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How To: Clean and Safely Store Your Sex Toys

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How To: Clean and Safely Store Your Sex Toys

Sex toys can bring us so much sensation, and pleasure, and fun—and that’s why cleaning and storage are important considerations! Once you’re done with your play session, properly caring for your toy can ensure that it remains as awesome as the day you bought it for years in the future.

Also, because of the wide variety of sex toy materials on the market, storage is a common concern. Stories abound about how so-called “jelly” toys can cause “melting,” by fusing with and even degrading higher-quality materials like silicone. This how-to guide gives you tips on what you can and can’t store together, plus tips on charging cord storage.

How To Clean:

Non-Porous Materials

The safest sex toy materials are functionally non-porous: meaning that their surfaces are less likely to allow growth of harmful microorganisms like bacteria and mold. These “body-safe” toys are made of any of the following substances: silicone, metals such as stainless steel, ABS plastic, glass (such as shatter-resistant borosilicate, a.k.a. Pyrex, glass), wood with a body-safe varnish, ceramic with hard glaze, polished and finished stone, and acrylic.

For everyday use, these non-porous, body-safe sex toys can be washed with a mild soap and water—the same soap you use to wash your own hands and body. This applies to any non-vibrating, waterproof submersible, or splash proof sex toy: just wet the surface and scrub with soap, making sure to remove any dried lube or fluids as you rinse. With smoother, less-textured toys, the process can take less than a minute! Exceptions include insertable sex toys and vibrators with lots of nooks and crannies - like your favorite silicone fantasy dildo! - where extra care should be taken to clean between the ridges or the patterns. Some users may even choose to dedicate a new, soft-bristled toothbrush to gently cleaning their toys’ harder-to-clean surfaces.

Everyday cleaning is key, but the best thing about non-porous sex toys is that they can be fully sanitized (sometimes called “sterilized”). Best practice is to sanitize your body-safe sex toy in any of the following situations:

  • When you first receive it, to remove mold-release agents (silicone toys) and factory and packaging residue
  • If an insertable toy has been used anally, before introducing it into anyone’s vagina
  • Before using it with a new sex partner (who is aware that the toy isn’t new but has been fully sanitized—consent is key)
  • Between use by two partners who aren’t fluid-bonded (that is, who use condoms for STI prevention)
  • After the end of a bacterial or yeast infection, or STI flare-up
  • Periodically (like once every month or two) for your peace of mind
  • After awkward moments like when you drop your dildo on the hotel floor

How exactly to sanitize your non-porous toy also depends on its material and how waterproof it is. Any waterproof toy can be soaked in or scrubbed down with 10% bleach solution (1 part unscented bleach to 9 parts tap water or drinking water). Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is also an effective sanitizing agent for fully waterproof toys. After using either bleach solution or isopropyl alcohol, wash the toy well with soap and water to remove the cleaning agent.

And if your body-safe toy has no mechanical parts, you have even more options! Many users boil their silicone dildos or plugs, in a normal kitchen pot, for anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. You may also choose to run these non-vibrating toys through the sanitize cycle of your dishwasher, preferably without dish detergent. Again, wash with soap and water after these cleaning techniques. Stainless steel and glass toys can be boiled too, but this method should be approached with extreme caution as metal and glass retain more heat and can burn you upon removal from the pot.

Non-splash proof, but also non-porous, toys—like the silicone head of the Magic Wand Rechargeable and Magic Wand Plus—may be sanitized carefully. Rub the head down with a moist cloth, then with another cloth covered in 10% bleach solution or isopropyl alcohol, and finally rub down again with another moist cloth. Be sure to avoid letting liquid drip down into the toy’s neck.

More-Porous Materials

Other sex toy materials are porous but nontoxic, such as toys made of soft TPR/TPE (short for “thermoplastic rubber” and “thermoplastic elastomer”) and phthalate-free PVC. These substances are less durable and will degrade when exposed to higher heat and strong cleaning agents.

For TPR/TPE toys (sometimes called “real feel” materials) and for phthalate-free PVC, clean by rinsing with soap and water. Then shake out/off as much excess water as possible and allow to air-dry. As time goes by, if any discoloration appears, the toy should be replaced immediately.

Please note that Fleshlight sleeves are a distinct kind of real feel material, and the manufacturer discourages the use of soap during cleaning. Instead, pure running water is recommended.

Super-soft TPR/TPE products, like most masturbation sleeves, can be made less sticky if cornstarch is applied after the sleeve is washed and fully dried. Many users say that doing so extends the lifespan of these products.

How To Store:

Non-Porous Materials

Overall, body-safe sex toy storage is surprisingly simple: you can mix, match, and store together any toys made from silicone, ABS plastic, stainless steel (and certain other metals), glass, wood, and/or glazed ceramic. None of these materials will harm any of the others.

A much-believed sex toy myth is that silicone sex toys should not be stored together, as melting will occur. This is inaccurate—as long as you’ve bought toys that are actually silicone, from a reputable manufacturer or retailer. Only low-quality materials, like “jelly” and some forms of PVC, can degrade silicone, which is very stable by itself.

So yes, you can put all your silicone and other non-porous toys together in your nightstand, backpack, suitcase, storage box, plastic drawers, or any other containers that work for you. However, if you have more than a couple toys, you might find it useful to organize them into storage bags, lockable pouches, or antibacterial systems like the Joyboxx for extra security. Storage bags are also convenient for travel and/or for keeping lint and hair off your silicone toys in particular.

VixSkin

VixSkin dildos are made of 100% body-safe platinum silicone, so technically it fits in the above heading. But Vixen Creations, the manufacturer of VixSkin premium dual-density dildos, advises that VixSkin toys be stored separately, in the tube or plastic storage box that they come packaged in.

Because the outer layer of any VixSkin toy is so soft and squishy, it can leave traces of dimethicone (silicone oil) on neighboring toys. This residue is body-safe and can be cleaned off, but as a whole it is simpler to store VixSkin separately. You may also consider storing similarly soft dual-density silicone dildos, like the Blush Real Nude line, in storage pouches or plastic gallon bags for this reason.

VixSkin toys whose bases include large, extended balls - like Johnny - also tend to maintain their flat bottom better over time when stored upright in their storage container, rather than left lying on their side.

More-Porous Materials

Toys made of PVC and TPR/TPE should not touch other materials, especially silicone. Store these more-porous products apart from other toys and/or in dedicated storage bags.

Before storing in a closed space, make sure your toy is fully dried, as microbes thrive in water. Keeping porous toys away from lots of heat, humidity, or direct sunlight will also prolong their lifespan.

Charging Cords

Once you accumulate more than a few vibrators or other powered toys, cord storage becomes an important consideration. With many vibes, the cords appear similar enough that they’re easy to mix up—and it’s possible to stick the wrong male end into a vibe’s charging port and ruin the toy’s motor.

Some more “luxury”-level vibes - like Fun Factory, most We-Vibe, and Zalo - come with the brand name imprinted on or molded into the USB charging cord. But so many others don’t, and you may end up with a confusing tangle of cables.

This is why many toy enthusiasts use a label-maker to clearly mark each toy’s cord out. Another possibility is to use a permanent marker to write a distinguishing word or abbreviation on the flat plastic section of any charger, right before the USB plugin.

Cord storage is also simple if you use individual storage pouches for each toy. But if you prefer to store your cords together—in a single pouch, gallon freezer bag, or dresser drawer—then labeling and wrapping them allows you to avoid confusion and tangles. The best way to wrap cords is in a simple loop, not bent too tightly at the end. (Bending the end of a charging cord at a sharp angle, or pulling and twisting the cord, may stress the wires inside.) And if you’re dealing with longer cords, consider googling “roadie wrap” for a pro-level technique.

Summary

With proper care and cleaning, many quality sex toys will last years—or even a lifetime, in the case of silicone, metal, stone and ceramic, and glass dildos! Nearly all materials can be cleaned with just soap and water for daily use, or fully sanitize your non-porous toys by using a 10% bleach solution or rubbing alcohol.

Non-porous toys can be stored together, and you can choose to use storage pouches and boxes to conveniently find toys or for discreet travel. Finally, charging cords can be labeled and loop-wrapped to ensure that your vibes and cords stay at peak performance.

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