Q&A: How Can I Tell If A Condom Has Been Tampered With?

Q: I know damaged condoms are basically ineffective, so what steps can I take to determine if a condom has been tampered with?

A: To make sure that a condom will work effectively, follow these steps:

Always check the expiration date printed on the condom’s package. If you notice it is expired, throw it away and use a condom that has not reached it expiration date.

Another very important step is to make sure the outside package has not been tampered with. Look for any tears or holes, and if you find them, throw it away immediately and try another.

After inspecting the outside, it’s time to take the condom out of the wrapper. Tear the condom gentle using your fingers, and be sure to avoid tearing the condom along with the wrapper. Once open, look for signs of dryness or stickiness, and if you notice either one, do not use it. The condom may have been damaged during the manufacturing or packaging process.

Next, inspect it visually, while holding the condom gently in your hand. Carefully inspect the condom for any holes or weak areas, and if you see any holes or imperfections, don’t use the condom.

The most effective step in finding small holes is the “water test”. By filling the condom with water, you can pinpoint small holes in the condom because water will leak out of them. Throw the condom away immediately if it leaks water.

Take into considering that if you choose to water test your condom, the process could wash away the lubrication. Add a small amount of extra water or silicone-based lubricants to the condom before intercourse to fix that problem.

Also keep in mind that when water testing your condom, make sure any drips you are seeing are actually a result of a hole in the condom and not excess water that fell on the condom when you put water in it. Gently blot the filled condom with a paper towel before determining if the drips are leaking through a hole


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