Do condoms expire?
Those and similar to those questions are running through our heads when we first time come in contact with condoms.
We all know what condoms are for and how to use them. They have many advantages and minimal if any, disadvantages.
For some, the condom expiration date is among the supposed "disadvantages."
Let's be honest. Should we even call it a disadvantage at all? We don't expect boxed milk to last forever so why would it be any different with condom shelf life?
The old saying that nothing lasts forever fits for condoms as well. They do, however, endure for several years before they expire.
What do you do then?
When that eventually happens, you get a new box, or more, depending on how "busy" you are, and the fun goes on.
In this article, we explore the condom expiration date and other things related.
Why do condoms have an expiration date?
The essential components of every condom, such as the material ( natural rubber latex or other non latex kinds) and the lubrication, have a shelf life. Condoms must have an expiration date to maintain the highest level of quality and effectiveness.
Manufacturers design and test their condoms with a specific maximum shelf time in mind. We give more specifics on this in a moment.
When a product expires it doesn't necessarily mean that it's immediately terrible and not suitable to use. However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. So the date on the packaging is a simple indicator telling you: "hey, we have to tell you that this thing is expired, and you better buy a new pack as soon as you can!"
Even expired condoms
On the flip side, remember that even not expired condoms, it might not be “good”. The way you take care of your prophylactics throughout their lifetime often determines their longevity.
Sometimes, even if you use a condom that is years from the given expiration date, it might be spoiled and not in a usable, vagina-friendly condition. The reason why we use the term “vagina-friendly” is that expired lube often irritates sensitive private parts.
There are other risks you might face when using an old and/or spoiled condom. If the condoms are not in their top working condition, they may not protect you so well against common STDs and unintended pregnancies.
Indicators of a potentially faulty condom:
1. It does not unroll easily when you put it on 2. The lube is sticky and/or smelly
Who monitors the quality of condoms?
The quality of condoms goes through testing throughout the whole manufacturing process. A variety of tests continue until the last product packaging assembly stage.
This is a good start, as manufacturers want to offer excellent products. But there is another institution that supervises quality. That watchdog is the FDA.
What's the FDA?
FDA is an acronym for the Food and Drug Administration, a U.S. government agency. In short, the FDA sets the quality standards for goods in the USA. That means that all FDA approved products meet or exceed their high-quality standards.
Condoms fall into the class two medical device category, and that's why they must follow rigorous and strict requirements. This is all to benefit you, the final user.
What's the typical condom expiration date?
On average, lovers put a box of 12 latex condoms into action within a time span of 2 years. Their shelf life, however, is much longer.
Nowadays there is a wide selection of types made out of several materials. Every product is slightly different and brands have their unique ways of making their products smoother, more transparent, etc. Every aspect of both the design and manufacturing process plays into the product’s longevity and shelf life.
The expiration date on average is anywhere between 3-5 years.
Brands test regular latex condoms to last up to 5 years from the manufacturing date. That is, of course, under the ideal storing conditions.
The 5-year window
We recommend that you read an article we wrote that talks about the reasons why condoms break. In the vast majority of cases, breakage has to do with the user, not the product quality.
The 5-year window does not apply across the board though. As mentioned, the average condom expiration date depends on the type of lubrication and material.
As an example, the shelf life of condoms with spermicide is slightly shorter than the rest.
How do I know when condoms expire?
The condom wrapper includes the expiration date and it’s also printed on the retail box.
On a retail box
The expiration date on the retail box typically resides on the bottom along with other product identification numbers. This information is visible enough so you won’t miss it. Some brands put the year and month while others even add the particular expiration day.
On a wrapper
The backside of the condom wrapper shows the shelf life. It's usually bigger than the fine print with all the manufacturer's information.
The expiration info is easier or harder to read depending on the wrapper’s graphic design.
You should preferably know your condom’s history or origin.
What do we mean by that?
Have your trusted and reliable source for condoms. For example, CondomJungle has been in business for over a decade. We only deal directly with the primary manufacturer's supply sources. With us, you have the peace of mind that our inventory consists of original, name brand condoms.
Using expired condoms
The following statement is a bit controversial, but hear us out. There may be a time when you use expired condoms. Is it ideal? Of course not. And you should never use a condom where you see visible damage, etc.
So why would you ever use a condom that’s slightly past its date? If you have no other option, it’s always better to use some condom than none at all.
Let's briefly mention the price.
The price of condoms is relatively low, and when you think about it, the cost is insignificant in comparison to the service they provide.
Did you know that back in the old days a price of a single condom equaled a week of an average salary? Think of how good we have it now.
Now that we’ve given you the low-down on your do condoms expire question it's your turn. Keep an eye on those condom expiration dates and make sure you always have fresh supplies around.