3 Things to Do With Expired Condoms

Handy tips that actually work

Condoms are used to prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted diseases. When used correctly every time you have sex, condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy, however, few people use them perfectly, so they are realistically 85% effective.

Condoms have an expiration date after which they are not safe to use as protection. The expiration date can be found on the packaging, both on the box and on the individual wrapper. Most condoms have a shelf life of three to five years depending on the material used. Natural condoms, like lambskin, break down faster than synthetic materials, such as latex. 

It is not safe to use condoms after the expiration date for protection against STDs and pregnancy because they may not be effective. In addition, using condoms with spermicide after their expiration date may lead to skin irritation. 

Prior to using any condom, check the packaging to ensure it is not damaged or expired. If it is, do not use it. Condoms can degrade from heat and humidity, such as in a bathroom or car, and should be stored in a cool, dry place. in a safe place away from heat and humidity, which may cause it to break down. 

While expired condoms should not be used for sexual intercourse, you don't have to throw them out. Condoms can be handy for other things. Here are three uses for expired condoms.

Make Sex Toy Play Safer

Condom and Sex Toy
Elizabeth R. Boskey

One of the best uses of an expired condom is to make sex toy play safer. If you share sex toys with a partner, such as a dildo or a vibrator, you should never pass them from one person to the next without first ensuring the toy is sanitized and free of possible contagions, including fecal matter.

One way to do so is to "glove up" your toys in the same way you would a penis. The expiration date doesn't matter nearly as much when used in this fashion since there is no significant downside to a breakage (other than having to clean the toy sooner and more thoroughly).

When using condoms with sex toys, they should be put on the toy before use and discarded and changed between partners.

Swapping out a condom is far easier than having to stop and sanitize a toy that you want to share in the heat of the moment.

Waterproof Your Belongings

Condoms in Factory
Luis Davilla/Getty Images

Most people don't think of condoms as being essential for camping or other outdoor activities, but condoms are meant to provide a water-tight barrier so that fluids cannot enter or leave.

Despite the fact that condoms appear delicate, they are extremely elastic and can easily cover a cell phone to prevent moisture damage when on a boating trip. Just roll it over your electronics and tie a knot to seal it. You can also use them when packing for a trip to store items that may leak, like mouthwash or lotion, or items you want to keep dry, like medications.

Protect Your Hands

Patrick Foto/Getty Images

Let's say that you dropped your keys into the toilet or need to clean out a really yucky clogged drainpipe or gutter. If you find that you neither had a pair of gloves handy nor the time to run out to buy some, you can protect your hands by tugging out a condom and slipping it over your hand.

Sure, it's not the most robust hand protector you'll ever find, but condoms are far stronger than most people imagine. If needed, you can even double up with two (something you should never do during sex).

Some people will even use them to protect their hands when mixing colored plaster for art projects or preparing raw beets that can readily stain hands.

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Article Sources

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contraception: birth control methods. Updated November 1, 2019

  2. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: Labeling for Natural Rubber Latex Condoms Classified Under 21 CFR 884.5300. Updated October 23, 2019.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to use a male condom. Updated July 6, 2016