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How Long Can I Keep a Condom in my Wallet

Posted by Maureen Pollack on

Ah, the trusty wallet – our faithful companion through thick and thin, carrying everything from cash to cards and, for some, even a condom.

But how long can a condom safely reside in the depths of your wallet before it's time to say goodbye?

Is My Wallet A Good Place To Keep A Condom?

First, it's essential to address the common misconception that your wallet is a suitable long-term home for condoms. While it may seem convenient to have protection on hand at all times, your wallet is NOT the ideal environment for storing condoms.

It's not a good idea to store a condom in your wallet for extended periods.

Why? For starters, wallets experience a fair amount of wear and tear. From constant bending and folding to exposure to heat and moisture, your wallet subjects condoms to less-than-ideal conditions. Modern condoms are a scientific marvel, but over time, leaving a condom inside a wallet is likely to lead to damage or deterioration of the condom, rendering it less effective when you need it most. And while most condoms have a 4 to 5 year shelf-life, condoms do eventually expire.

What Carrying Condoms Means To Your Partner

Perhaps the best reason to carry condoms but NOT in your wallet, however, is simply that it doesn't give off the best vibes to your prospective partner. Don't get me wrong. Using protection is a strong sign of respect for your partner. But if you want to show him or her that you really care, be proudly prepared and don't pull one of of your wallet. Because - as a man or a woman - when you responsibly carry condoms and insist on using body-safe condoms, you're teaching your partner how to treat you.

How Long Can I Keep A Condom In My Wallet?

Ok, so assuming you don't have anywhere else to keep a condom when you're heading out, how long can you keep a condom in your wallet before it's time to retire it?

The general consensus is that condoms should not be stored in wallets for extended periods – ideally, no longer than a few days, if not just a few hours. Any time a condom is left in a wallet - particularly a man's wallet that sits in his back pants pocket - increases the risk of damage to the condom and decreases its effectiveness.

Even though the wrapper may look fine, the condom itself might be damaged. Unfortunately, condoms kept in a wallet can easily become worn and break. 

The Smartest Way To Carry Condoms

The best way to make sure your condoms are protected from damage and easily accessible when you're out on the town: consider investing in a discreet condom-carrying tin or case. A condom-carrying tin is designed specifically to keep your condoms - usually up to 4 condoms at a time - safe and secure.

Buttercup Condoms from Lovability in a discreet but chic condom-carrying tin

If a condom case isn't your style, you can also stash condoms in your front or shirt pocket, a purse, or a compartment in your bag. Just be sure to avoid exposing them to sharp objects, overly tight spaces, or extreme temperatures that could compromise their integrity. Keeping condoms in the glove compartment or trunk of your car sounds like a good idea, but do not store them in there for extended periods as the temperature (or shifts in temperature) will likely impact and degrade the condom as well.

Most individual condom packaging won't give you much protection, so be mindful to not be too rough with it. Buttercup Condoms offer added protection from damage because they're sealed inside a recyclabe, easy-open plastic buttercup wrap where the condom sits. Not great for wallets, but ideal if you're just tossing it in your pocket or in a bag.

How Do I Store Condoms Safely?

Generally, store your condoms in a dry, cool location, away from sharp objects and direct sunlight. Condoms can be damaged by heat and moisture no matter where they are stored. Around room temperature is the best, but condoms should not be kept higher than 100°F (there's no formal guidance on the minimum temperature at which to store condoms, though the general consensus is to not expose them to temperatures below 32 °F).

How Can I Tell If A Condom Is Damaged Or Expired?

It is fairly easy to determine if condoms have been damaged or are expired. 

1. Check The Expiration Date

Even if you just purchased the condoms, always check the expiration date on the individual condom before use (yes, each condom has an expiration date printed on the wrapper). Like most products, condoms are not meant to last forever, and expired condom are more likely to break.

2. Examine The Integrity Of The Packaging

To confirm the packaging of the condom has not been compromised, press on the wrapper—you should feel a little cushion of air, indicating the wrapper is sealed and there are no air holes. Assuming the condoms are lubricated, you can also feel for the slippery feeling of the lube. Another little trick is to check if any lubricant has leaked out; if it has, the condom will feel slippery and the box where they are stored may have dark, oily stains.

For condoms in buttercup wrappers, you won't be able to press the wrapper, but you can quickly inspect the rim of the buttercup to make sure there are no gaps in the seal between the label and the plastic cup.

3. Feel The Texture Of The Condom

A healthy condom will feel and even smell fresh when it is first opened. Condoms subject to extreme temperatures (hot or cold) or whose wrappers are damaged exposing the condom to air, however, will appear dry, making it more likely to break or leak during use.

Of course, once you've used a condom, you should NOT clean it and use it again. Condoms are only good for a one-time use.

What Do I Do If I'm Not Sure My Condoms Are Still Good?

This one is easy. If you're just not sure whether your condom is safe to use, throw it out and buy new ones.

Aside from the fact that you'll be worried and unable to enjoy the experience, it is never worth the risk of pregnancy or passing along / contracting an STI to use what you suspect is a degraded condom. Don't do it.

    Do I Need To Always Have A Condom With Me?

    Who knows when you may need a condom, right? Well, not exactly.

    While men are optimistic and hopeful, they often don't know exactly when they're going to have sex (and hence, stick a condom in their wallet just in case). For women, it's often the opposite; we usually know when we're going to have sex - especially if it is the first time with someone new. Yes, there are things women do when they know they're going to have sex - and one of those is to make sure we have body-safe condoms at the ready!


    9 Reasons Why Women Should Carry Condoms


    Carrying and using condoms makes sex much more enjoyable knowing you are safe and removes any unwanted fear knowing you are always prepared. This is one of the most fantastic reasons to embrace your sexual empowerment and to buy / carry condoms.


    In the world of safe sex, it's important to be prepared while also taking care of your protection. So, next time you reach for your wallet, remember to give your condoms the care and consideration they deserve – after all, they're there to keep you safe and sound in the heat of the moment!


    "Best all-natural vegan condoms" - Women's Health


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