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Your Sex Toys Need To Be Cleaned

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Another Valentine's Day has come and gone and, instead of talking about how to wash delicate lingerie or remove chocolate body paint from your sheets, this year I decided to dedicate this space to helping the single lady (or hey, whoever) clean up after her Lupercalia festivities. That's right, we're going to tackle the subject of your sex toys — which I also talked about on a recent episode of my podcast, Ask a Clean Person. More specifically, how to clean them after they've been put to good use, or before you've even used them at all! Hey, maybe you're spoken for and your sweetie bought you a new toy for Valentine's Day?

Cleaning your toys is an important part of overall sexual health.

Of course not all sex toys are used solo, so this advice isn't just for the single gal — which makes this a good thing to begin with: Cleaning your toys is an important part of overall sexual health. This is especially true if you share them with a partner, and especially especially true if you share them with a non-exclusive partner. Understanding the variety of materials of which toys are made is crucial to keeping them clean and safe for use — if you're a person who shares sexual devices, keep in mind that certain materials are porous, which means that even after cleaning they can still transmit bacteria and STDs among the people using them. Porous materials that are commonly found at your local sex toy emporium are hard plastic, jelly rubber, elastomer or thermoplastic elastomer (TPR). Those are the ones that you should use with a condom if you plan to share them with a partner, and that you must use with a condom if the sharing is taking place with a non-exclusive one.

Even if you use your toys all by your lonesome, keeping them clean is good hygiene — you don't want to be passing bacteria back into such a sensitive space, even if that bacteria is your own.

You should clean a new purchase before its first use.

It's always recommended that you check the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning any toy, but this quick and handy guide should cover most of the bases. It also bears noting that you should clean a new purchase before its first use.

How to clean toys made of ...

Motorized silicone or stainless steel

Wipe the toy clean using a damp cloth and a small amount of mild soap, then rinse the cloth with clean water and wipe the toy again to remove soap residue. Dry completely before storing.

Unless clearly stated that it's waterproof, never submerge a motorized toy in water.

Non-motorized silicone or stainless steel

For regular cleaning, you can use the same method described for cleaning motorized toys. If a deeper cleaning is required, non-motorized toys can be submerged in boiling water for 10 minutes or tossed in the dishwasher. Yup! If you go the dishwasher route, always place the toys on the top rack and run the cycle without soap.

Check the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning any toy.

These instructions are also the ones to use for less common materials used in non-motorized sex toys like glass, Pyrex, wood or stone. (Yes, stone. I know! Sounds cold, right?)

Cyberskin

Cyberskin the name of the material used to make Fleshlights, and you should know that it's quite sensitive. When it comes to cleaning Cyberskin, remember to be careful with it, as the material can easily become abraded. Use a small amount of soap and warm water and dry gently with a soft cloth to avoid damaging the material.

Hard plastic, jelly rubber, elastomer or thermoplastic elastomer (TPR)

This category is the porous one, so as a reminder, even after cleaning they can still harbor bacteria and STDs. To clean them, wash them with mild soap and water, and dry well before storing.

Here are a few tips and shortcuts

Don't underestimate the sex toy emporium employee! If you feel comfortable with doing so, engage a person who works in the shop to help you understand the ways in which to care for your new purchase.

Don't underestimate the sex toy emporium employee!

Also, be on the lookout for toy cleaners, which usually come in a small spray bottle, or for toy wipes, which are convenient to stash in a bedside table drawer and are also good if you plan to travel with your toys. Baby or adult bathroom wipes can also be used as toy wipes, though products like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes should not be used; generally speaking, a good rule to bear in mind when determining types of products to use is that you shouldn't clean toys with anything you wouldn't put in yourself. Makes sense right? Right!