I daily get rubber bands, I collect them and store it in one of shelves so that I could use them later.

At certain times, when I require it for use, they would have changed their form to a sticky- type band which makes me throw the entire collection to waste pit. When widened, they will break up.

Ultimately, I will have to go for other means. Is there any hack to prevent this so that I can start stocking it again?

Office purpose rubber band I mentioned is this one:

office purpose rubber bands

  • 1
    No matter how you store them, they'll still become unusable not long after you start using them—unless you use them under the same conditions as you used to store them. For longer term use, my hack is use string. Good luck.
    – Stan
    Jan 25, 2021 at 19:30

7 Answers 7


Rubber-band get sticky because they oxidize. A similar question was asked on physics:

Is there any way to increase a rubber-bands lifetime?

It has a very good answer, but to summarize it: "Keep them in a dark and cool place (away from light and oxygen as much as possible)".

  • 1
    Would it help to put them in plastic bags as well, to limit oxygen? And what about vacuum-sealed bags? (There are consumer vacuum-seal systems available for storing food and for storing clothes.) Dec 29, 2016 at 17:26
  • Never tried yet Dec 29, 2016 at 17:28
  • 1
    I'll mention that exercise bands often say - keep in a zip lock bag, out of direct light (drawer), press much of the air out and dust with baby powder to reduce stickiness. Jan 7, 2017 at 2:30

Rubber bands become brittle with age due not so much to oxidation but rather to evaporation of volatiles in the rubber/plastic material they are made of. These volatile parts of their plastic/rubber components are what keep them soft and flexible, and the loss of them causes them to become stiff and break as they age.

Keeping rubber bands in unopened or otherwise airtight packaging and then storing the package in cool locations will slow this evaporation and thus aging/brittleness. This is why rubber bands don't normally go bad in their original package but do so when stored loose after opening. You see the same behavior in the rubber (paper) pickup rollers inside laser printers which become less soft/flexible and 'sticky' to paper over time inside a printer, but stay 'fresh' for years while sealed inside their original packaging prior to installation.

I have not tested this yet, but sealing rubber bands inside an airtight freezer bag (with the air squeezed out) and then storing this in a freezer will probably slow or stop any evaporation of these volatiles if long term storage is desired. In general, colder temperatures slow or stop many chemical and physical processes, which is why freezers are good for food preservation.


Keep them under water in a sealed container.

Water will retard the outgassing of volatile solvents in the rubber and help keep them supple for a longer period of time.

  • Could you add some more detail to this answer? It's been automatically flagged as low-quality. Jan 5, 2017 at 1:26

Has anyone considered storing your rubber bands in a refrigerated jar covered in mineral oil to keep them fresh and pliable?

  • 1
    Welcome Bob. Have you tried this technique? Jan 27, 2021 at 22:02
  • Yes, this is a common method of long-term storage, and it's not even necessary to refregirate: just keep in the dark area. I have a 30-year-old jar of rubber bands filled with castor oil, and the rubber is still in good condition. But it's not terribly handy for daily use.
    – Zeus
    Oct 4, 2021 at 0:38

Non-latex rubber bands are suppose to last longer. You can find them online and at some brick-and-mortar stores.


Store rubber bands in any container but shoot some butane or propane into the container to replace the oxygen in the air.


Add baby powder or talcum powder to the (box, bag, etc.) that the rubber bands are stored. Rubber glove makers have been doing this for decades.

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