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Sex Toy Cleaning: The Ultimate Guide on How to Clean Sex Toys

How to clean sex toys

Sex toys are wonderful tools for enhancing pleasure and exploring intimacy, but proper cleaning is essential to maintain their safety and effectiveness. Unclean toys can harbor harmful bacteria, leading to infections and other health issues. In this guide, we explain the key steps and best practices for cleaning various types of sex toys, ensuring your continued sexual health and enjoyment.

Why is Cleaning Your Sex Toys Important?

Cleaning your sex toys is vital for maintaining hygiene and protecting bodies from harmful bacteria. Residue buildup, especially on porous materials like silicone, can create a breeding ground for bacteria. Regular cleaning with a damp cloth or specialized sex toy cleaning products helps ensure toys remain safe and enjoyable for use, minimizing the risk of infections and promoting overall sexual well-being.

Health concerns caused by dirty sex toys include: 

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Bacteria from dirty sex toys can enter the urinary tract, causing painful and uncomfortable infections.
  • Bacterial Vaginosis: Unhygienic toys disrupt the natural balance of vaginal bacteria, leading to this common infection characterized by unusual discharge and odor.
  • Yeast Infections: Dirty toys create an ideal environment for yeast overgrowth, resulting in itching, irritation, and abnormal discharge.
  • Transmission of Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV can be transmitted through contact with contaminated toys, increasing the risk of genital warts and cervical cancer.
  • Risk of Infection: Unwashed toys carry unwanted bacteria, viruses, and fungi, increasing the risk of various infections and illnesses.
  • Skin Irritation: Residue on toys can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, leading to discomfort and potential damage to delicate skin tissues.

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Understanding Sex Toy Materials

Before diving into the cleaning process, it's important to understand the materials your sex toys are made of. Different materials require different cleaning methods to ensure their longevity and safety. Common sex toy materials include:

  • Silicone: Non-porous, durable, and easy to clean.
  • Plastic: Non-porous and easy to clean, but be cautious with electrical components.
  • Glass: Non-porous and resistant to bacteria, but fragile.
  • Stainless Steel: Non-porous, durable, and easy to clean.
  • Rubber: Rubber toys are porous and can harbor bacteria if not cleaned properly.
  • Elastomer: Porous elastomer toys require special attention during cleaning as they are a porous type of sex toy which is more difficult to clean.
  • Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE): Porous and can harbor bacteria if not cleaned thoroughly.
  • Jelly Rubber: Porous and prone to harboring bacteria, best avoided for health reasons, wearing a condom with jelly rubber or any porous material is advised. 

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Do Different Types of Sex Toy Materials Need to be Cleaned Differently?

Yes, different types of sex toy materials require specific cleaning methods to ensure they are cleaned safely and effectively. Silicone toys, known for their durability and ease of cleaning, can typically be washed with mild soap and water or sterilized by boiling for a few minutes, provided they don't contain electronic components. This makes silicone one of the most hygienic choices for sex toys. 

On the other hand, jelly toys, which are softer and more porous, demand extra care. They should be cleaned with warm water and a gentle cleaning solution, as their porous nature can harbor bacteria more easily. For these, using toy cleaning sprays designed specifically for sex toys can be particularly effective, as they are formulated to clean and disinfect without causing damage to sensitive materials.

When it comes to cleaning ABS plastic sex toys, the process is relatively straightforward due to the non-porous nature of ABS plastic, which means it doesn't harbor bacteria as easily as porous materials. These toys can be safely cleaned with warm water and liquid soap or a suitable cleaning solution. 

Regardless of the material, it's important to avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals during the cleaning process, as these can degrade the toy's surface, making it more susceptible to harboring bacteria. Whether opting for specialized toy cleaning sprays or a simple soap and water cleaning solution, thorough rinsing and drying are critical steps to prevent the growth of mold or mildew, ensuring that your toys remain safe and enjoyable for use.

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10 Steps to Clean Your Sex Toys

Maintaining the cleanliness of your sex toys is paramount for ensuring your sexual health and prolonging the lifespan of these intimate items. Here's a detailed guide on how to clean your sex toys effectively, covering various materials and types:

1. Check for Damage

Begin by inspecting your toy for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, tears, or loose components. Toys showing any damage should be avoided as they can harbor bacteria and potentially cause harm during use.

2. Choose the Right Cleaning Products

Opt for mild, fragrance-free soap or cleaners specifically designed for sex toys to avoid damaging the materials. Harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners can not only degrade your toy over time but also irritate sensitive areas of your body.

3. Wash with Soap and Water

Non-electronic toys made of materials like silicone, glass, stainless steel, or hard plastic should be washed with warm water and gentle soap. Ensure you cover all surfaces of the toy and rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue. For a chemical-free option, consider using a plain soap base or antibacterial soap that's safe for use on toys.

4. Use a Soft Cloth or Washcloth

Employ a clean, soft cloth or washcloth to gently scrub the toy. This step is crucial for removing any lingering dirt or debris. Be extra diligent with toys that have textured surfaces or intricate designs, as bacteria love to hide in nooks and crannies.

5.Disinfect as Needed

For additional sanitization, consider using an antibacterial soap or a toy cleaner spray designed for sex toys. Make sure to follow the cleaning product's instructions for effective disinfection, and always steer clear of solutions that contain potentially harmful chemicals.

6. Rinse Thoroughly

It's imperative to rinse the toy thoroughly under warm water post-cleaning to ensure all soap and cleaner residues are washed away. Residual chemicals can cause irritation or infections if not properly removed.

7.Dry Completely

After washing, pat your toy dry with a clean, lint-free towel or leave it out to air dry. The toy must be completely dry before storage to prevent the formation of mold or mildew, which can compromise your health.

8. Store Properly

Store your toy in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight and away from extreme heat or cold. Consider using a breathable storage bag or container specifically designed for sex toys to keep them clean and dust-free between uses.

Following these detailed steps will not only help maintain your sex toys in pristine condition but also ensure a safe and healthy experience with every use. Regular cleaning and proper storage are key to extending the life of your toys and safeguarding your sexual health.

Extra Level of Care for Specific Types of Materials

  • Silicone Sex Toys: Can be boiled for 5-10 minutes or cleaned in the dishwasher (top rack) for thorough disinfection.
  • Glass Sex Toys: Can be boiled or cleaned with a regular UV light or advanced UV-C light for extra sterilization.
  • Stainless Steel Sex Toys: Can be boiled or wiped down with rubbing alcohol for disinfection.

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How Often Should You Clean Your Sex Toys?

To maintain optimal hygiene and prevent bacterial infections, it's crucial to clean your sex toys before and after each use. Use mild soap and warm water to wash non-porous toys like silicone, glass, or stainless steel. For regular cleaning, ensure you're thorough and use quality products suitable for your toy's material. This routine helps protect bodies from harmful bacteria and ensures safe enjoyment across various types of toys.

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Common Mistakes People Make When Cleaning Their Adult Toys

Most sex toys come with specific cleaning instructions on them to help you keep your sex toys clean. However, sometimes people take matters into their own hands, and that is where mistakes are made.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that are made when cleaning sex toys: 

  • Using Harsh Chemicals: Some individuals mistakenly use strong chemicals or dish soap, which can damage toy materials and irritate sensitive skin.
  • Using Boiling Hot Water: While warm water is suitable, hot water can deform or melt certain toy materials, compromising their integrity.
  • Using Scented Soap: Washing toys with soap that is scented is an issue as they may contain irritants or chemicals unsuitable for intimate use, leading to discomfort or allergic reactions.
  • Not Rinsing Thoroughly: Inadequate rinsing leaves soap residues on toys, which can cause irritation or discomfort during use.
  • Using Paper Towels: Rough paper towels can scratch toy surfaces, especially delicate materials like silicone or glass toys. Instead, opt for a clean cloth. 
  • Submerging Toys with Electronic Components: Submerging toys with electronic components in water can damage the internal mechanisms, rendering them unusable.

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