Can you wash or reuse condoms? US health regulator says no, ‘use a fresh one’

Can you wash or reuse condoms? US health regulator says no, ‘use a fresh one’

Washing or reusing a condom definitely does not count as a sound practice, but it seems like many still do it. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention division (CDC) warned people not to do it on Twitter.

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Reusing or washing condoms render them ineffective, and it is rather scary that CDC has to remind people about it. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

It is no secret that using a condom can have many health benefits. Not only does it prevent any unintended pregnancies, is it highly effective against sexually transmitted infections like HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. And while it is an extremely healthy practice to use a condom, one must know how to use it correctly.

So, if you’re wondering whether you can wash or reuse a condom, the answer is a blatant no! And perhaps, that’s why when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning to Americans to stop washing and reusing condoms, it seemed to be quite scary — because, unbelievably, “people do it”. “We say it because people do it: Don’t wash or reuse #condoms! Use a fresh one for each #sex act,” they tweeted.

No sooner did the tweet make a buzz on the micro-blogging platform, people expressed their amusement and shock at the fact that it was not “obvious”.

“Every act of intercourse requires a new condom,” Dr Shailesh Chandra Sahay, senior consultant urologist from Max hospital, Patparganj says, adding, “Medically re-using a condom is not advisable. Once the condom is used, the latex is damaged. This might not be visible to the naked eye but it might not be useful to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infection. When you use a used condom, you cannot check the expiry date. So you do not know when it was manufactured.”

“There’s no way you can confirm the integrity of the condom for protection against pregnancy once it has been used, removed, washed, and replaced,” Dr Alyssa Dweck, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist told BuzzFeed News.

Both of these point to the same fact. Washing a condom with soap or reusing an old one defeats the very purpose of using a condom rendering it ineffective. “You should 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,” Dweck said.