Sex toys are kind of like the elephant in the room. People love to play with them, but how many people talk about them? Specifically, how to keep them sanitary? It probably isn't something you learned at school or from your parents, and most wouldn't bring it up over drinks with friends, either.
Sex toys enhance pleasure, allow us to learn about our bodies, and help us explore our desires and boundaries. But if you don't take care of your toys, you could be letting loads of germs and bacteria in and around your most sensitive places — and nobody wants that. If you're super unlucky, you could even get pregnant or contract an STD from a sex toy if you don't clean it properly. Hepatitis, for instance, can live on a toy for months.
Storage is also essential. A nightstand drawer is a favored spot for sex toys, but tossing them in a drawer isn't the best plan. Dust, lint, pet hair, and other debris will get on them, and all your effort at cleaning them will be for nothing. Proper storage depends on their material, whether they have batteries, and how many kids or other nosy guests are in your home. Keeping toys clean and appropriately stored ensures your health and keeps your playthings in top condition.
Different toys, different cleaning methods
Sex toys can be rubber, latex, jelly rubber, metal, glass, and silicone. Whether a toy is porous or nonporous will affect how you should clean it. Silicone, glass, and metal are nonporous and are easier to keep clean and sanitized since there is nowhere for germs to hide. Medical-grade silicone toys are easy to clean and have become a standard offering from reputable toy makers. Medical-grade silicone is regulated by the FDA and is entirely safe for use in and around your body. If a toy is marked "food-grade silicone" or "novelty toy," it isn't medical-grade, and you might want to reconsider using it.
How to properly clean silicone sex toys?
If you have a silicone toy, it's easy to keep it clean and sanitized with just a bit of effort. If your toy has no motor, like a dildo or a buttplug, you can submerge them in hot water withany mild soap that's safe for your body. Don't use bleach or harsh detergents — you wouldn't put that inside you, so it shouldn't go on your toy. For extra sterilization, your toys can be boiled for a few minutes, too.
Sex toys with batteries, even rechargeable ones, need a bit more care. Check the toy's packaging or the company's website to see if it's waterproof. You want to make sure that it won't break the toy or damage the battery if you clean it with running water. If the toy isn't waterproof, cleaning with a washcloth is just fine. Just make sure you wipe every part of the toy down well. Remove the batteries if you can, and keep water out of the compartment.
Washing your toys after every time you use them is crucial. Introducing bacteria into your body isn't on most people's to-do list. For extra safety, you can also wash toys before you use them, but this isn't crucial if you clean and store toys properly after you use them. If you're playing with a partner, consider using a condom on your toy for extra protection. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health,
What about cleaners made for my silicone sex toy?
Keeping your sex toys clean is of the utmost importance to your health. Using mild soap and warm water (on a washcloth) will clean silicone sex toys if water damages them. Cleaners made for sex toys are a great choice. Just make sure they are water-based cleaners. It seems antithetical, but oil- or silicone-based cleaners will break down the toy's silicone. Water-based cleaners will keep your toys working the way they should for years to come. Foaming cleaners stay on the toy, allowing you to wipe them with a damp cloth. This is handy for toys that aren't waterproof. You can find toy cleaners with antibacterial ingredients for germ-busting power, or a cleaning mist might appeal.
Don't forget to dry your toys
Putting toys away wet can damage the battery and undoubtedly attract dust and lint. After you clean a toy, you should dry it with a lint-free cloth or air dry it before you put it away. Air drying might not be practical if you have kids, of course. The important thing is that the toy is stored fully clean and dry,
Storage is almost as crucial as cleaning
Many sex toys come with a storage case, a silk bag, or a box. If yours didn't, or you no longer have it, you can use a lint-free fabric bag, makeup case, or a clean box. It's a good idea to store toys separately or in a big enough box that they aren't in a jumble. Jelly toys can melt together, but even nonporous toys like silicone do better when kept to themselves. As tempting as it sounds, don't just toss your sex toys in your night table drawer to roll around with other odds and ends.
If your toy uses batteries, it needs a bit more attention. If it uses alkaline batteries, remove them before putting the toy away. Alkaline batteries can corrode and ruin the toy if left unused, or they might rust the battery compartment as they age. For rechargeable toys, follow the manufacturer's instructions on charging. In most cases, you should assess the toy regularly to keep it at peak performance.
Silver is an antimicrobial agent long used in wound care. Today, it is still used for burn victims, to keep medical equipment sanitized, and to fight against antibiotic-resistant germs. You can harness the germ-fighting properties of silver ions by getting a bag for your toys that destroys germs.
What happens if I forget to clean my sex toy?
Mistakes happen! You might fall asleep, miss your alarm, and rush off to work, only realizing days later you didn't clean those toys. The old saying, better late than never, definitely applies here. Get out the soap as soon you remember, or set a reminder on your phone if you aren't home when the thought strikes. Just make sure you get them clean before using them again.
Remember that bacteria have only one job - to multiply. Now imagine using a bacteria-ridden toy on your vulva or inside your vagina or anus. That's the perfect setup for urinary tract infections, yeast infections, or introducing E.coli bacteria where it doesn't belong. If you and a partner shared toys and skipped a condom, you could also share an STD. Nobody wants any of that. Not to mention, bacteria can break down your toy and shorten its lifespan. If you keep it clean and sanitized, it will last longer and bring nothing but happiness.
Remember, the human body and homes are full of germs no matter how often we shower or scrub. Playing with sex toys is fun and part of healthy sex life - but that health has to extend to the care, cleaning, and storage of your toys.