Now that you’ve invested a couple paycheques in stocking your toy chest, do the right thing and take care of your toys. Toys should be washed after use – not only will that give bacteria less time to grow, it’ll ensure that you’re not pausing for a scrubdown in the middle of your next hot-and-heavy session.
First of all, some general rules of thumb: never use anything to clean toys that you wouldn’t use on your own bathing suit areas. No detergents, scented or abrasive soaps, bleach, acetone, or rubbing alcohol. Consider using a toy cleaner like Pjur Med Clean spray to stop any form of irritation and keep your toy lasting longer. All toy cleaners are anti-bacterial so they help stop bacteria from spreading and even help fight off some as well. In addition, they’re totally body-safe so you don’t have to worry about dryness and irritation. What’s great about using a toy cleaner is that you can easily spray on the toy before and after use without having to run to the bathroom to wash up. Just spray it on and wipe it off with a towel.
While regular soap might seem fine to use, it can actually cause dryness, itchiness, irritation and wear down the exterior of the toy so consider a gentle, anti-bacterial soap if you can’t get your hands on a toy cleaner. Use before and after use, leaving the anti-bacterial soap on for about two minute to ensure your toy is clean. Make sure to rinse off the soap with plenty of warm water to remove any residue and avoid irritation. However, if you’re unsure whether your soap is the right choice, your safest bet is to always use a toy cleaner.
Never boil or submerge toys with batteries or a motor; obviously, that limits some shareable toys to a single user. If you have to share, make sure your toy is neatly preserved in a condom. Many condoms are lightly lubricated with silicone lube so avoid silicone toys, otherwise the silicone will degrade the toy. Likewise, if you’re planning to use a toy both anally and vaginally, make sure the toy is boiled in between; if you can’t boil it, again, use a condom that’s safe for your toy.
Be careful about what kind of lube you’re using. Not all lubes and toys play nice together, and some will actually degrade your toys and condoms. Oil-based lubes shouldn’t be used with latex condoms, as the oil can make rips and tears more likely. Silicone lube can break down silicone toys: not only will their surfaces become sticky, but the toy also loses its ability to become disinfected. Be aware! If you’re not sure what your toy is made of, check the box or label, or contact the store where you purchased it.
Silicone: Use a toy cleaner or, if you have to, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water. For a true deep clean, like when you’re switching partners, boil your motorless toy for 10 minutes or wash it on the top rack of your dishwasher (no detergent, please!)
Hard plastic: Use a toy cleaner or, if you have to, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water. If you’re planning on sharing, make sure you use condoms, as hard plastic is porous, and can’t be disinfected by boiling.
Glass: Use a toy cleaner or, if you have to, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water. Very hot water can crack glass toys: treat them like a vase, and skip the boiling water.
Wood: Use a toy cleaner or, if you have to, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water. (Also, if you suspect the integrity of your finished wood toy has been compromised, submerge it in water and check for darkened spots. Those spots are where the water is getting in.)
Stone: Use a toy cleaner or, if you have to, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water. You can also boil for 10 minutes to disinfect.
Stainless steel: Use a toy cleaner or, if you have to, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water. You can also boil for 10 minutes. (that bad boy is going to be hot coming out of its bath, so be careful where you put it!)
Pyrex: Use a toy cleaner or, if you have to, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water. Or, like silicone, run it through a detergent-less dishwasher cycle.
Elastomer/Thermoplastic rubber (TPR)*: Used on some popular “rabbit”-style toys, elastomer can be washed with a toy cleaner or, if you have to, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water.
Jelly rubber*: Many of the higher-end sex toy vendors are phasing this material out because it contains phthalates, but if you’re still using this, make sure it’s clean with a toy cleaner. If you don’t have access to a toy cleaner, use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water.
Cyberskin*: If you have a Fleshlight-style toy, it’s made out of something like cyberskin. Rinse these toys thoroughly, but skip the soap. Lay them out to dry next to a fan or window. Finish it off with some cornstarch if you want your toy feeling as soft and smooth as it was when you first used it. The Fleshlight folks recommend using a bit of rubbing alcohol if it’s really grimy, but use your best judgement and make sure that any rubbing alcohol is thoroughly rinsed.
*be aware that these toys may seem like silicone, but they aren’t! They are porous, and should not be boiled to disinfect, or shared between partners without using a condom.