Does Lube Expire and Is It Easy to Detect?

When used properly, a sex lube has the explosive potential to take your sex life to the next level of enjoyment.

Many people love to use personal lubricants, and keep them in secret places; only to take them out when their need arises.

And after that, you may hardly think of it until the next moment you want to make love. For example, when was the last time you stopped to check if your lube has a sell-by date? Most probably, you haven’t given it much thought.

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Therefore Does Lube Expire?

Yes, personal lubricants do expire. And according to data from the US Department of Food and Drug Administration, sex lubes have a shelf life that stretches from 12 months to three years.

That means beginning from the manufactured date, it can take 1 to three years before it goes bad. Thus it is crucial to keep a check on the labeling on the personal lube tube. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers specify the expiry date of their products.

What if the Sell-by Date is not Stamped on the Lube?

It isn’t uncommon to find sex lubricants with no expiry date. Accordingly, it is vital to stick to the below pieces of advice from experts;

Contact the Manufacturer

In case you can’t find the manufactured/ use before date labeling, the best move to make is to contact the manufacturer to know if the product hasn’t gone bad. Remember, lubes are used on one of the most sensitive parts. For that reason, it pays to be selective or careful on sex lubes.

Pay Attention to the Size of the Lubricant

Even when a lubricant has a long shelf life of 3 years, the lifespan is usually ideal for the product before you open it.

Once you pop open the tube and start using it, its shelf life goes down too. So, you should approximate the volume you might use regularly such that you buy a tube that you can use at most over one year.

The longer it takes after you have opened it, the higher the chances that it might go bad before the lube runs out.

Store it Properly

Having chosen wisely on the volume, the next crucial matter is how you store the personal lubricant. Ideally, ensure your storage environment is cool, dry, and maintains a room temperature (5 -30 degrees Celsius).

Besides preventing foreign particles from contaminating and speeding up its expiry, always cork the tube after every use. Also, keep the lube from direct sunlight or access by children.

However, if you spot any of the following signs and symptoms, then it’s likely your lube has gone bad and needs replacement.

Signs Your Lube Might Have Gone Bad

Change in Color

From the first time you open the lube to the moment when you use the last dreg, the product should display consistency in color. Thus anytime you want to use the lubricant, pay attention to its color.

If initially it displayed a clear and transparent color and it looks like it’s shifting to an opaque or brown color, it’s a bad sign. Stop using the product.

Emitting Unnatural Smell

Apart from maintaining its smell, a lube should also register a consistent scent before hitting the expiry date. Therefore you must take note of its smell from the first time you open it. Any drift from the initial smell gives you a reason to have doubts. Trust your instinct and sense of smell.

Change in Taste

Some lube, particularly those that find use in oral sex, has a pleasant taste. Nevertheless, when the edible lube goes bad, its state is likely to change in flavor. As soon as you notice such an alteration in taste, discontinue using the product.

For instance, if initially, the edible lube had a strawberry taste and presently registers a slightly off taste, then you have reasons to doubt it.

Accordingly, before you put any oral sex lube to full-fledged use, it’s wise to take a tiny portion and taste if it agrees with the labeling.

Drift from Uniformity

Personal lubricants all do have a particular consistent nature. They can take the form of a paste, liquid like water, or even jelly.

Thus right from the initial use, take notice of the viscosity of the lubricant. Before any subsequent use, ensure that the product remains consistent in its form; in its entirety.

And What Are the Possible Risks of Using an Expired Lube?

Decline in Performance

The performance of a personal lube is optimum within its shelf life. Hence beyond that period, you can’t count on its effectiveness since the chemical composition has changed.

Instead of providing effective lubrication for a prolonged performance, you can reap minimal or no lubrication at all.

Allergic Reactions and Irritations

The usual sex lube is friendly to the mouth and other private parts. Using an expired lubricant can ignite general discomfort to the body.

That includes rashes and hard to ignore irritations. When that happens, it feels embarrassing as you may find your hands scratching your private parts even in public places.

Considering the likelihood of lubrication failure, increased friction may result in inflammation, discomfort during and after the sex act.


Depending on the chemical composition of the lubricant, you can sustain serious yeast infections from applying an expired lube. That is especially true for silicone and oil-based lubes.

Failure of optimal lubrication and inserting lube whose chemical composition has changed (And hence PH value) increases a woman’s risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis, NBC News reports.


It is a fact that lubes do expire, and hence it is crucial to pay attention to a lube’s expiry date or shelf life. Remember the lubricants do find use on some of the most sensitive parts of the body.

Once a lubricant has gone bad, its PH value, chemical composition, and effectiveness in lubrication changes too.

Consequently, continuing to use such a product predisposes you to risks of infections. So before picking the lube from the shelf check on its sell-by date. After that, from time to time, confirm that date.

Or better still, buy a small tube that you can deplete within few months!

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