General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

When do band-aids go bad? When does the sticky stuff stop being sticky?

Asked by elbanditoroso (28676points) April 2nd, 2012

I cut my finger last night while slicing some vegetables for a salad. Silly me.

I went to the medicine cabinet and found two boxes of band-aids. One was purchased in 2005 (maybe 2006) in London, England. The other was from probably 2009 here in the US.

The British ones had lost all of their stickiness and came off my finger in less than a minute. Poor. (I tried 2–3 of them before I gave up)

The American one stuck immediately and (today, the following morning) is still holding fast.

So, my questions:

a) Did the British band-aids fail on account of age? (a couple of years older) or are they less well made?

b) How long should domestic band-aids last before they lose their stickiness?

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6 Answers

Judi's avatar

I’ll bet that there is probably something toxic in the American glue that makes it stickier, but has been banned in the EU. Just a guess though.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It has to do with the quality of the product and not where they are manufactured. Here in the US, I’ve used several different brands of self-adhesive bandages. Even new, some don’t adhere as well as others. It also probably has to do with the wrapper. Some brands provide well-wrapped products, thus limiting the amount of exposure to air, which will reduce the adhesive factor over time.

My SO lives in the UK. Recently, we used some “plasters” (their term for adhesive bandages) that are a couple of years old. They had to be peeled off, even after a couple of days.

marinelife's avatar

Several years.

thorninmud's avatar

It really depends on the nature of the pressure-sensitive adhesive used. Some use a rubber-based adhesive that oxidizes over time, especially at higher storage temperatures, and break down with exposure to light. Others use acrylic adhesives that don’t oxidize and are more light-resistant.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have fabric type bandaids that are at least 10 years old and they still work fine.

YARNLADY's avatar

It depends on the quality of the product. I bought some cheap ones at Dollar Tree and they barely would stick when I got them home, and the sticky strip covers stayed stuck to the band aid when we tried to use them.

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