By Catriona Harvey-Jenner
We all know food requires a ‘best before’ date – because, well, who wants to eat mouldy meals – but here’s a thing I definitely wasn’t aware of: tampons also have an expiry date. I feel like this is quite important information, because whoknows how long some of the tampons in my cupboard have been there, as I like to stock up in batches.
We spoke to Affi Parvizi-Wayne, founder of organic tampon company Freda, to get the lowdown:
As Affi explained, “the lifespan of all tampons are said to be 5 years” and she advised that women shouldn’t use tampons after this length of time, even if they don’t look any different to freshly-bought ones. “We recommend that women don’t use out of date tampons even if they look fine, because mould can be hidden on the applicators which may lead to irritating symptoms and infection,” the founder said.
Tampons will likely only be visibly mouldy if the seal has been broken and bacteria enters the packaging, however, which is actually nothing to do with the expiry date. If this has happened, Affi explains you might notice “discolouration, a smell and mouldy patches”. Nice.
You may never have spotted it before, but Tampax tampons – one of the most widely distributed synthetic brands in this country – do display an expiry date on their outer packaging. One on side of the box you will find two dates – one is the date of the tampons’ production, and the other is the month and year they’ll expire. As you can see below, this particular pack is practically fresh off the factory belt.
Organic tampons, however, aren’t required to specify an expiry date on their packaging.
The good news is, five years is a long time. It’s likely you’ll get through even the biggest of tampon stashes in half a decade, meaning your sanitary products probably won’t go to waste.
But now you know and you can double check how old your shop-bought tampons are before you purchase them.