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Can Fermented Rice Water Go Bad?

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While researching on one natural hair care topic, I stumbled upon this question: Can fermented rice water go bad?

Rewind; two years ago, I never knew rice water was useful to the skin and hair until last year when I joined a natural hair Facebook group.

I knew many more people would 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.

So can fermented rice water go bad?

Unlike regular water, which has a theoretically innumerable shelf life, fermented rice water can go bad- especially if you don’t store the fermented water properly. And Because it is a made-at-home product without preservatives, 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 usually, fermented rice water can last for 3-4 weeks in refrigerated condition.

Yes, you heard me right. I have seen a lot of opinions saying it should be in the fridge for only seven 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 seven 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 astonishing.

But, what is the point of storing rice water for more than two 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 finishes, make another one.


Make and Store Rice Water the Right Way

A plastic or bottle container is the best to store fermented rice water. And if you are choosing a container, make sure you go for a container that is in perfect condition.

Make sure air does not go inside by any means; you can even add nylon to the top opening before you put on the cover.

Nevertheless, here is a quick step by step process to prepare and store your fermented rice water.

  1. Take 2-3 spoons or a half cup of raw rice, pour some water into the rice and wash, then drain the water off.
  2. After that, get a jar and pour the washed rice and add 2 cups of distilled water to cover the rice.
  3. Add orange peels to the rice and water mixture and cover the jar.
  4. Leave it to ferment under room temperature for 24 hours.
  5. After that, strain out the rice and make sure no single rice seed drops into the water.
  6. You can use it right away or transfer the water into a very clean and well-covered bottle or plastic container and store inside a refrigerator.
  7. You can also add essential oil to get rid of the smell if it’s still strong.

Not satisfied with the written guide? Here’s a complete video tutorial on how to make and use fermented rice water.

Also, don’t forget to warn your kids not to temper with the container.

Feel free to play around with the quantity of water you use, how long you leave the rice water to soak and ferment (but not longer than 24 hours)

Doing 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 Goes Bad

You probably added enough scented after the fermentation, and it had a pleasant scent.

But after some days, you decide to use it again and notice that the smell is so bad that you can’t even use it on your hair again. That is a sign that the fermented rice water has gone bad.

Another sign is dense color change on exposure to air, and this can happen when the container is not tightly covered. Maybe your kids tempered with the container.

Also, the appearance of mold and some physical changes are signs that it has gone bad. Leftover rice seed in the fermented water is mostly responsible for this condition.

Boiled or Fermented: Which is Better?

As for me and according to 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 binds some nutrients like zinc and iron, making it available for hair in the water- Source.

Also, fermenting rice causes amino acids level to increase, which is what makes the hair healthy 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.

It takes at least two weeks before you notice very significant hair growth. But you will see a quick difference in hair texture and overall hair integrity after first or maybe the 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 first need to 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 get a protein treatment is usually once a month.

Protein overload damages hair by altering hair structure, curl pattern, and can cause breakage.

If you’re putting that much protein on your hair, you need to follow through with a deep moisture treatment.

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 higher than that can give you a bad experience.


The bad side of this rice water is that it smells awful. 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 or ferment with orange peels.

Rice water works like magic; it just depends on how you use it.

If you notice that rice water treatment is doing your hair more harm than good, I will advise you to stop doing it.

Now I would love to hear from you:

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

Or maybe you have questions or experiences to share with us.

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 Unisex Hairstylist, Writer, and book lover. After 12 months of the apprenticeship program as a stylist, I started working with my boss for an extra one year. This time frame made me accumulate 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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    1. Hello Sharon,

      It’s nice to have you here.

      Honestly speaking, this is the first time I hear that rice water can be purchased online.

      Considering how long the rice water has spent so far in the refrigerator, I cannot conclude that it has gone bad already. But, I would suggest you throw it away and make a new one instead of buying online. Trust me; the process is easy.

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