Do Tampons Expire? What You Need to Know

Do Tampons Expire What You Need to Know

Tampons are the sanitary products that are not sealed and packaged as sterile products. Amongst the various products in the market to use during the menstrual flow time, tampons are one of the most popular ones (1).

However, it is important to know the safety procedure while using tampons as they are inserted inside the body. If you want to start using tampons during periods and want to know if tampons expire, then we have come to your rescue.

Shelf Life of Tampons

Shelf Life of Tampons

If left undisturbed in the package, the tampons have a shelf life of approximately five years (2). During this time, it should not have been exposed to excessive moisture.

As they are not made of cotton and not sealed as sterile products, there is a probability of mold and bacteria growing on them. You need to keep in mind that molds are not always visible to the naked eye, so even if the tampons look fresh, you need to check their manufacturing date to avoid using infected tampons (3). 

At times, the applicator may also hide the molds, so it is of pertinent importance that only freshly made tampons are used.

How Long Are Tampons Good For?

The quality of tampons may degrade before they actually expire when not stored properly. Therefore, knowing the right way to keep them can help last tampons for long. 

1. Proper Storage: To keep tampons usable for a long time, store them in a cabinet in a cool, dry place. 

It is advisable not to store them in the bathroom as it is a breeding ground for bacteria. The humid condition of the bathroom most times may lead to bacterial spores production that may settle on the tampons (4). 

To keep tampons safe, you can keep them in your cupboard or other storage units.

2. Keep away from infectious objects: Other foreign materials like dust and perfume are also causes that may result in a bacterial infection on the tampons (5). If infected with any foreign unwanted particle, the shelf life of tampons may be reduced.

3. Keep in their original package: It is also important that you keep them in their original package to reduce contamination risk. Keeping them in the purse for weeks may result in the ripping of their package that makes them susceptible to infections.

How To Check If A Tampon Has Expired?

There is no visible sign that may indicate if the tampon is fresh unless the bacterial infection has gone very bad, and it clearly shows on the tampon. It will likely be visibly moldy if the seal has broken or if dirt and debris have entered the package.

Most branded tampons do not have a precise date of expiry. Some even claim that their tampons last for a lifetime. However, keeping simple science in mind, one can always say that there are chances of infection in the tampons if not stored properly.

It is important that you check the manufacturing date to calculate the expiry period, keeping in mind that it takes around five years for tampons to stay fresh. 

If you want to use a brand that does not show an expiry date, mark the package with a marker indicating the purchase date- particularly if you’re going to make a bulk purchase.

In no condition should you use a tampon if you suspect any of the following conditions-

  • Odour
  • Discoloration
  • Mold patches 

Harmful Effects Of Using An Expired Tampon

Using a moldy tampon may result in itching. It may also increase vaginal discharge. Most times, this condition resolves itself as the vagina results in its natural pH level after the periods.

In rare cases, using expired tampons may result in toxic shock syndrome (TSS). This occurs when the tampon is left for a longer duration than recommended in the vagina or has expired. During toxic shock syndrome, bacterial toxins get into the bloodstream and may result in serious health issues. Keep in mind that TSS, if not diagnosed properly, can be fatal.

If you experience symptoms like headache, body pain, diarrhea, high fever, vomiting, nausea, fainting, dizziness, or breathing difficulties, get warned. 

Sometimes, this infection may also lead to rashes, a confusing state of mind, peeling of the skin, low blood pressure, organ failure, or seizure. If these symptoms last for more than a few days, you must take medical advice. The doctor will be prescribed antibiotics to fight off the infections.

Precautions To Take While Using Tampons

  • Wash hands both before and after using the tampon.
  • Use the tampon that is of the lowest absorbency during the menstrual flow.
  • Change tampons regularly as indicated in the packaging.
  • Use only one tampon at a time
  • Use tampons only during menstruation flow. Once the periods end, discontinue the use of tampons.
  • You can alternate tampons with other menstrual products like sanitary napkins or menstrual cups.


To have a safe experience of using tampons, ensure that you purchase tampons that have been recently manufactured. Always check the tampons to see any visible signs of mold. Smell the tampon before inserting, as that can also indicate if there is any infection. 

If the tampon packaging doesn’t come with an expiry date, check the manufacturing date and write down the date of the purchase on the package with a permanent marker. 

Store the tampons in a dry place and discard the ones having broken seals or are showing any sign of mold. In case you observe any unpleasant experience after using a tampon, visit the doctor. 

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