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Do Condoms Expire?

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Written by Geoffrey Whittaker

Published 05/20/2024

Whether they’re for pregnancy prevention, protection, or premature ejaculation management, condoms do expire.

They’re typically marked with a manufacturer-designated expiration date. After this date, it’s unwise to rely on the condom to protect you from exchanging infections and diseases, or to prevent pregnancy.

A new condom is between about 87 and 98 percent effective, but condom breaks are much more common among expired ones.

Condoms have a shelf life that helps ensure they provide effective protection against sexually transmitted diseases, infections, and unwanted pregnancy.

Condoms expire for a number of reasons, but the main explanation for the expiration date is that some element of the packaged condom product may no longer function reliably after that time. 

A condom may expire because:

  • The lubricant inside (if any) may dry or degrade by that date.

  • The condom may develop fungus or infection after that date.

  • The packaging materials like glue and plastics may no longer reliably protect the condom.

  • The material used to degrade the condom may degrade by that time.

Degraded materials may crack, leech out dangerous chemicals, or provide a fertile ecosystem for pathogens after some time.

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Condoms expire in different timeframes depending on the materials they’re made from. While most if not all types of condoms last at least a year, you can expect different shelf lives based on the material used:

The following typically last between four and five years from date of manufacture:

  • Latex condoms (spermicide may reduce shelf life)

  • Polyurethane condoms

  • Polyisoprene condoms

Typically natural condoms like sheepskin condoms or lambskin condoms made with natural materials will have a shorter shelf life of two or three years.

Defer to the manufacturer to determine how long a condom will last.

Where to Find The Expiration Date

Wondering how long your condoms are good for? It depends on the brand, but typically, a stamped expiration date or “use before” date will appear somewhere on the condom’s outer packaging. 

Condom expiration dates are often stamped along the seam where the packaging has been sealed to prevent the machine damaging the condom itself. If you don’t see the expiration date there, check in other prominent spots on the packaging. 

The year of manufacture and the expiration date are also usually printed on the box the condom came in. So if you have a condom box somewhere in the back of your closet, you can check there to determine whether your condoms are safe to use.

If you can’t find an expiration date, you’re better off getting a new condom. 

You could use an expired condom (and an expired condom may offer more protection than no condom at all), but we — and experts — don’t recommend it. 

Using condoms that have past their shelf life may risk breakage and other failures that could impact its efficacy at preventing unwanted pregnancy and diseases.

Some spermicide or lube liquids in condoms may also grow bacteria or fungi over time, which could infect you or your partner.

Each day that passes beyond the expiry date increases your risk of the condom’s failure, which could result in a visit to a sexual health clinic, a temporary or lifelong infection, or a need for emergency contraception.

Choose your chew

Storing your condom properly can help ensure it’s effective up to its expiration date — and proper storage goes beyond keeping a condom in the condom wrapper until you’re ready to use it.

Like most medicinal products, condoms should be stored out of direct sunlight and protected from extreme temperatures. Typically, it’s best to store condoms:

  • In a cool, dry place

  • At or close to room temperature

  • In a drawer, cabinet, or closet out of direct sunlight

  • Away from sharp objects that might damage the packaging or the condom itself

Experts warn against storing condoms in your pocket, wallet, car, or bathroom because those spots can get hot and steamy. 

Beyond that, where and how you store your condoms is up to you. Keeping some by your bed in a nightstand or container can be convenient. 

Signs of Damage to Look Out For

Ideally, you’re inspecting a condom before you use it. 

Once you’ve checked the expiration date, squeeze the wrapper and feel for air bubbles to ensure there aren’t any holes in the wrapper. If you feel any (or see tears, holes, leaks, or discoloration), toss it. 

Then, take the condom out of the wrapper. If it feels dry or stiff, smells foul, or has holes or tears, you’ll want to snag a new one.   

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Condoms are a key component of sexual wellness, and it’s important for anyone sexually active to learn how to safely store, use, and discard condoms.

When it comes to a condom’s shelf life, here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Condoms typically expire between one and five years after the manufacture date. Once the expiration date has passed, they can become drier and weaker — making them less effective, more likely to break, and even a potential source of infections.

  • A condom’s expiration date is usually printed on the wrapper, often on the seam where it was sealed.

  • Storing condoms in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and sharp objects can help them remain effective.

  • If a condom is expired, damaged, or seems otherwise different from the safely packaged ones you remember purchasing, it’s best to throw it away and buy a new one. They’re inexpensive compared to the consequences of not using one!

Due for some new condoms? Check out our climax control condoms and ultra thin condoms, which can help improve your confidence, enjoyment, and performance in bed. 

Our condom and aloe-based lubricant kits are great all-in-one solutions, by the way.  

3 Sources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Male (External) Condom Use.
  2. Kendall @ Planned Parenthood. (2011). What happens if you use an expired condom?
  3. Planned Parenthood. (n.d.). How effective are condoms?
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Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown is a founding member of Posterity Health where she is Medical Director and leads strategy and design of their Digital Health Platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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