Sex toys come into contact with you most intimate private parts. That’s why it is of the utmost importance that you take good care of your toys. You should have received a manual with your toy, that should tell you how to clean it. But if you are anything like me, you probably a) didn’t read it from A to Z, and b) you threw it away anyhow. No worries. I will sort this out for you.
Before first use
When you take the toy out of its package, you would like to start playing with it as soon as possible. But wait. It s better if you clean it first. There might be some residues of chemicals that have been used in the making.
Also, charge the batteries to the max. I know, but patience is a virtue and in the end you will enjoy your toy for a long time.
Submit your toy to a visual inspection, first. Are there any defects, cracks or tears?
Before every use
It might seem overdo, but stil it is wise if you don’t stick your toy in your box straight from the nightstand. Some materials – especially some silicones – attrackt a lot of dust and (pet) hairs that might have hoarded in your drawer.
That’s why you should always clean your toy before you start using it. I always sniff and lick it after cleaning. When I suspect the slightest lack of freshness, it won’t be used for playing. Basta!
Also, make sure you charge it before every use. Nothing is more frustrating than a battery that shuts down while you are in the middle of things.
After every use
When you have used your sex toy, there will be all kinds of bacteria and residues of bodily fluids and lube on your toy. If you don’t clean that up, the bacteria will multiply and mold can arise. Believe me, you don’t want that inside you. You’ll have an infection before you know it.
The mold and dirt can also deteriorate the material of your toy and that would be a huge waste. So, never wait too long before you clean it.
Sharing is caring
Toys are fun when you (briefly) don’t have a partner. They make solo sex so much more fun. But if you do have one or more partners, they can be an enrichment too.
When you share your toy with (multiple) partners, though, it is extra important to clean your toy thoroughly. It will help prevent you get a, STI or STD.
Only use sex toys with multiple partners if they are easy to disinfect. When you use a sex toy in a threesome or group sex, it is best if you clean it every time you change partners. When this is too much of a hassle, consider using a condom on your dildo or vibrator and change it every time you switch partners.
Note on using condoms on your toys: Never use condoms with silicone based lube on silicone toys. There is a (small) chance that it will deteriorate the material of the toy.
Cleaning? But how?
How you should clean your toy depends on the material and how you use it.
Most sex toys can be cleaned with water and mild soap. Wipe it and rub it dry. Don’t use perfumed soap. It might smell nice on your toy, but there will always be some residues of the fragrances. Always let your toy dry before you store it.
Toy cleaners are perfect when you are lazy (like me) and don’t want to get out of bed to clean your toy in the bathroom. Put a bottle of toy cleaner and a box of tissues in your night stand to clean your toy after you’re done (or in between during group sex).
Yet, toy cleaner is not recommended for daily use. You can compare toy cleaners with dry shampoo; great for occasional use, but at some point you need to wash your hair under the shower!
Dildos made from non porous material: glass, metal and silicone
These materials are all non porous, preventing bacteria to nest inside the material. However, they can roost in ribs and bumps in the design.
When you use your toy solo or with a steady partner, and you don’t have infections, it will be sufficient to wash the toy under running warm water. If necessary, use some mild soap and rinse.
The big advantage of these materials is that you can boil them to disinfect them. Molds and viruses will be killed in the process. Just place the toys in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Always place a towel or cloth on the bottom of the pan to prevent overheating (and melting) or bouncing (and damaging).
Is your metal toy gold colored, be careful with boiling. Most of the time it is just gold plated, and that layer will come off during boiling.
Sex toys made of metal, glass (Pyrex, borosillicate) or silicone can also be cleaned in the top drawer of the dishwasher. Don’t use a dishwasher detergent and use the hottest program. Viruses or molds might survive, because the temperature os not high enough to disinfect your toys.
Some folks use alcohol or bleach to disinfect toys with. Never heat alcohol or bleach! Although it is a great way to disinfect toys, you must be sure that no residue is left behind. Always wash it directly with water and never let it dry with bleach or alcohol on it.
Motorized and battery operated toys
Vibrators have one or more motors and removable or chargeable batteries (duh). This makes them unfit for boiling or cleaning in the dishwasher, though. The motor will not survive this.
It is important that you determine if the toy is water resistant or fully waterproof. Waterproof toys can be submerged into the sink. Water resistant toys can be held under running water.
When this is not the case, use a non fuzzy cloth and some mild soap and some warm water. When your toys has a lot of bumps, or seams (for example if it has a grip made of hard plastic and a silicone top), you can use an old toothbrush to clean the edges.
ABS end hard plastic can not be boiled. The material will melt. Use a cloth and some mild soap.
TPE is a material dat will not last a lifetime. Often washing with water alone is enough, but sometimes you will have to treat it with some renewing powder afterwards (see below at ‘masturbators).
PVC, rubber, jelly and latex are porous materials that can contain phtalates. You can never disinfect these materials, just because there are tiny holes that can hold all kinds of residues, no matter how hard you try. Wash these toys with soap and water. That’s the best you can do. Consider applying a condom over these toys before use.
Leather toys can be cleaned with a cloth and some mild soap if necessary. Then, wipe it dry.
There are many different bacteria inside the anus that you don’t want to spread. On top of that, some materials will collect scent. Two reasons to take extra good care of cleaning these anal toys!
Silicone toys can collect scent. Everyone that ever used silicone kitchen stuff knows this. No matter how hard you wash (or boil): the scent and discoloration stays.
The reason is that silicone seems to react with oils that transfer color and scent. The best tip I ever read was to cover the toy in coconut oil and leave it to rest for a while. Then wash it with mild soap and warm water.
Always leave your anal toys air. Never (NEVER!) put it in a plastic bag (the scent will only get worse). When your buttplug is made from some non porous material and doesn’t contain a motor or batteries, you can try to boil it. Put some vinegar in the water.
100% silicone toys can also be placed in an oven on 200 degrees. If your silicone baking pan can, so will your sex toy. Just make absolutely sure your toy is made out of 100% silicone. If the inside is made of BAS, your toy will melt.
When you have a butt plug made of some kind of porous material, (PVC, rubber, TPR) this will not work. Just throw it away if it stinks and buy a beter one.
Masturbators are a different story. They are often made from TPE. OFten, you have to turn the sleeve inside out. Then you wash it with water and mild soap. Leave it to dry before turning it back.
Sometimes you can use renewing powder or starch to keep it in good condition.
Read here how to store your sex toys.