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Yes, at-home COVID tests do expire

Now that free at-home tests are harder to come by, may have tests stored for future use.

ATLANTA — Now that free at-home COVID tests are harder to come by you might be wondering how long those tests stored in your closet will last.


Do at-home COVID-19 tests have an expiration date?


This is true.

Yes, at-home COVID tests will expire.


  • The Centers for Disease Control
  • The Food and Drug Administration
  • Dr. Jose Cordero, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the University of Georgia

What we found

Dr. Cordero said before using an at-home test, be sure to check the box.

You should see an expiration date just like the one on a carton of eggs.

“There are many different manufacturers and they may have different lives so it varies,” Dr. Cordero explained. “If you’re buying one be sure you’re buying one that actually has the longest expiration date.”

The FDA also notes that components of the test break down over time.

There’s no guarantee of an accurate result with a test after its expiration date.

“The efficacy of this product declines so the worst that can happen is that you would be positive but the test shows negative,” said Dr. Cordero.

Manufacturers do stability tests that can take a while. The FDA used those tests to update expiration dates for some brands. Thirty-five different tests are approved by the FDA. Some are good for as little as four to six months. The majority are good for a year to a year-and-a-half. Some are good from 20 months to two years.

The expiration date on one of the tests you have may have been updated by the FDA. Check here to see the updates so you can know if your test is still good or not.

So we can Verify that at-home COVID tests don’t last forever, but the expiration date all depends on the brand.

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