CDC: Condoms are Single-Use Only – DON’T Wash and Reuse Them

CDC: Condoms are Single-Use Only – DON’T Wash and Reuse Them
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What do condoms and toilet paper have in common? They’re both single-use only. Once you use them, they get flushed or thrown away.

That should be common sense, but there are people who actually wash and reuse condoms. More people than you might have guessed. In fact, so many people do this that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was pressed to send out a tweet about it in July of 2018.

The agency wrote:

“We say it because people do it. Don’t wash or reuse condoms! Use a fresh one for each sex act.”

The CDC said condoms prevent pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases, but they’re only effective when used properly. (Duh.) [2]

You know how a plastic grocery bag gets stretched out and develops holes after you use it? Well, condoms do, too.

Elizabeth Torrone, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, said:

“Incorrect use, such as reusing a condom or using more than 1 at a time, diminishes the protective effect of condoms by leading to condom breakage, slippage, or leakage.”

If you use more than 1 condom at a time, you get bonus points for effort. But you could be making things worse.

Trying to wash a condom with soap and water is a bad idea for 2 reasons, Torrone said: It’s impossible to thoroughly clean them, and doing so weakens the latex, making it more prone to tear.

Alyssa Dweck, a board-certified OB-GYN, said:

“You should always use the condom in the way the manufacturer has intended and tested. If you don’t, you cannot rely on the condom anymore to do those duties.”

And in case you’re still clueless about how often you can safely use a condom (I really hope you’re not), Dweck breaks it down on an elementary-school level:

“Let’s say you have sex 3 times in one night, you should be changing the condom 3 times.”


[1] CNN

[2] USA Today