Disposing of a condom is more involved than you think. Though there is only one good place to dispose of a condom, the act of disposal merits much thought. Don't risk pregnancy or infection by improperly disposing of your condoms.

Method 1
Method 1 of 2:

Disposing of a Condom

  1. A used condom still poses the risk of pregnancy and illness. Don't spill everywhere. You don't want to spend twenty minutes cleaning up, much less eighteen years raising a child.
    • Remove the condom so that fluids do not spill. If you're not careful, removing a condom will make a big mess, and possibly increase the risk of unwanted pregnancy or infection. Pay attention to what you're doing to avoid mishaps.
    • For a male condom, remove with the tip pointed down. If you pull off just by the ring of the condom, it can come off inside-out. Pull from the tip, and gently ease the ring off.[1] Condoms with a reservoir tip are specially designed to help retain fluids at the tip of the condom, and they may help during this process.
    • For a female condom, squeeze and twist the outer ring so that the fluids do not leak out. Pull the condom out gently. The inner ring of the female condom should help to hold any fluids in.[2]
    • Beyond this initial removal, the process for disposing of both male and female condoms is the same.
  2. The same way you tie off a balloon, you should tie off a condom. Make a loop near the opening, and pull the ring of the condom opening through this loop in order to seal it off. This will help to limit odor as well as spillage.
  3. Put the condom in a piece of tissue or a paper towel. This will help keep your hand clean, as well as keep it from being unsightly in the trash. It will also help to deter bugs.
  4. There is no better place to put a condom than in the garbage.[3] Everywhere else is likely to cause problems. Save yourself the trouble; put it in the trash.
  5. For the comfort of guests or those with whom you share living spaces, take the trash out. If you leave a used condom sitting around, it can begin to smell. A used condom can also be quite unpleasant to see unexpectedly. So for discretion's sake, empty out the garbage bin.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 2:

Avoiding Common Mistakes

  1. Condoms are most commonly made from latex, polyurethane, nitrile, polyisoprene, or lambskin. Each has advantages and disadvantages. All should be disposed of in the same way. They go in the garbage. With condoms, there's no real way to avoid the landfill. Get a biodegradable latex condom or lambskin condom if you're worried about the earth.[4]
    • Latex condoms are the most common. They are durable and inexpensive when compared to other condoms. However, some people are allergic to latex condoms.
    • Polyurethane is stronger than latex and can be made thinner. They are a suitable replacement for people with latex allergies. However, they are more brittle and expensive than latex condoms.[5]
    • Nitrile feels a bit like latex and is relatively inexpensive. This material works very well for female condoms.
    • Polyisoprene is relatively new material. It is made by putting latex rubber through a process to remove allergens. It is expensive, but it is still, though rare, possible to be allergic to it.
    • Lambskin condoms are able to prevent pregnancy, but not HIV. Natural membrane condoms are not proper protection from sexually transmitted infections. Those seeking to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases should choose a latex, polyurethane, nitrile, or polyisoprene condom.
  2. [6] It will likely clog. You will need to hire a professional to fix it. That can be expensive and potentially embarrassing.
  3. This is littering. It is also a bio-hazard. A pet could bring it back inside, or try to eat it, causing health problems. Young children might play with it and become sick.
  4. They will take a very long time to breakdown.[7] Composting condoms can also attract animals. Not only are wild animals hazardous, the condom, if ingested, can cause the animals harm. Even pets may be drawn to it. Though some condoms are biodegradable, and can theoretically be composted, the potential problems created by using condoms for compost makes them unsuitable for most situations.
  5. Unfortunately, the foil wrappers around condoms are not recyclable. It will need to go into the trash bin with the condom.
  6. They cannot be reused or recycled. Though there are people developing tools to do so, the technology isn't quite there yet.
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Use a Condom Safely and Effectively with this Expert Series

In order to have safe sex, it's important to know how to use a condom correctly. Fortunately, this expert series has everything you need to know about condoms

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About This Article

Lacy Windham, MD
Medically reviewed by:
Board Certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist
This article was medically reviewed by Lacy Windham, MD. Lacy Windham, MD, is a Board-Certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist in Cleveland, Tennessee. Dr. Windham attended medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Her residency was completed at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. She was the recipient of multiple awards during her residency training, including Most Outstanding Resident in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Most Outstanding Resident in Oncology, Most Outstanding Resident Overall, and Special Award in Minimally Invasive Surgery. This article has been viewed 525,757 times.
92 votes - 72%
Co-authors: 17
Updated: October 17, 2023
Views: 525,757

Medical Disclaimer

The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.

Article SummaryX

To dispose of a condom safely, start by pulling it off gently from the tip rather than rolling it off from the top. Once you've removed it, tie it off at the top to prevent any spillages. Wrap the condom in a paper towel or tissue to prevent it from being unsightly in the trash. Then, put the condom in the trash and take the trash bag out, since a used condom starts to smell after a while. For tips on what to avoid doing when disposing of a condom, read on!

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