We all like getting dirty whether it’s with ourselves or with a partner. When it’s done right, the juices of love can come gushing out of our bodies like a broken dam to make us feel temporarily satisfied. Unfortunately, even the best orgasms come to an end so we have to go out in search of them time and time again. The demands of our collective libidos have led to a massive sex toy industry that has a little something for everybody. We no longer have to rely on the physical limitations of our partners for sexual pleasure. However, reusable objects that have no issues with stamina come with a relatively high cost, that is, if you don’t take care of them properly.
Most modern-day pleasure devices come with a set of user instructions written by the manufacturer, but all too often that information isn’t enough to really drive home the importance of sex toy hygiene. A lot of people don’t even bother looking at the pamphlets and booklets that come with their toys for anything but to explore the various performance settings available. It's a sick, sad world out there, ladies and gentlemen, with far too many filthy fuck sticks floating around. I hope you agree that it’s time for us to do something about it. Knowing how to properly clean your sex toys is a sign of maturity, not to mention a tip of the hat to your overworked genitals.
Interestingly enough, though, the problem of dirty devices isn’t centered solely on consumer negligence anymore. Some of these devices are downright complicated and many of them require special steps to keep them in top condition. As a general rule, the fancier your toy gets the more sophisticated your aftercare process will have to be. You can look at the instruction manual all day and still not understand how your product’s maintenance requirements compare to similar devices. The best way to know whether you’re getting ripped off or tipped off is to gain some basic knowledge about proper sex toy cleanliness. Welcome to the big leagues, boys and girls.
It’s extremely important to grasp the fundamental parameters of what’s commonly considered a sex toy because, quite frankly, it can be just about anything these days. There are complete websites devoted to people who try to make their own dildos and masturbators out of regular household goods – fruits, vegetables, hairbrushes, you name it. The reason the lack of distinction is so important is because you could be using something that’s not traditionally defined as a pleasure product without knowing that the same hygiene rules apply. Put simply, cleanliness is next to sex godliness no matter what sort of contraption you’re using. Unless the item is disposable after a single romp, you’ll need to pay close attention from here on out.
According to most dictionaries, a sex toy is defined as a device that’s used during sexual activity to enhance pleasure. Sounds pretty simple, right? The fucked-up part is that the “device” that’s being described there can include pretty much any object that a person finds acceptable. Imagine the danger. That’s what contemporary product manufacturers had in mind when they developed their first pleasurable prototypes. So, while most people still assume that a true sex toy is something that gets purchased from a local adult entertainment store, that’s not always the case. Technically, a sex toy can be anything that gets inserted into the user’s body or is inserted into by the user.
Granted, you probably won’t be washing off those spent cucumbers and grapefruits before serving them for dinner but you get the point. Sex toys need to taken care of because they come in contact with your body (and sometimes with the bodies of your partners too). It’s one thing to be nasty but it’s another thing to be a fucking moron. Remember, lovemaking can be messy when you do it right, so do it right but also clean up after yourself or I’ll call your mother.
Knowing how to properly clean your stash means understanding all the different ways that these kinds of devices get used by individuals and couples. Becoming a pro at this part means you can more easily determine which maintenance paths to take, especially when it comes time to develop a safe and effective aftercare plan. Yes, good sex requires tons of planning and premeditation to ensure maximum pleasure and minimal pain. What did you think, we were going to half-ass it on this one just because we have a bunch of devices that can do the work for us? That’s a rookie mistake.
These are the top five most common ways that modern-day sex toys get used. Mind you, each different method requires a unique approach to cleaning (but we’ll cover that later):
Now do you understand why defining the main purpose of a sex toy can help you determine which way to clean it (and when)? I said you were going to be fucking like a pro by the time we were done and I meant it. The next step is to find out exactly what happens to your precious playthings when you use them and how time and attention change the game in several ways. Like an old pair of good shoes, your devices will last a long time if you take care of them right.
Wear-n-tear isn’t just a concern for homeowners and car dealerships. Serious sex toy enthusiasts also know that their favorite devices probably won’t last forever, so they appreciate the importance of basic physics and have a comprehensive grasp on modern manufacturing. For example, did you know that most companies use what’s known as “planned obsolescence” when creating their devices because they want to ensure future sales? Fortunately, those realities never stop hardcore consumers from trying to prolong the lifespans of their playthings like responsible kids and I, for one, congratulate them for that.
Typically, non-disposable pleasure products are manufactured under strict production guidelines to be durable and long-lasting as long as they’re used as directed. The better the materials and more established the brand, the more time you’ll likely have to enjoy your purchase. And because of inherent obsolescence and reputable transparency, many of the big-name manufacturers even offer a limited warranty on their devices when you register them properly within the allotted registration window. For best results, however, try to spend your money only on products that are made out of one of the following industry-standard materials:
All of the materials mentioned above are well-known for being extremely tough against years of friction, not to mention either flesh-like or temperature responsive. Most of them are also compatible with all skin types and friendly with each lube formulation as well. That fact matters because it affects how the toy withstands your treatment of it, whether good, bad or indifferent. Whatever your stance on material make-up, try to avoid devices that are crafted out of questionable or potentially dangerous stuff because you and/or your partner could get injured, ripped off or worse. If you refrain from using toys that are made with phthalates, parabens and latex then you should be good to go for the long-haul. The point is to pick out and use something that has nice balance between being realistic and resilient.
This part of the sex toy cleaning process is important because the materials with which your devices are made will determine how you clean them, how often they need maintained and which maintenance products you’ll need to get it all done. Sometimes, that can be a real pain in the ass when you’ve opted to buy something cheap or make something in your kitchen. On the bright side, however, higher-end materials don’t break down or sustain damage from friction nearly as quickly as lower-end materials do. Either way, every single one of your pleasure products will undergo a massive amount of pressure and tons of exposure to bodily fluids and lubes. Any residual substance crusting can reduce the device’s performance capabilities, even if that device made out of solid 24-karat gold (or a pineapple from Whole Foods).
Aside from making sure you don’t repulse any of your partners with nasty ass sex toys, keeping a clean house is vital because it assures that everything is in good working order when you go to use it. Imagine being in the heat of the moment only to reach into your bedside table to find a bunch of junky devices that don’t operate as promised? Would that be your problem, your partner’s missed opportunity or the manufacturer’s shortcoming? It’s tough to say, but one thing is for sure: You’re not going to have the kind of sex you want when your stash looks (smells and feels) like a steaming pile of shit.
You could live in the most pristine apartment in the world and still present your partners with gross sex toys because you didn’t understand the fundamentals. Thinking that you’ve got all your bases covered, you mistakenly stuff your devices back into their designated storage compartments only to find out later that doing so wasn’t such a good idea. People’s genitals see all kinds of things, and the outside world always finds a way into your little bubble. Would you rather be safe or sorry? Sore or satisfied? The choice is yours but respect the fact that responsible sex toy ownership means routinely cleaning your playthings even when you haven’t used them for pleasure in a while. Here are five inarguable reasons why that’s true no matter what kind of object you use for pleasure:
Consider your family automobile. It most likely runs best when its tires are rotated, its oil is freshly changed and its gas tank is full. Well, your sex toys react in much the same way, meaning they run best when they’re thoroughly wiped down, dried off and stored in a proper location. My father used to say that my bicycle was “rode hard and put away wet” because I neither took care of it nor put it back in the garage when I was done. So, while the other kids in my neighborhood were riding their bikes all over hell’s half acres, I had to walk quickly beside them because my shit was all rusted out. Some lessons stay with us forever.
Modern-day pleasure products are routinely made to withstand a lot of user negligence but the more sophisticated models sometimes require a level of commitment that casual masturbators can’t always provide. If you’re not in the mood to go through several steps or if you fear that your love life wouldn’t allow for something like that, opt for simpler devices or (better yet) go back to jerking off like they did in the stone age. This is where the cool kids stay, and we wash off our toys when we’re finished because we want to come outside and play again tomorrow. We truly hope to see you there.
Did you know that you and/or your partner can still get a nasty skin rash (or full-blown infection) during sex, foreplay or masturbation even if your device is made out of completely hypoallergenic materials? How, you ask? By the presence of latent bacteria, air particles and environmental debris like dead skin flakes, dust, and pet dander. You’d be surprised by how much funk is in the air at your abode, that’s why companies consistently churn out air purifying machines and aromatherapy tools. Don’t get your hopes up too fast, though. Even extremely pure homes can be dirty danger zones for unclean or improperly stored sex toys.
As a matter of fact, some speculate that the presentation of a skin rash has little to do with the user’s selection of sex toy materials and more to do with their personal hygiene habits, or lack thereof. Many people go so far as to believe that all topical reactions are caused by improperly maintained surfaces, but we know better. Certain materials can cause an immediate allergic reaction, plus the lube and cleaners you use to maintain those materials can eat away at the surface or lay dormant on it to fight another day. What I’m trying to say is: Make sure your shit is squeaky clean or things can get itchy and scratchy in a hurry.
The best pleasure products on our market are made by scrupulous manufacturers who rely heavily on positive consumer reviews to maintain their lofty reputations in the industry. They don’t want to go around pissing people off, so they create high-end devices and then cover them with comprehensive insurance plans from the factory floor. With that comes a plethora of devices that are covered by a limited warranty or satisfaction guarantee. The extra coverage helps buyers feel more confident about spending their money on a luxury item, but it’s not supposed to act as a safeguard against negligence. In fact, most manufacturer’s warranties become void if the purchaser don’t use, maintain and/or store their product as instructed.
When you pay close attention to the cleanliness of your sex toys you pay less in dollar bills. You automatically get a front-row view of the overall integrity of the device as well. This is when you can look around for any broken pieces or compromised parts. Preventative maintenance also prolongs the life of almost every object known to man so this is no different. As long as you warrantied register your device within 30 days of the purchase date and mind the cleaning directions to the letter there shouldn’t be any reason to regret your investment. Be sure to contact the manufacturer if you have any specific questions about maintaining your new toy.
We live in a very filthy world and I’m not talking about the state of our mentality or emotions. According to recent studies on our intimate environments, the average home has a wide variety of pollutants in the air at varying levels of density. Examples of the potentially harmful particles that are commonly found include things like carbon dioxide molecules, carbon monoxide molecules, radon, formaldehyde, mold spores and smoke (on top of all the other shit I just got done mentioning). I think it’s safe to say that our houses aren’t nearly as airtight as we think they are. So, putting our playthings in the wrong space can have dire consequences, especially if they’re not properly cleaned off in the first place.
Considering the fact that there have been countless articles written about the dangers of homespun allergens, it’s understandable how cautious many sex toy users can be. After all, these devices are supposed to make extremely close contact with the buyer and/or their partner. If the surface is covered in environmental waste then those particles are going to end up inside someone’s body. Keeping in mind that storage containers are seldom sterile, airtight, waterproof or otherwise, you should probably rinse off your playthings after getting them out of their hiding spots and before putting them anywhere near a person’s delicate genitals. Also, wash your damn hands prior to touching anything. Who knows where those things have been?
One of the best things about using sex toys is the newfound ability to do what your body couldn’t otherwise do on its own. After all, these products were originally invented to substitute for the user’s lacking anatomy or shortlisted love life. Erotic activities like double penetration, mutual masturbation and ejaculation control aren’t as easy or enjoyable when you’ve got to improvise on your pleasure products, so be sure to have plenty of properly maintained gear on deck before whipping out your wad. Anyone who tells you that going back and forth between partners without a quick wash-down is an idiot and a fool. Don’t fall for the hype.
You can still have an amazing orgy and/or the hyperactive sex life of your dreams without passing around germs and disease. Multiple partners can get off with the same exact sex toy but only if you either dip it in acid or run it through the bath really quick. Not in the mood for that kind of patience and awkward waiting? You’ll have to buy more than one version of the device or talk your lovers into keeping themselves busy while you clean up. There’s no other way around it. You simply cannot make more than one person cum with the same device unless it’s interactive or teledildonic, and even then, you’ll want to spritz off the surface before touching someone else’s body with it.
By understanding the importance of keeping your nose clean you can more leisurely enjoy the fruits of your investment. Believe it or not, a little more work on the front-end leaves a lot more space on the back-end. What I mean by that is simple: Respect the need for preventative maintenance and then teach yourself how and when to clean your sex toys based on the five fundamental scenarios mentioned above. If you’re still confused about proper protocol, wash everything within arm’s reach at least twice because there’s a good chance it hasn’t been done in a while.
To cleanse everything that needs to be cleansed, including yourself, you have to know what you’re doing and why. We’ve covered the why but you still need to know how. This is a lot like bathing a baby, by the way – certain skills and equipment are needed to do the job safely, efficiently and before people start crying. Ignore the advice that’s coming your way and deal with the consequences on your own. I just hope you don’t have a sex toy that uses electrical components because you’re about to get electrocuted like a motherfucker if so. News flash: Cleaning your sex toys often involves water, even if the device is made with TENS power or built-in batteries. Hear me out.
First and foremost, I want you to take this time to review the product’s label and/or instruction manual to see if there are any special directions that you’re supposed to follow. If so, ignore everything I’m about to say that doesn’t align with what the manufacturer has advised. I don’t want to be responsible for any damages or voided warranties for fuck's sake. If not, commit the following information to memory or add the emergency room’s phone number to your speed dial because you’ll need one or the other eventually:
You can always tell the difference between a sex toy that has been taken care of and a device that has been left to its own…well, devices. There are telltale signs that non-verbally cue us in to the experienced adventurers while helping us avoid the trappings of disappointment. Few people want to hump a hunk of junk and even fewer prefer their playthings with malfunctioning parts. Proper maintenance is therefore a major part of this erotic equation. If cleanliness is next to godliness then you’ve finally got what it takes to become the next best sexual phenomenon (granted you know how to use some of these super sophisticated sex toys, that is).
You can clean your sex toys all day long but nothing will prepare you for a malfunctioning device or a broken component, especially when you discover it in the heat of the moment or didn’t expect it to happen in the first place because you’ve been a good little boy (or girl). There’s only so much you can do to prevent things like that from occurring, which is properly registered warranties are so essential. The cleanest among all of us still has to worry about certain factors simply because they’re the proud owner of a high-quality pleasure product. I think the saying goes, “To whom much is given, much is expected” or something like that. Right?
Anyway, this whole “using and cleaning a sex toy” business is a timeless one. Men and women have been struggling to preserve their precious playthings since they first started making them out of old loaves of bread and pieces of chalk. I swear, we have things so fucking good these days that we don’t even realize how bad it used to be. Today’s devices are made better thus they’re almost always supported by simple and easy maintenance tactics. Here, try a few of these on for size and see if they don’t extend the life of your sex toys by a considerable margin:
It will do you no favors to properly wash off a bad lube once it has done its damage to your device. Prevent expensive accidents from happening by making sure your toy is compatible with the lubricants you like using. Here are some basic guidelines to help you out:
Remember, kids, the wrong lubricant can cause problems that your cleaning habits and storage behaviors are supposed to prevent. Read the label, consult the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for more detailed information.
Did you know that old batteries can start to erode over time, causing a gradual build-up of potentially deadly chemicals that end up sitting right inside the housing ports of your favorite sex toys? To make matters worse, the average AA/AAA battery contains all sorts of nastily powerful substances, from manganese dioxide mixtures to zinc powders and potassium hydroxide electrolytes that are just alkaline enough to eat through various types of metals and even your skin. A good battery’s lifespan depends on its use but most commercial options last for only about 6 months before needing replaced. Even lithium batteries can leak fluids once their casing begins to wear out, so be sure to keep a close eye on your device’s battery housings and power ports. Any sign of crusty, rust colored debris or a flaky residue should be met with extreme caution.
NOTE: By the time you notice something is wrong with the batteries it may be too late to do anything about it. Try to change your power supply at least once every four to five months.
Unattached, split or frayed wires can be extremely dangerous to ignore, so don’t. Keep in mind that even wireless devices have wires and electrical components inside of them. If possible, run a quick check of the internal mechanisms before clicking any buttons or turning on any performance modes. If peering inside the machine it’s possible, double check any external wiring outlets to make sure everything looks as it should. The appearance of anything like surface darkening, melted plastic or missing pieces is a big sign that something could go wrong at any minute. Reread your owner’s manual to make sure you’re not overreacting and, while you’re there, peep at what any included warranties to find out what’s covered (or not).
Some sex toys are pretty high-tech these days, with many of them being compatible with things like virtual reality goggles, mainstream Bluetooth, mobile data plans, smart phone apps, online porn hubs, webcam membership sites and even other devices. Our world is becoming smaller by the minute, but it only works if the users of sex tech remember to update their toys as often as is required by the manufacturer. Outdated operating systems can make a device malfunction, which may in turn get confused with another problem. The best way to keep everyone safe and sane is to allow all tech-sensitive contraptions to either rest for a while between uses or be immediately hooked back up to the motherboard when you’re finished. This will give both the device and its user ample time to realign for the next adventure, plus it can help keep any manufacturer’s warranties intact as well.
You might not keep your sex toys in a high and dry place but it would be cooler if you did. It would also help reduce the amount of time it takes to prep for a play session. You see, pleasure products that are kept away from moisture and everyday air are longer-lasting and more durable by default. So, regardless of how you clean your stuff or where you end up putting it, make sure its final resting place is somewhere above arm’s reach or below the average person’s line of sight. For most people, this includes the closet, the bedside nightstand or inside a dresser drawer. Whatever you decide, don’t let the device go anywhere near room deodorizers, fabric fresheners, perfumes, colognes, incense or cigarette/cannabis smoke. Unlike your partner’s genitals – the drier the better.
Is it hot? Is it cold? Nobody knows. The only thing we’re certain of is that your sex toys don’t belong anywhere near extreme temperatures for the same reason that they shouldn’t be washed off in extremely hot or cold water. There’s a lot of shrinking and expanding that happens when a device’s materials are exposed to varying environmental pressures, meaning your little investment could be getting significantly compromised without you even touching it. Nobody likes rapid aging, not even your favorite inanimate objects. The best place to put your playthings is in a temperature-controlled area of your home – not in the garage or a shed out back. This is especially important when you use a lot of life-like products or fleshy coverings to get off. Just like regular human skin, it doesn’t fare so well when it’s left out in the heat and cold. Bundle up, baby cakes, because proper insulation is now worth its weight in gold.
Toy controls, internal mechanical components, and especially external materials can become permanently damaged just by being exposed to direct sunlight. That’s not usually mentioned in the owner’s manual so I thought I’d let the cat out of the bag on this one. Your manufacturer’s warranties don’t typically cover this kind of damage either, probably because they assume you won’t be leaving your sex toys out in the open for the whole world to see. But, since we all live different lives and that last scenario is more common than you think, it’s important to touch base on this lesser-known fact about proper sex toy cleaning and maintenance. As you’re laying your device out to dry before putting it back into storage, make sure you’re not employing UV-A or UV-B sun rays to get it done. Can someone say, “faded glory?” Let’s have a moment of silence of all the products that were ruined before this became common knowledge…
Proper sex toy cleanliness and maintenance makes you look oh so smart and being oh so smart is oh so sexy. Try not to get too excited and remember, a good romp in the sack requires ample amounts of planning, tons of research and (usually) the patience and diligence of a monk. Study up on your devices to find out what makes them tick, tock, and tumble. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the manufacturer for more information and whatever you do, never neglect to register your device within the allotted time and clean the surface before AND after you do the deed. Good luck out there, boys and girls. It’s been fun getting dirty with ya’ll.
About Blake Parker
Blake Parker makes Ron Jeremy look like Mother Theresa. His honest take on allthings pertaining to pleasure and relationships has made him a household name that’s synonymous with sexuality. Blake’s unique perspective on toys and techniques prepares the mind and body for more than just an incredible orgasm. Hisentertaining sex toy reviews, buyer’s guides, and How-To articles inform consumers of what nobody else will say. His readers demolish emotional/physical strongholds, tear down social taboos, and become more comfortable in their own skin as he and his partner enlighten the world one sex toy at a time. Notoriety isn’t the goal with Blake; satisfaction is.