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How to Store Condoms: Expert Advice and Tips

Condoms are an effective form of birth control that can prevent lots of common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s important to take a little care of your condoms so they can take care of your sexual health.

Condoms are tested to rigorous standards, and they’re usually extremely reliable. But if they’re not stored and carried correctly, they can be damaged, which can allow fluids that can cause pregnancy to pass through. Even damage that isn’t visible to the naked eye can make condoms ineffective.

First things first — condoms have an expiration date, so check the date on the packaging and use the ones that expire soonest first. Expired condoms might not be effective. If the package is torn or damaged, throw the whole thing away. Even if the condom seems intact, if the packaging wasn’t completely sealed, the condom can dry out and become brittle and prone to breakage.

There are lots of things that can render a condom ineffective — not just sharp objects, but temperature, direct sunlight, and even being kept under a heavy book or squashed inside a wallet for a long time can cause serious wear and tear to a condom.

Knowing where to keep condoms is essential. They need to be kept away from extreme heat or cold, so somewhere that’s a stable room temperature is best. Condoms should also be stored somewhere where they don’t need to be moved around too much, won’t be compressed or bent, and are out of direct sunlight. In addition to meeting these requirements, condoms should be kept somewhere handy, easy to find, and accessible from anywhere you might have sex.

For most people, the bedroom is the best room to keep condoms. A bedside drawer or a nice box on a nearby table is ideal.

Wallets are taken in and out of pockets often; they’re folded, opened, closed, zipped, and unzipped. All of this movement could damage a condom, so keeping condoms in a wallet isn’t the best option.

If you’re going to keep a condom in a wallet, make sure it can be held in place without being squeezed (or sat on), that it won’t fold or bend, and that it won’t be affected by opening and closing the wallet.

If a condom can fit snugly — but not tightly — between a couple of bank cards, that should prevent it from being folded, bent, or moved around too much. But, it’s not a good idea to sit on your wallet if you’ve got a condom in it, and a condom that’s been sitting in your wallet for weeks (or months or years) might not be safe or effective anymore. 

Сhoosing the best place to hide a condom depends on a few factors. A bedside drawer might not work for someone with small children who can reach into drawers. If keeping them away from kids is a concern, wherever you store medicine might be a good place to keep condoms safe, accessible, and intact. 

If you’re looking for a place to hide condoms for privacy reasons, you can try these secret storage solutions:

  • An underwear drawer
  • Inside a sock, if you want an extra layer of secrecy 
  • Fake cans of beans (although people might question the presence of a can of beans in your bedroom) 
  • Hollowed-out books (go for the most boring one)
  • Drawers of schoolwork that no one else would ever want to look through 

Condoms can be affected by temperature, humidity, and direct sunlight, even through their packaging. This means that condoms shouldn’t be kept in places like:

  • Hot, steamy bathrooms
  • Sunny windowsills
  • Cars

If you live in a very hot or very cold place, it’s worth giving condom storage a little extra thought. A normal, comfortable room temperature is what you’re looking for.

Keeping condoms in pristine condition is an absolute must. Knowing how to store condoms properly could prevent pregnancy or infection. Beyond that, it’s important to have them handy when you need them, put them on before any sexual activity … and have fun. 

Sanders, S. A., Yarber, W. L., Kaufman, E. L., Crosby, R. A., Graham, C. A., & Milhausen, R. R. (2012). Condom use errors and problems: a global view. Sexual health, 9(1), 81-95. https://doi.org/10.1071/SH11095

“Condoms - Your Contraception Guide.” NHS Choices, NHS, Oct. 2020, www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/male-condoms/.

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