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How to Take Care of Your Sex Toys so they can Take Care of You!

May is Masturbation Month, so hopefully your toys are seeing plenty of action lately! When the mood and the moment strike, cleaning your toys before you get busy may be the last thing you want to do. Even amidst a surge of carnal urges, though, it’s still necessary to be mindful about sex toy care. Whether you’re using your toys for solo pleasure or partnered play, it is so, so important to clean your toys before and after each use.

Keep your toys clean by following the advice below. It will not only help protect the health of you and your partner; it will also help keep your toys safe, smooth, and functional for a much longer time than a neglected toy would last. Many high-end toys are quite an expensive investment, so you should treat them as such! Cleaning your toys before & after play only takes a few seconds to think about and a few minutes to do. Read on for more about why you don’t want to slack in this department!

Why Playing Clean is so Important:

After using a sex toy, there are bodily fluids on it, which can contain bacteria, fungi, and viruses from you, your partner, or both. While certain quantities of these microorganisms naturally live in and on our bodies without a problem, in higher concentrations they can become pathogenic. These bacteria can thrive on an uncleaned toy and can potentially cause or transfer UTIs, STIs, yeast infections, or other infections. Religiously cleaning your toys after use EVERY TIME will save you a lot of potential discomfort and illness. It’s just not worth the risk to skip cleaning your toys after every use!

Material Matters:

The materials sex toys are made from fall into two basic categories: Porous – having pores (tiny holes in the surface) and Non-porous (Not having pores in the surface). Non-porous toys are generally safer and more sanitary than porous toys for the same reason a glass cutting board is safer than a wood cutting board in the kitchen. You can find out exactly what type of material your sex toy is made from by reading the packaging or instructions, or looking it up online if you don’t have that anymore.

Non-porous toy materials are thankfully the most common. They include sex toy materials such as ABS plastic, silicone, stainless steel, and glass. It is easy and safe to keep these sex toys clean following basic washing practices, as they do not contain tiny holes which can harbor bacteria, mold, or mildew. These materials are longer lasting and body-safe, too. Most sex toys purchased from a reputable dealer like SexDrive.com and not categorized as “novelties” should be made of non-porous materials.

Porous toy materials include Elastomer (a type of synthetic rubber), “Jelly” rubber, some varieties of Sensafirm or UR3 (these help toys feel like skin), and latex, which isn’t regulated by the FDA for use in sex toys like it is in condoms. Since these materials have tiny pores which can harbor bacteria, it is extra important to clean, dry, and store them carefully. Ideally, use a condom with these toys as an added layer of protection, especially if you’re sharing with a partner or EVER using them anally. If your porous toy begins to change color or texture or develops an odor, it’s time to toss it.

What Should I Use to Clean my Sex Toys?

The experts agree that warm water and a gentle antibacterial soap such as Dial are enough to keep your toys clean and hygienic. Don’t use dish soaps such as Dawn, as these contain much harsher detergents which can break the materials down over time, and some can also leave a film or residue you don’t want on your toys.

Toy cleaners are an even better option to use than soap. These are made with body-safe ingredients that are hard on bacteria but gentle on your skin and your toys.

Our Favorite Toy Cleaners:

Lover’s Lane takes the guesswork out of choosing a toy cleaner by offering our own specialized line. It’s available in both a Cleansing Toy Wash spray, and a Foaming Toy Wash. Both are anti-bacterial, body safe, and will treat your toys like royalty. Which one you like is just a matter of personal preference.

Intimate Earth Green Toy Cleaner is our other fave. It also comes in both a spray and a foaming variety, and uses organic ingredients and tea tree oil to clean and condition your toys for years of safe and sanitary use.

Simple Steps to Squeaky Clean Sex Toys:

  1. Run the toy under warm water (non-waterproof toys can be wiped with a damp, soapy washcloth).
  2. Spray toy cleaner or apply foaming toy cleaner (or soap – whatever you have is better than nothing!) directly to the toy. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the toy by spraying or rubbing it in.
  3. Rinse with warm water to make sure there is no remaining residue, either from the soap/toy cleaner or from bodily fluids.
  4. Pat or air-dry the toy completely before putting it away (more on this below!)

While cleaning your toys after every use is an absolute must, cleaning them before use can be helpful, too. Even just giving them a quick warm water rinse and shaking them dry removes any dust or residue that may have settled on your toy in storage. After use is non-negotiable; before use is a suggestion.

Storing your Toys Safely:

Keep them clean:

After going through all the effort to clean your toys, it’s important to make sure they STAY clean. Store them in a designated drawer, storage bin, or Pleasure Chest to keep them free of dust, lint, and other debris.

Remember that while UV sanitization gadgets such as the Puritize Uvee Home Play for Toys case can sanitize your toys, they cannot clean your toys! You still need to wash them by hand after use to remove all those bodily materials, then stick them in the UV case to add an extra layer of protection from bacteria and viruses.

Keep them dry:

After washing, DO NOT put your toy away in its bag, box, or drawer right away. Let it sit out in the open air to dry thoroughly for 8-12 hours. Patting the surface of your toy dry with a clean, lint-free cloth like a tea towel can help speed the process along, but it’s still a good idea to air dry your toy for a while.

If your stroker has a removable core to make it easy to clean, wash and dry both sides, then turn it inside out to dry for a few hours, then dry the outside for a few more before you put it back in its tube.

You can also throw a pack or two of silica gel beads into your toy storage container to further help keep things dry, preventing the possibility of any mold or mildew growth even further.

Keep them separate:

Sex toys made of different materials can actually react with one another and cause problems over time if they touch. Store your toys in individual toy bags, simple homemade fabric wraps, or sections of a cloth drawer organizer to make sure they don’t get too frisky with each other in storage.

And while the separation is good in the picture below, it’s a better idea to store things with feathers or fuzz completely separate from your silicone toys or other insertables to avoid the transfer of those fluffy bits.

Following these steps should keep all your favorite pleasure treasures safe and sanitary to use for years to come! Play clean, play safe, and have the happiest Masturbation May, Lovers!

the author

Kristin T.

A former teacher & trusted relationship expert, Kristin writes science & health-conscious advice that she hopes can help everyone enjoy sex & intimacy more.
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