Do Paintball Expire? How to Store Paintball to Not Go Bad

Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by Jezus Fischer

Like every other thing, paintball Ammo comes with a certain expiry date. So if you are eager to know that do paintball expires, then the answer is, yes they do so. Paintball Ammos have a shelf life of about 4-6 months. This means, during this tenure, you can use these paintballs in leagues and tournaments.

Paintballs are made up of non-toxic material that has biodegradable paint inside which degrades with time. Therefore paintballs do go bad with time. Luckily by following certain steps you can enhance the shelf life of paintball. Cleaning the marker barrel with a ball break is far difficult than following these simple steps. This article will disclose all the relevant and useful information about how long do paintballs last.

Do Paintballs Expire

Let’s come to the point.

Do Paintballs Really Go Bad?

Paintballs go bad with time and the reason is their manufacturing material. It has a spherical capsule that is made up of gelatin and the source of gelatin might be animal or vegetable. Next, inside the gelatin capsule, it contains liquid colored which is a mixture of dye and polyethylene glycol. So one cannot deny the fact that the paintballs are perishable.

Therefore, Paintballs DO Expire but after some time like 3-6 months. Luckily this expiry time varies from paintballs to paintballs. Some paintballs have a life of up to 1 year. The reason is, every manufacturer uses different materials to manufacture paintballs. But the bottom line is the same, paintball expires! They are not long-lasting items.

How you will get to know that your Paintballs Have Expired?

Expiry and manufacturing dates are mentioned on the paintball packaging, but who keeps that packaging after using paintball. So the best approach is to note down the expiry date on your smartphone. But what if you are using paintballs given by your friend? For this, you must have absolute information about the sign and symptoms of paintball expiry. We know you don’t want to spoil your paintball marker with broken paintball. So look for the following signs in paintball;

  • Check for some soft spots on the paintball
  • See, if there are any dimples or dents on the paintball
  • Paintball will no longer have a spherical shape rather it has transformed into an oblong shape or egg shape
  • Feel it, it will have a hard outer shell like a rock
  • Bought paintball more than a year ago
  • Paintballs are out of zip lock bags or their packaging

If the answer to the above checks list is “NO”, then the last step is to check for a drop test. Just drop paintball from elbow height to any person two to three times, if it breaks then it means paintballs can be used and are not expired yet.

What if we used Paintballs?

Just like cosmetics and medicines, using expired paintballs can have many consequences. Of course, you are not consuming it but they spoil the true fun of your game. Here we have gathered some general problems that are associated with expired paintballs.

Expired Paintball may bounce:

In normal circumstances paintballs don’t bounce rather they rupture on an impact. But when someone tries to play with old paintball they experience bounciness. This is possible due to the gelatin shell which absorbs moisture and causes the paintball to swell. This way it bounces a lot. Such type of paintball is even hard to shoot from any marker, so don’t use it.

Expired paintball becomes soft or brittle:

Humidity, temperature, and dryness affect the paintball. In hot temperatures, paintballs become squishy and soft. Whereas, paintball becomes brittle in too cold temperature. And if you forget your paintballs for more than a year where they experience cold and hot temperatures, there will be dimples and divots on the balls. That means paintballs expand and contract frequently in cold and hot temperatures on regular basis.

Expire paintballs may clog barrel:

Well, this is one of the most irritating problems. When lower quality paintball expires it becomes fragile and breaks in the barrel. Whereas when high quality of wetted paintball expires, they become dry. Both types of paintball ammos when expires, clogs the marker’s barrel.

How to increase the Shelf Life of Paintball:

Avoid contact with moisture:

First and the foremost factor that increases the shelf life of paintballs is to keep them dry. Avoid contact with any wet and moisture environment. Paintballs are made up of gelatin with a mixture of dye and polyethylene glycol filled inside. Technically speaking, paintball has water-soluble nature which will degrade when it comes in contact with water or moisture.

Therefore, store leftover or unused paintballs in a sealed and air-tight container that has a tight lid.

Avoid contact with UV lights:

Sun rays or UV rays can damage the toughest stuff, so paintballs are just a small thing. When paintballs are exposed to sun rays for a long time, the lethal UV rays break down the chemical composition of the shell. This may lead to thinning of the shell. Such type of UV rays exposed paintball may end up with barrel clog.

Another side of the picture is, some paintballs may become brittle because of dehydration in sunlight. Remember, using dried paintballs is pretty dangerous, as they will hit like a rock and cause serious injuries. So it’s better to store them in an area where there is no exposure to sunlight.

Avoid extreme temperatures:

Paintballs tend to deteriorate at extreme temperatures whether cold or hot. The reason is their chemical composition and internal filling. If paintballs are exposed to extremely cold temperatures they will transform into stiff and brittle paintballs. Similarly, if the too hot temperature is provided to paintballs for a long time, they will become soft and fragile. That’s why it is advisable to store paintballs at a temperature between 60 to 85F.

By avoiding above mentioned conditions you can increase the shelf life of your paintballs.

How to Store Paintballs:

One of the biggest concerns of paintballers is how to store paintballs properly so that they won’t spoil before time. Usually, passionate paintballers buy paintballs in bulk and use them from time to time. But they forget that paintballs are invincible and perishable items. That’s why they require proper storage conditions so that you can get maximum fun out of paintballs.

Firstly, when you buy paintball, read the storage instructions written on the bag completely. Many manufacturers provide detailed storing instructions on the package. But some paintballs come without any storage guidelines. Follow our general storage instructions for paintball.

General storage conditions:

  • Dry and cool place is the best place to store paintball.
  • Rotate or shuffle paintballs from time to time.
  • Store at a temperature range of 60F to 85F.
  • Use a 4mm thick plastic bag to keep paintballs. You can also store in pods/tubes with a snug-fitting cap.
  • If you are storing it in the container, select a container with an air-tight light.
  • Keep balls protected from indirect or direct sun rays.
  • Keep at a place that has 40% to 50% of Relative humidity.
  • Do not put paintball in the freezer; it will freeze the paint and spoil the whole game.


Using expired paintballs for paintballing is just like using blunt knives. Paintballing is a sport that is full of thrills and excitement. Enjoy it by using properly stored paintballs. Using expired and old paintballs will give you episodes of frustration during the game only. So it’s better to properly dispose-off in recycle bin.

Remember to keep your paintballs in an air-tight container in a dry and cool place, and protect it from direct sunlight.