Investing in sex toys can significantly enhance your personal pleasure, but it comes with the responsibility of proper maintenance and cleaning. Neglecting to clean your toys, using the wrong lubricants, or storing them incorrectly can not only diminish their quality but also pose health risks, potentially leading to infections for both you and your partner.
While genitals themselves are not "dirty," bacteria can accumulate on sex toys and spread. Hence, it's crucial to prioritize hygiene to prevent bacterial infections and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some STIs can persist outside the body for weeks or even months, making thorough cleaning essential.
If you're unsure about how to clean your toys, fret not; we've compiled comprehensive guidelines to ensure your sex toys remain safe and satisfying.
Understanding Your Toy's Material
Sex toys are crafted from various materials, and each requires distinct cleaning methods, much like different types of laundry.
Toys can generally be categorized into two main material groups: porous and nonporous. You should find information about your toy's material on its packaging or the manufacturer's website.
Nonporous toys are constructed from materials like silicone, glass, metal, and ABS hard plastic. These materials do not allow bacteria to penetrate and are relatively straightforward to clean.
You can wash nonporous toys with mild soap and water or use dedicated sex toy sprays/wipes. Some nonporous materials, such as silicone, Pyrex (heat-resistant glass), and stainless steel, can even be boiled for sterilization.
Porous toys, conversely, are made from materials like hard plastic, cyberskin, elastomer, jelly rubber, nylon, vinyl, acrylic, leather, neoprene, and some hard plastics. These materials are absorbent, making complete sterilization impossible.
Due to their sensitivity to temperature, porous toys should only be washed with mild soap and warm water.
Cleaning vs. Sterilizing
Cleaning your toy after every use is essential, whether you employ it individually or with a partner. Neglecting to do so can cause dried bodily fluids to degrade or discolor the material, potentially damaging the toy's quality. Moreover, an unwashed toy stored with others can contaminate them with bacteria. It's crucial to note that washing your toy with soap and water cleans it but doesn't sterilize it.
Sterilization, on the other hand, involves the complete removal of bacteria, microbes, and viruses. You should consider sterilizing toys after anal use, if you have a yeast infection, or if you share a toy with a partner. Nonporous toys are the only ones that can be sterilized, and you'll need agents like heat, bleach, or alcohol for effective sterilization. When using bleach, a 10% bleach-to-water solution is recommended, followed by thorough rinsing.
Proper Washing Techniques
When washing your toys, opt for mild, unscented hand or dish soap. Avoid antibacterial soaps as they may leave a residue.
Many sex toy brands offer liquid or wipe toy cleaners as a discreet alternative.
If your toy is battery-operated or plug-in, avoid submerging it in water unless it's explicitly waterproof. In such cases, simply wipe it with a warm, soapy washcloth.
Using the Right Accessories
Using silicone or oil-based lubricants with silicone toys is a common mistake, as these lubes can degrade the toy's material. Instead, choose water-based lubricants and always clean your toy after each use.
Some porous toys cannot be entirely sterilized, making it advisable to use a condom when sharing them with a partner.
While using the toy alone without a condom is generally safe, it's wise to reconsider if you have an infection or switch between anal and vaginal play in a single session. Always use a condom with jelly toys, as they may contain potentially harmful chemicals called phthalates.
Maintaining Your Toys
Regularly inspect your toys for irregularities that may indicate it's time to retire them. Look out for seams coming apart or pockmarks in silicone toys, as these signify a loss of nonporousness.
Additionally, remove batteries from your toys when not in use to prevent corrosion and battery life depletion.
Proper Storage Techniques
Avoid simply tossing your toys into a bedside drawer. When left out, they can accumulate lint, pet hair, or other bacteria that may be transferred to your body if the toy isn't cleaned before use.
To ensure safety, wrap your toys in cloth or store them in a cloth bag. Keep them in a dry and relatively cool place.
Avoid using Tupperware or plastic bags for long-term storage, as chemicals can leach into the toy over time.
For those with numerous toys, many sex toy brands offer storage boxes explicitly designed for this purpose.
By following these comprehensive guidelines, you can ensure that your sex toys remain in excellent condition, prioritize your health and safety, and continue to be a source of pleasure and satisfaction in your life.