Whether you’ve just purchased your first vibrator or are a seasoned dildo user, it’s important to learn how to properly care for it. One major safety precaution you need to take – before both solo and partner play – is to clean your sex toy.
While it may not sound sexy, cleaning your toys is essential. “Pleasure products can help you embrace confidence, help navigate intimate desires and boundaries and boost self-love,” said Kristin Fretz, co-founder and CMO of Emojibator. “But having an experience like getting a UTI from a vibrator is not just uncomfortable and can be extremely painful if left untreated, but it perpetuates the shame around masturbation and can create individual resistance to self-pleasure.”
If this year taught us anything, it’s that we should all try to be more mindful about sanitization – especially when it comes to the most sensitive areas of your body. While it may not seem sexy, cleaning your sex toys can just be another (perhaps the last) step when you masturbate or play with a partner. Just as you wash jak zaczÄ…Ä‡ rozmowÄ™ na Meetville your body after sex and rigorously wash your hands after…well, touching anything, cleaning sex toys is crucial to being as safe and healthy as possible.
Furthermore, you’ll want to find a clean space to store your clean sex toy. Not doing so would basically make washing them useless. It’d be like washing your hands only to cough into them seconds later; you’d have to rewash them. Many toys come with their own pouch, which is useful, but there are many other options available too.
To help you avoid getting into an unpleasant or even downright dangerous situation, Mashable spoke with three experts, including Fretz, about how to clean sex toys in the safest and most thorough way.
What sex toy material can you clean?
You can, and probably should, think about how you’re going to clean a new toy even before purchasing one. Look for nonporous material, such as silicone, because a porous sex toy is more likely to hold harmful bacteria according to Laurie Mintz. Mintz is a Ph.D., author of Becoming Cliterate and A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex as well as the “sexpert” for sex toy brand LELO.
How to clean your sex toys, according to three experts
Here are a few examples of what kind of porous material you might find in a sex toy: hard plastic, elastomer, thermoplastic elastomer (TPR), or jelly rubber. Since these materials can hold bacteria even after they’ve been cleaned, Mintz recommends toys using medical-grade materials such as medical-grade silicone. If your toy doesn’t come with instructions on how best to clean it, you can ask the merchant who sold it to you for advice about what will work best.
That being said, there are some precautions you can take if you do choose to use a porous toy. Lisa Finn, a sex educator for the sex toy shop Babeland, has a few recommendations. If you properly clean your toy with a mild soap and water and store it safely – in a clean toy bag or box, kept away from other porous toys – porous sex toys can be kept safe for solo use. When using them with a partner, as an anal toy, or if you are particularly prone to developing a yeast infection, Finn suggests using a condom on your porous toy. If your toy changes color or starts to smell, it’s time to retire it.
Finn said that shopping at a trusted retailer can ensure that your toys are high quality and not made out of “novelty” materials like jelly rubber.