Self defense substances

Is Expired Pepper Spray Still Effective?

July 2, 2019April 2, 2020

You need to pay attention to the expiration date. Most pepper sprays have the expiration date mentioned on the canister which is usually 2 to 4 years from the manufacturing date.

The formula is very concentrated from the time of its manufacture. Over time, the effectiveness decreases. Never use expired pepper spray, it can be dangerous. (check the cheapest ones on Amazon).

What happens with Expired pepper spray?

When pepper spray passes its expiry date, it tends to wear off quickly. The formula doesn’t work effectively and won’t prove useful as a self-defense weapon.

The range of the spray falls short and the spray won’t be able to reach far. It’s not at all recommended by authorities to use an expired pepper spray in a dangerous situation. It won’t affect the attacker or buy you time to defend yourself differently.

Also, canister itself is likely to hinder the ability to spray as effectively over time. As a matter of fact, you won’t be able to spray at all. This is because of the fact that aerosol propellant used together with OC ingredient may start leaking out.

This type of dripping is seen in all sorts of canister sizes; even you will find more in smaller sizes. Hence, if you use keychain pepper spray you must pay heed to the expiration date more closly.

If you want to learn more about pepper spray, read this informative article.

What can you do to Ensure spray will Work when you need it?

Test the product

Even if your pepper spray canister is within limits of its expiry, still it’s crucial to test the product from time to time. There are many experts who recommend testing of pepper spray every 90-180 days.

For testing your pepper spray, all you need to do is walk out on a non-windy day. See where the wind is blowing and stand towards the side exposed to wind. Press the spray button for at least one seconds. Perform the same every 90-180 days to make sure your pepper spray is in working condition.

Temperature and storage

There are also certain temperature and storage limits you need to consider. Make sure to store your pepper spray in a cool dry area away from high temperatures, hot flames or intense light.

Avoid keeping it in an environment where the temperature is likely to exceed 120 degrees F (50 degrees C) such as an enclosed vehicle. This is because leakage of pepper spray cartridge may take place from over pressurization.

Similarly, avoid storing the product in a cold environment that’s less than 32 degrees F (0 degrees C). This may result in depressurization.

Replace it with a new one

If you’re not using your pepper spray, it’s recommended to replace it every 12-18 months. And, if you’re testing it frequently, then you need to replace it more often. Check out pepper spray with 4 years shelf life.

If you have some expired pepper spray you might want to know how to dispose of it, in the next chapter you can inform yourself about that.

How to dispose of Expired or used Pepper spray?

There are two ways to discard this popular chemical weapon.

The simplest and safest way is to carry off the canister out, clasp it at arm’s length, and spray it against any rock or concrete. Continue to spray until the canister is empty. Once you’re done, you can dispose of this empty can in your regular trash.

Spray doesn’t cause any discoloration to the concrete and when you put an empty can of spray in trash, there’s no likelihood of explosion in your garage or when sanitation engineer dumps it into his garbage truck.

Similarly, there’s another method for throwing away unused or expired pepper spray. In this method, you don’t need to empty the canister yourself.

Instead, place the canister along with its remaining contents into a heavy-duty plastic storage bag, and zip lock it tightly. Then, throw away the bag with the can into a standard plastic garbage bag. This way you can prevent any slim chance of can bursting before it ends up in a landfill.

Hence, it’s a rule of thumb, if your pepper spray is empty; it is safe to throw away in trash. If it is not empty, there are chances that canister can explode. I strongly recommend that you use first method, it is way safer.

Besides implementing the mentioned methods, you can bring your partially full or unused canister to your local hazardous waste collection site. Also, check if your city has a special ordinance for pepper spray disposal.


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