Nothing lasts forever; like all great things, the end is inevitable. Condoms have an expiry date, and knowing how long you have left to enjoy your condoms is vital, as it is illegal for condom manufacturers to forget to put an expiry date on their products.

Illegal might sound extreme, as most people will never reach the point of accidentally using an expired condom. Most will use up their condoms well in advance of any expiration date. After all, condoms are not just for special occasions. They are for whenever the fancy takes you.

But because you often asked how long condoms last, we think we should explain a few things, so here goes...

Table of Contents:

How long do condoms last?

Condoms made of latex or natural rubber typically last five years without spermicide and three years with spermicide. Spermicide is a chemical. The chemical generally used is Nonoxynol-9, an additional way to prevent pregnancy with a three-year life span.

The same life span applies to artificial latex, such as polyisoprene and polyurethane latex.

Polyisoprene and polyurethane latex with spermicide expires in three years. Polyisoprene and polyurethane latex condoms without spermicide last for five years.

If you're using lambskin condoms, expect them to expire in three years. While you might find the idea of lambskin condoms unusual, the history of condoms shows us that lambskin was tame compared to some early prototypes.

Other circumstances can shorten the life of your condom before you even take it out of the packet. Like, incorrect storage.

Expiration date - How to get the most out of your condom

To get the most out of your condoms, you need to store them correctly. Condoms do not like humid or damp environments. Extremes of hot or cold are also detrimental to the condom's expiry date.

Sensible storage like a bedside drawer or cupboard storage box is the best place for your condoms. Equally, please do not take them out of their foil wrappers until you plan to use them.

Keep your condoms away from sharp objects like keys or scissors; if you need to travel with your condoms, try to avoid perfume or aftershave and other substances like alcohol or hairspray that might degrade the latex. Read more on why condoms break here.

Where can I find the condom's expiration date?

The expiration date is imprinted on the cardboard outer packet and the foil or plastic wrapper. Sometimes a manufacturing date is added, but this is for information only; therefore, the expiration date holds the most importance.

Condom expiration dates are usually written backwards to how we normally expect to read them. The year is the main factor, so it appears first, followed by the month and then the day—for example, 2026-03-13. The date, although written backwards, tells you the condoms expire on the 13th of March 2026.

Now that you know how long condoms last and expire, let's explore what could happen if you use an out-of-date condom.

Can you use an expired condom?

Broken Condom

You should not use an expired condom for several good reasons, but the main reason is that an expired condom may not protect you from an STD (sexually transmitted disease) or unwanted pregnancy.

An expired condom may tear or rip as it will be dry, inflexible, and generally unpleasant. Using an expired spermicidal condom will irritate the skin and could trigger a yeast infection or similar.

There are no circumstances in sexual health where it is acceptable to use an expired condom. Always use a condom that is within its expiry date, and only use that condom once.

Waste not, want not - expired condom uses

While we advocate for responsible condom use if you are determined to use your condoms, here are some light-hearted suggestions for your expired packet.

Use an expired condom as a gardening glove - although the likelihood is that the condom will split and you'll end up with muck on your hands.

Use an expired condom to retrieve your keys. If your keys have fallen down the loo, you can use your expired condom to cover your hand while you recover them. You might just get away with this as long as you don't keep dropping your keys.

Use your expired condom to change your engine oil - No, don't do this; the condom will not protect your skin from the oil and not only will your hands get dirty, they are like to suffer from skin irritations.

So try as we might; we cannot suggest anything more than throwing your expired condoms away and starting again with a fresh packet. Nothing beats fresh out of the box; this term applies to all things, especially condoms.

Choose the right condom for the job

While we don't sell condoms called fresh out of the box, we sell plenty of other types. From Durex Real Feel Condoms to Trojan Magnum BareSkin Condoms and everything in between.

It's also possible to enhance your pleasure with lubricants and accessories such as the Durex Intense Delight Bullet Vibrator, the Skyn Thrill Discreet Vibrating Bullet and the Durex Sensilube Intimate Moisturising Gel.

So there really is no need to reach for an expired condom when the sky has no limits.

Final word

Like all methods of contraception, condoms are not 100% effective. However, they are 98% effective as long as they are in date and used correctly. Condoms that have not expired will protect you from sexually transmitted diseases or infections.

If you want to know more about condom size and fit, click on the link. We also have more information on condoms for women and eco-friendly condoms on our sex education blog.