How Long Are Condoms Good For After Manufacture?
The surest way of avoiding getting pregnant or getting infected with an STI is through abstinence. However, condoms offer couples with an option of enjoying sex while at the same time avoiding pregnancy or protecting themselves from STIs since sex is more fun when you are not worried about getting pregnant or getting an STI.
Just like most products, condoms also have expiration dates. “How long are condoms good for before they expire?” You may ask.
Since most condoms are made of latex, most people find it weird that even condoms can expire. Other materials used to make condoms include lambskin, polyurethane and polyisoprene.
Condoms usually have two dates that are always printed on them to help you determine how long it will be good for use. The first one is always then expiry date (EXP) which is usually the date after which you should cease to use that condom. The second date is the date of manufacture (MFG).
The date of manufacture will let you know for how long the condom should be suitable for use. Usually, latex condoms can last up to 5 years after the date they were manufactured. However, if the latex condoms have spermicide, they will have a shorter lifespan of up to two years since the spermicides usually weaken the latex, making it degrade faster. Just don’t confuse the date of expiry with the date of manufacture.
It is important to note that condoms may lose their efficiency even before their set date of expiry if they are not stored properly. Manufacturers always recommend that condoms should be stored somewhere cool and dry such as your bedside table or in your medical cabinet. When stored in places like a wallet, car or in the pocket, they are likely to break down very fast before their due date of expiry.
You and your partner should always check on the sides of the condom packet for the date of manufacture or the date of expiry before you proceed to use one. If you are unsure about the age of a condom, it’s better to discard it and go for a new one. An out of date condom is likely to lead to condom failure which will expose both you and your partner to unwanted pregnancies or even STIs. Expired condoms will always be brittle, sticky or have an unusual colour.
It’s also good to always buy condoms with the latest dates of manufacture. Here are other dates that may be given by manufacturers and what they mean:
• “Sell by” is the date when the product should be pulled off from the shelves.
• “Use by” is the date after which the product should not be used.
Signs that a Condom is No Longer Safe for Use
You should not blindly pick any condom from the shelves since you trust that they are safe for use because that particular shop is still putting them on the shelves. You should check for signs that the condom has expired before you take it home:
Check the Condition of the Outside Packaging of the Condom
Since what you see is what you get, anything unusual on the condom foil is likely to be an indicator that what’s inside may not be good for you. Things like tears, rips or stains should be enough to discourage you from buying a condom that is only going to leave you with regrets after that electrifying feat with your partner.
A new condom should have no holes or rips on the surface of their foils.
The Texture of the Condom
It’s true that all condoms are lubricated. However, if the condoms feel too sticky when you touch them or look too watery, then drop it and go for another one. This is because the chances are high that the condom has ceased to be useful and will now be a liability to you.
Check for Unpleasant Odour
Though you will agree with me that non-scented condoms don’t smell that nice, you will know if a condom has expired by how awful it will smell. If you or your partner opens it up and are met with an unpleasant odour, it should be a sign that you should not be using it anymore. If you go ahead and use it in such a condition, you may both end up getting sick or suffer from allergic reactions.
Look Out for Holes and Weak Areas
Before putting on a condom after taking it out of its package, you should check its tip just to make sure that there are no holes in it. While you are unrolling it, check to see if there are any holes or weak spots on the condom’s surface. Should you come across any brittle areas or any holes, throw away the condom for a new one.
What are Some of the Common Condom Mistakes?
Condoms are handy to have around whenever you are turned on to protect you from unwanted pregnancies. They will also ensure that you don’t become part of the statistics of people who get infected with STIs annually, which currently stands at 19 million worldwide. Here are some of the mistakes that you should not be making as far as condoms are concerned.
- Not checking for visible damage: Around 75% of people don’t usually check for damages on condoms before using them, so, to be safe, ensure that you are among the 25% that are always careful.
- Not checking the expiration date: According to Kinsley Institute Report, 61% of lovers don’t bother to check for that little date printed on the condom package.
- Not leaving room at the top: It’s recommended that when putting on a condom, it’s good to leave space at the tip of the condom for semen. If no space is left, there are high chances that the condom is going to break.
Condoms are very important tools for preventing unwanted pregnancies and contraction of STIs. Just like other products, they also have a lifespan after which they cease to be effective. The average lifespan of condoms is between four to five years if they are spermicide free and one to two years if they have spermicide.
However, condoms that are not properly handled and stored may get damaged before their expiry dates. You should, therefore, handle them properly for them to last longer. Any other questions on how long a condom should use condoms last? Please let us know in the comment section.