Nothing lasts forever; like all great things, condoms have a shelf life and 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 and to keep you protected from sexually transmitted infections and other unplanned consequences.
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?
- Expiration date - How to get the most out of your condom
- Where can I find the condom's expiration date?
- Can you use an expired condom?
- Waste not, want not - expired condom uses
- Choose the right condom for the job
- Final word
How long do condoms last?
How long your condoms will last depends on a number of factors, including the condom materials and poor condom storage can cause damage prior to the expiry, for example, if they are kept in direct sunlight.
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.
What about artificial rubber condoms?
The same life span applies to artificial latex, such as polyisoprene and polyurethane latex. Polyurethane condoms and polyisoprene condoms are good alternatives for people who have latex allergies.
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.
Some peer reviewed studies revealed that many people preferred the lambskin condoms.
Other circumstances can shorten the life of your condom before you even take it out of the packet. Like, incorrect storage or damage to the condom wrapper.
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?
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.
Different kinds of condoms
There are three main types of condom materials:
- Synthetic (non-latex)
Around 80% of condoms are latex and made from natural rubber, while synthetic condoms are commonly used by people with latex allergies. Lambskin condoms are less commonly used and do not protect against STIs.
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 of new condoms. 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 name brands like Durex. 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 from the popular Skyn brand 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 and lots of fun new condom designs for added pleasure.
New condom designs and brands
Condom designs have come on massively in recent years and you can now enjoy using condoms that are odourless and tasteless, or ribbed condoms for extra pleasure. The old favourite Mates condoms are also still best sellers.
You might not have heard about Vitalis condoms, which have become a leading brand supplying fruit flavoured condoms and even warming condoms.
Fancy a little performance boost? You could try the EXS Delay Spray and Performance Enhancer.
We know you probably have lots of questions about using your condoms safely, so we you can find further information in our expert blogs. You can find the answer to some of the most common questions we get in the links below:
Can you flush condoms down the toilet?
It is harmful to the environment to flush condoms down the toilet and it can also cause blockages. It is better to dispose of condoms in the waste instead. Read our blog for more information about the issues caused by flushing condoms down the toilet.
How to put on a condom?
Putting on a condom is not the easiest to do. but practice makes perfect. Make sure you have the right size of condom and carefully open the condom to avoid ripping it.
You should only try to put a condom on when your penis is erect, by keeping the tip of the condom squeezed between your fingers while rolling the condom down your penis. Read our step-by-step guide to putting on a condom.
Does lube expire? - how to tell when it's too old
Yes, lube does expire so it is check the expiry date and check for any signs that lube has expired before the expiry date. For example, if there is a change in colour or smell or the consistency changes, it is time to buy some new lube.
Do condoms prevent STDs?
As well as preventing unwanted pregnancies, condoms play a vital role in preventing STDs but they are not 100% effective. Read our blog to find out how you can help to prevent STDs by using condoms correctly.
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.