When we think about investing in a sex toy, we’re all caught up in the excitement of it and daydream about the endless orgasms at our disposal and overlook the most important and admittedly awkward part of our interactions with our sex toys- cleaning them. Much like laundry, and washing the dishes, the task is definitely a chore. However, this is an object that you use intimately and can cause STIs just like any other unhygienic sex partner. We advise cleaning your sex toys after every use, and ideally even before. Consider the attention you pay to take care of your contacts and your retainers- your toys (and by extension genitalia) deserve the same!
Step 1: The Cleaning
image credits: v for vibes
Sex toys can be made from a variety of materials depending on their anticipated use. These materials can be classified as porous and non-porous. Porous materials such as leather and rubber have tiny holes, similar to pores, that can trap and hold bacteria, fungi, and so on. Non-porous materials do not have these holes, which makes them easier to clean. Sex toys for women can usually be covered with a condom, be it rabbit vibrators or dildos, making it easier to clean porous toys and also adding extra protection in group settings or messy situations. Even sex toys for men, such as a prostate massager should be covered with a condom, and a lot of lube before inserting it into the anus to prevent any transmission of infections and to make the process easier! The very versatile and universal anal buttplug is also compatible with a condom!
Cleaning non-porous materials: glass, stainless steel, hard plastic, and silicone
- With the glass toys, all you need is some soap and water. Pyrex toys can even be put in the dishwasher. All that needs to be remembered is that no extreme temperatures when on a cleaning chore.
- Stainless-steel toys such as chastity cages or anal beads and plugs can be cleaned in 3 different ways. Warm soap water if the toy is electrical. Be careful not to submerge any electrical components. If the toy does not contain electrical components you have two options. You can soak them in a 10% bleach-water solution for 10 minutes (do make sure you wash it with plain warm water to get rid of any bleach residue, you don’t want bleach anywhere near your genitalia), or place them in the dishwasher.
- With silicone toys, you can put them in your dishwasher (on the top rack), or wash them with antibacterial soap and warm water. One thing to remember is that boiling silicone toys with electrical components (Such as vibrators) will destroy the mechanism. A complete no-no!
Cleaning porous materials: rubber, vinyl, Cyberskin, nylon, and leather
- Okay, for toys made of rubber it’s a little different. They are porous, their composition is not always known or may contain phthalates, chemicals that have been shown to be harmful to your health, and blanket experience, are difficult to clean. Just use condoms with these types of toys.
- What about Cyberskin and vinyl? This material is soft and porous and often used for dildos. Only use warm water to clean toys made with this material. In order to prevent them from getting sticky, allow them to air dry and powder them with cornstarch before storing them.
- All nylon harnesses and toys can be machine or hand washed with a mild antibacterial soap.
- Lastly, let’s talk about your lovely leather aids. Wipe leather products with a damp, soapy cloth or with leather cleaner. Do not soak the leather. After cleaning, you may recondition your toy using a leather conditioner. Protect metal parts from tarnish by applying a coating of clear nail polish.
A quick note on fleshlights, which can be messier and tougher to clean, unless you have our three-step guide.
- Remove the fleshlight sleeve from its case and rinse it out with warm water to clear out any remaining fluid.
- After cleaning, shake off excess water and allow it to air-dry. The drying is crucial, storing fleshlights wet can increase the possibility of bacteria festering.
- And never use any toy cleaner that contains soap or detergents, as those will deteriorate the sleeve.
Tip: If you are okay with a layer between you and the fleshlight, putting on a condom could significantly reduce the mess, and make the post-masturbation cleanup quick and easy!
P.S. If you are looking to experience the intensity of a blowjob, anal sex, or vagina penetration, buy fleshlights here!
Step 2: Storage
Just like you wouldn’t toss your menstrual cup just anyhow in your bag, your sex toys deserve a storage space as special as the one they hold in your heart. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Just use the original packaging: This is simple, right? To keep your toys safe from the elements just place them in the small bags or boxes they came in. At Manzuri we prioritize sustainable packaging, and even provide tin boxes with some purchases!
- What about all the collectors and organizers? Get a plastic container: A plastic container keeps your toys organized and more importantly safe from dirt. Although, we suggest investing in a metal safe for additional protection from snooping parents.
- Now a little something for the fancy readers. We suggest grabbing a satin sack: Purchase a small silk or satin bag. You can find travel bags that are large enough for your needs, or you can pick up bags designed specifically for sex toys.
Manzuri’s Secrets to a Happy Sex Toy
- Never forget the electronics in there. Always unplug your sex toys and/or remove their batteries before cleaning them. Remember, the waterproof label doesn’t extend to the electrical parts! To prevent corrosion, store batteries separately. Battery acid is acid and if that somehow or another touches your skin, that’s not good.
- Read the details and reflect. Just because a product is labeled “safe” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe for your own body. We encourage you to look for medical-grade materials. Medical-grade silicone is durable, you’re not going to find too many allergies to it, it’s easy to clean, and it also has the most lifelike feel. This is exactly why at Manzuri we only use 100% body-safe silicone and personally hand-select and test our products to ensure the highest quality. Reading the details and instructions will also help you to clean up the toy after use. Use cleaning methods, anti-bacterial, and lubes that are compatible with your sex toys.
- Clean the toy when it first arrives. Just as you would with underwear or a bra, you want to make sure your sex toy is fully cleaned before it touches your skin.
- Use condoms when appropriate. Whether or not you want to use a condom with a sex toy is more of a personal choice than a professional recommendation. However, here are a few situations where a condom may be warranted:
- The toy is being used by multiple users
- There’s a preference to have extra sensation.
- There’s a concern about an allergic reaction.
- The toy is made of porous material.
- To make the cleanup easy and hassle-free.
This may sound like a lot of unnecessary care to undertake for an inanimate object, but doing so makes it more likely that you and your sex toys can have a long, happy life together. So we suggest everyone gets on this gravy train.