Hair CareHair Growth

Can Fermented Rice Water Go Bad?

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After two years as a stylist, I never knew rice water was useful to the skin and hair until last year when I joined a natural hair Facebook group. While researching on one natural hair care topic, I stumbled upon this question: Can fermented rice water go bad?

I knew many more people will be asking a similar question, so I dived into research. To make it more interesting, I told my mom about it and she agreed to try it. I was one that did everything for her the first time. Don’t worry I will share her hair result soon.

Unlike regular water, which has a theoretically innumerable shelf life, fermented water can go bad- especially if you don’t store the fermented rice water properly. And Because it is a made-at-home product without preservative it tends to get spoilt quickly.

But how quick? Let’s go more into this:

How Long Does Fermented Rice Water Last?

The answer to this question strictly depends on how it was stored, where it was stored and the condition of the container or bottle used. but normally fermented rice water can last for 3-4 weeks in refrigerated condition.

Yes, you heard me right. I have seen a lot of comments saying it should be only kept in the fridge for 7 days.

But I had a long conversation with some ladies in that Facebook group and one of them managed to preserve and finish up her fermented rice water in 2 weeks. (Not the 7 days everyone is saying)

A lady even said she left her rice water for three weeks before use and the result she got was something very amazing. So how long it lasts for you depends on how it was stored or preserved.

But, what is the point storing it for more than 2 weeks, when you can make another within a few days without stress.

If I am to recommend I would say you should make rice water that will be enough for 2-3 times use. And when it is finished, make another one. Period.


Make and Store Rice Water the Right Way

Fermented water is best stored in a plastic or bottle container. If you are choosing a container make sure you go for a container that is in very good condition.

You can even add nylon to the top opening before you put on the cover, just to make sure it’s not exposed to air. Nevertheless here is a quick step by step process to make and store your fermented rice water.

  1. Take 1 or half cup of rice, add some water and rinse.
  2. After rinsing your rice, pour away the water and add 2 cups of distilled water to cover the rice. Leave it to soak for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Strain out the rice and make sure no single rice drops into the water.
  4. Transfer the water into a very clean and well-covered bottle or plastic container.
  5. Leave it in a cool place where it can ferment. Room temperature recommendation and (24-hour maximum) for the fermentation
  6. After 24 hours of fermentation, Add essential oil to get rid of the smell.
  7. Now you’re free to use and store the remaining in the refrigerator for the next use.

To Preserve the remaining fermented rice water– Open your refrigerator and put the container in the section you put foodstuffs. Don’t forget to warn your kids not to temper with the content

Feel free to play around with the quantity of water you use, how long you leave the rice water to soak (but not longer than 24 hours) and ferment. This will enable you to understand your hair for a better and outstanding result.

Rice For Hair Growth

Signs to Tell If Fermented Rice Water Go Bad

You probably added enough scented oil a few minutes after fermentation and it scents nice. After some days, you decided to use it again and noticed that the smell is so bad that you can’t even add it to your hair again. That is a sign that the fermented rice water has gone bad.

Another sign is colour change on exposure to air. This can happen when the container is not tightly covered after use. Maybe your kids tempered with the container.

Also, the appearance of mould and some physical changes are signs that it has gone bad. This is mostly caused by leftover rice in the fermented water.

Boiled or Fermented: Which is Better?

I wouldn’t judge others. But for me and according to my research, testimonies from some of my African Natural hair ladies plus testing it with my mom– fermented rice water is better. Why?

When you boil, without a doubt, you are killing some nutrients that will be needed for the rice water to perform very well. But fermentation helps breakdown some natural compounds like Pythic acid which interferes and bind some nutrients like zinc and iron making it available- Source

Also, Fermenting rice causes amino acids to increase, which is what makes the hair strong and grow longer.

How Long Does it Take for Rice Water to Grow Hair?

We should try to understand that, it is a slow and steady process. It doesn’t just grow hair overnight or within one week. However, it takes at least  2 weeks before you notice very significant hair growth. But you will notice a quick difference in hair texture and overall hair integrity after first or maybe second try.

How Often Should You Use Rice Water on Hair?

It is recommended you use rice water once in 2 weeks or once in 4-6 weeks or even more depending on your hair porosity. For you to see a significant result in your hair health and hair growth.- you need to first know and understand your hair.

Some ladies told me they use it weekly, but they made sure their hair care for it and their hair is working in the right direction they desire.

In case you aren’t aware- rice water is a protein treatment and the recommended amount of time to have a protein treatment is usually once a month.

Protein overload damages hair by altering hair structure and curl pattern. This causes breakage. If you’re putting that much protein, you need to follow through with a deep moisture treatment. And when you use rice water you have to make sure that your hair is well moisturized to avoid breaking.

I will soon create a post on how to use and how often you should it based on hair porosity and type. So stay tuned!!

Also, keep in mind that you should for no reason leave the rice water on hair a whole day. 5-30 minutes is the recommended time it should sit on your hair, anything greater than that can give you a bad experience.

And don’t use condition to rinse it off, just use only clean water and rinse till the water runs clear.


The bad side of this rice water is that it smells really bad. So you just have to do some tweaks to make it scent a little bit good. The tweak most ladies do is to add some essential scented oil to reduce or get rid of the smell

Rice water works like magic, it just depends on how you use. If you notice that rice water treatment is doing your hair more harm than good I will advise you to stop doing it.

I also noticed some people want to know if they can eat or throw away the rice. To clear your thought- I ate Rice and am still alive writing. You won’t even notice any difference whether you use the boiling or fermentation method.

Now I would love to hear from you:

Did you find this post on fermented rice water durability helpful?

Or maybe you have something to share with us that will be beneficial to us all

Either way, do let us know by leaving a comment below. And don’t forget to share with friends who are interested in using fermented rice water for their hair growth.

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I am Stanley. A Professional Unisex Hairstylist, Writer and books lover. After 12 months apprenticeship program as a stylist I started working with my boss for extra 1 year. This time frame made me acummulate knowledge and experience in the hair industry, of which I will love to share with friends all over the world through my blog.

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