When it comes to pressing all the right buttons in the bedroom, sex toys are a fun way to zero in on what arouses each other, all while fostering your connection. But, like that connection, a little TLC goes a long way toward maintaining health and longevity.
An effective cleaning routine for your favorite sex toy is as simple as determining what it's made of, using the corresponding cleaning products, and making a habit out of it.
Begin with the basics
The easiest way to pinpoint the best practice for cleaning your sex toy is to refer to the manufacturer's instructions that came with the box. But if you don't find them stuffed in your desk drawer alongside your take-out menus, don't fret. A simple Internet search will yield the care guide for your sex toy, divulging the brand's specific suggestions for cleaning and maintenance. The easiest way to pinpoint the best practice for cleaning your sex toy is to refer to the manufacturer's instructions that came with the box. Keep your eyes peeled for the specific material comprising your sex toy. This is a critical component of cleaning it, which is essential for keeping it – and you – germ and infection-free. This generally falls into two broad categories: non-porous materials and porous materials.
Clean non-porous materials
If the manufacturer's instructions of your sex toy reference a composition of glass, stainless steel, silicone, acrylic, or hard plastic, you are dealing with a non-porous material. Accordingly, bacteria aren’t likely to seep in and get trapped (although you should always pay special attention to any ridges, cracks, or crevices in your toy). While a gentle scrubbing with soap and water should suffice for most sex toys made from non-porous materials, you can also use a sex toy cleaning solvent or – in some cases, depending on the material – sanitize using alcohol or bleach, or by boiling or steaming. There's no sex toy cleaner as such, just common sense.
Clean porous materials
If the manufacturer's instructions of your sex toy reference a composition of rubber, "jelly" rubber, vinyl, cyberskin, softskin, ultraskin, nylon, or leather, you're dealing with a porous material. On the plus side, your sex toy feels very authentic. However, sex toys comprised of porous material do require considerably more maintenance than their non-porous cousins.
Porous products make it easier for bacteria to sink in and hunker down, so routine washing is more important than ever. Avoid anything that could be toxic to you and your partner or that could lead to an adverse physical reaction. Instead, stick to a very mild hand soap or a non-toxic cleaner designed specifically for porous sex toys.
Perfect your technique
From here, the process is pretty straight-forward. For non-porous products that are motorized or have batteries, take out the batteries and then simply wipe the device down using a damp cloth and cleaner. For non-porous products that are not motorized, feel free to scrub more vigorously or, when appropriate, boil clean. For porous materials, clean as thoroughly as possible without utilizing too much suds – an overabundance of cleanser could cause damage to these sensitive materials. Once you've impressed your partner with your cleaning skills, make sure you dry the sex toy off completely and store it in a safe, clean spot. Like, for instance, a truly classic choice: the nightstand.
About the Author
A native of Charleston, S.C., Julie Sprankles has been writing professionally since 2003. She received a double Bachelor of Arts in English and communications from Charleston Southern University. Formerly editor-in-chief at award-winning shelter publication "Charleston Home + Design Magazine," Sprankles now enjoys writing and editing full-time.