Pepper spray is an excellent self defense tool anyone can be trained to use easily and effectively. During an attack or a potential attack, pepper spray can help you save your life or the life of another! However, there are a few things many people don’t know about pepper spray including the fact it doesn’t last forever.
Expiration Dates of Pepper Spray
To make it easier on consumers, most pepper spray canisters (we carry MACE, Pepper Shot and Wildfire brands) have expiration dates stamped on the bottom or somewhere on the product. The reason these dates are on the product is not because the main ingredient (OC) will degrade over time, but because the canister itself may not be able to spray as effectively over time.
In fact, after a while it may not be able to spray at all. This is due to the fact the aerosol propellant used with the OC ingredient may leak out and make the act of spraying impossible. This type of leakage is seen in all canister sizes, but even more so in smaller sizes. Since the distance of the pepper spray is vital to the product’s use, always pay attention to the expiration dates.
Testing Your Pepper Spray
Even if your pepper spray product or canister is well within the limits of the expiration date stamped on it, it’s still important to test the product periodically. Experts believe you should test your spray every 90-180 days. Of course, remember that with each test there will be less contents in the canister afterward. If you have a small canister like a key chain, you may need to replace it every 12-18 months if you test it regularly, just to ensure it will contain spray if you need it.
To test your pepper spray, head outside on a non-windy day. Be sure to see which way the breeze is blowing and stand upwind. Press the spray button for .5 seconds. Do this every 90-180 days to ensure your product is in working condition.
Storing Pepper Spray: Environment and Temperature Limits
It’s important you properly store your pepper spray at room temperature. It should be kept away from children and not left in a car during high temperatures (it can leak). Extreme hot and cold should be avoided and can cause the product to leak or work less effectively. We recommend not leaving pepper spray in your car due to the extreme temperatures a car’s interior can reach. When you leave the car the best place for your pepper spray is WITH YOU! Keeping pepper spray on a key chain is a good way to ensure that it will always been in proper storing temperatures (not left in the car). The best way to store your spray is in an easy to reach location you can quickly get to in case of emergency. For example, if you jog alone you might want to carry it in your hand as you’re jogging. There are many different types of spray products for various different everyday activities, to help you with this challenge.
Remember, even if you don’t use your pepper spray it’s a good idea to replace it every 12-18 months. If you’re testing it regularly you may need to replace it even more often. Often this may mean throwing away non-empty canisters. But, don’t get discouraged. It’s a good thing if you aren’t using it and tend to throw away unused canisters. That means you’re staying safe!