Shelf Life vs. Service Life in Rubber Products

By Shi Hwang

It is important to know how long your products will last, both on the shelf and in service. Therefore I have created a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning shelf life and service life in rubber products. Feel free to visit our Rubber Storage Conditions page for more specific information on how to store your rubber products.

Question 1: How close to the end of the expiration date of the shelf life can rubber products be used?

—Answer: It depends on the storage conditions, which can affect the quality and shelf life of rubber products. If stored under the most suitable conditions, it could be used through or even beyond the expiration date of its shelf life. Bad storage conditions can shorten the expected shelf life.

Rubber products should be stored in a dry cool place and should be protected from light, moisture, oxygen, heat, ozone, any chemicals and deformation. Storage temperature should be below 25°C however, below 15°C is preferable.

Shelf life does not guarantee the quality of a product; therefore, rubber products should remain in storage for as short time as possible. During storage, rubber products can undergo changes in physical properties and ultimately become unusable.

If the shelf life has expired, rubber products should be carefully evaluated for possible use as originally intended before discarding products solely based on the suggested shelf life.

Question 2: Is the shelf life an issue for storage only or usage?

—Answer: It is an issue for storage only. Shelf life is one issue and service life is another. However, one should keep in mind that storage conditions can affect the service life of rubber products.

Question 3: What is the recommended shelf life of various polymers?

—Answer: The recommended shelf life generally associated with products fabricated from various polymers is listed below and is based on information provided in MIL-HDBK-695D Military Standardization Handbook Rubber Products: Recommended Shelf Life. These numbers represent average shelf life under normal dry/cool storage conditions and should be used for guidance purposes only. Shelf life varies depending on product specifications and compound design. For recommended shelf life of specific WARCO compounds, please contact our Technical Department at (714) 532-3355 or email us at

Feel free to visit our Rubber Storage Conditions page for more specific information on how to store your rubber products.

Trade Name
Type of
Rubber Polymer
ASTM D 1418
ASTM D 2000
Shelf Life*
SiliconeSiliconeQFE, GETA20 years
Nitrile, Buna-NAcrylonitrile-butadieneNBRBF, BG, BK, CHSB5 to 15 years
ButylIsobutylene-isopreneIIRAA, BARS
NeoprenePolychloropreneCRBC, BASC
EPDM, EP RubberEthylene-propyleneEPDMBA, CARS
HydrinEpichlorohydrinCO, ECOCHSB
SBRStyrene-butadieneSBRAA, BARS3 to 5 years
Natural RubberPolyisopreneNRAARN
Synthetic Natural RubberPolyisopreneIRAARN
Neoprene (Commercial Grade)------BCSC
Nitrile, Buna-N (Commercial Grade)Acrylonitrile-butadieneNBRBF, BGSB

*The recommended shelf life pertains to vulcanized products and may vary based on polymer type and formulation.

Visit Our Polymers Page For More Specific Information about Specific Polymers

If you have any specific questions, email your questions to or you may contact us directly at (714) 532-3355.