 days. Anything beyond the recommended time can become contaminated or expire.

Milk is a major ingredient in many formula brands; milk in these formulas makes them more prone to damage when left open.

Some brands have a longer shelf life than others, and while not all brands can go bad within those 30 days, it is better safe than sorry.

You should write down the date you opened the formula and keep ticking it to ensure the number of days it has been opened.

Separation of The Ingredients

Another obvious sign that formula has gone bad is if, after preparation, you see the particles separated and floating. 

The different ingredients mix perfectly with the water to give a thick and even liquid. Even though the powdered formula isn’t a smooth blend, they turn into a fine paste after preparation. 

If the particles of the formula remain disintegrated after preparation, it has gone bad.

Read Also: What Happens If Baby Drinks Spoiled Formula Milk

How Long Does Powdered Formula Last After Opening?

Organic formulas have a shorter shelf life than non-organic formulas. 

Most Organic formulas do not include any artificial preservatives like non-organic ones; they’re pretty healthy but don’t last long. 

While non-organic formulas can last an average of 30 days after opening, some organic formulas may not last for so long.

In addition, every formula pack is marked with manufacturing and expiration dates at the top or bottom. 

If you’re unsure about which, you can inquire directly from the customer service representative.

See also  How To Clean Kate Spade Diaper Bag (Easy Steps)

How To Prevent Powdered Formula From Going Bad

Except the formula has long past the expiry date, there are tips on how you can prevent the formula from going bad before the expiry date.


Lack of proper storage is one of the reasons why formulas go bad before their expiration date.

Each product has storage directions indicated in the user manual. Always refer to it for proper storage guidelines.

Ideally, powdered formulas are meant to be stored in a cool and dry place. Some brands may include that it should be kept in the dark area. 

Once open, ensure that you preserve the formula in cool, dry, and airtight containers to prevent contamination.


Extreme temperatures are not ideal for powdered formulas. Storing a formula, whether opened or unopened, in ovens or refrigerators can alter the chemical composition of the formula.

The preferable place for keeping the formula at room temperature is on kitchen shelves or cupboards where there’s no moisture or heat.

Contaminated Utensils

If the utensils you use to prepare your baby’s food aren’t clean, there’s a high chance that they can contaminate the formula.


sterilize the scoopers, spoons, and feeders to prepare your baby’s food before and after use. And store them in airtight bags or containers to prevent contamination.

To be safer, have extra containers, scoopers, spoons, and feeders you can use to reduce some of the formulae when going on a trip. This way, the entire formula pack won’t be exposed or get bad before the expiry date.

Related Posts:


The expiry date on the bottom of the formula packs is the easiest way to tell when a powdered formula has gone bad. 

But other factors contribute to formulas going bad even when newly purchased, most of which are human-induced factors.

You may accidentally contaminate the formula without knowing and wonder how to tell if powdered formula is bad. 

If you observe the signs above in any opened powdered formula, replace it with a new one that is healthier and safer.