So, you’ve finally decided to buy a sex toy. Whether it’s a vibrator, a dildo, or a combination of both, you need to know how to properly care for it to maintain proper sexual hygiene while having some solo or partnered fun! Sex toys, like most products, come with specific care instructions, and you should always follow them. However, it’s also important to know general sex toy care tips that you can apply to any toy you decide to get. Here you’ll find 6 tips on caring for your sex toy that’ll have you on your way to enjoying yourself safely!
Sex toys come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Knowing what your sex toy is made out of is a key factor in its proper care. First, sex toys are divided into two categories: porous and non-porous. Porous means that it has micro holes on its surface that can harbor bacteria, while non-porous means that it doesn’t have micro holes, i.e it doesn’t harbor bacteria and thus is safer. Some examples of porous materials are hard plastics, jelly rubber, and leather. Jelly rubber and hard plastics are common materials for dildos and vibrators–jelly being popular for dildos because of its flexibility and ability to glide when wet, whereas hard plastics are common in old school vibrators. Leather is used for impact-play toys, such as paddles or whips. Non-porous sex toys are usually made out of silicone, glass, Pyrex, and stainless steel. Silicone is one of the most popular non-porous materials as it is safe, easy to clean, and can hold hot or cold temperatures (meaning more fun!). Glass, Pyrex (which is just heat-resistant glass), and stainless steel are also great, non-porous toys for those who want a firmer sensation. In my experience, you can’t go wrong with a silicone toy. They’re easy to clean, they allow for variety, and can be found at different price points.
You might be thinking “well, duh”, but this isn’t as obvious as you might think. You should always clean your sex toy when taken out of the package for the first time, and before and after each use. Adding onto tip#1, one of the benefits of knowing the exact material your sex toy is made out of is that you can know how to properly wash it. Contrary to popular belief, not all toys can go in the dishwasher. Most porous materials can be damaged by high temperatures, so it’s best if they are hand-washed in warm, soapy water. Non-porous materials can be washed in different ways, depending on the material. Of course, you can wash them in soapy-warm water as well, but why not go for the deeper clean? Silicone can be boiled in water for 10 minutes to disinfect it. Glass can be heat-sensitive, so it’s best to clean it with warm, soapy water. Pyrex and stainless steel, on the other hand, are heat resistant, so you can boil them for 10 minutes or throw them in the dishwasher. If your sex toy is battery-powered, it’s important to take out the batteries before washing it and avoid getting water in the battery socket! As for the warm, soapy water–not just any soap will do. When washing sex toys, it’s best to avoid scented soaps, such as body wash or dish soap, as the fragrance can cause irritation in or around the genital area. It’s best to use unscented sex toy cleaners or if you don’t want to shell out that kind of cash, any unscented soap will do.
You might think condoms are just for preventing STDs or pregnancy, but they are actually quite handy when caring for your sex toy! They extend the life of your toy by preventing discoloration, chipping, among other things, and they make for easier clean-up! Remember how porous toys can harbor bacteria? Using condoms can limit that exposure. Moreover, you should always use a condom when sharing your toy with a partner. Likewise, it’s a great way to prevent any allergic reactions that you may have to some of the toy materials.
If you’re going to use lube with your toys–which you definitely should as it allows for a better glide and makes the experience more fun–be sure to choose the correct one for yourself and your toy! As a general rule, use water-based lubes as those that aren’t water-based, such as silicone-based lubes, can actually damage the material of the sex toy and cause it to break down quicker. Likewise, avoid any oil-based lubes as these weaken condoms and can cause breakage.
You shouldn’t just throw your sex toy into any old drawer. Drawers can be a breeding ground for nasty bacteria, which can get onto your toy. It’s best to store sex toys in a clean, open space. If you don’t have the option of leaving it out in the open, a clean, preferably water-resistant pouch will do. Some sex toys even come with silk pouches–don’t throw them away! You can always store your toy in it to keep it clean. Likewise, never store your battery-powered toy with batteries in it–always take them out before storing the toy. This is to avoid any chemicals seeping out of the battery and damaging the toy. It’s also to preserve battery life, as leaving the batteries inside the toy can actually drain them even while the toy is off.
Sadly, sex toys aren’t forever. Even the best materials get worn out after enough use. Some signs you should look out for are discoloration, chipping, exposed or broken battery compartments, overheating, or lingering odors. If your toy exhibits any of these signs, then it’s time to get a new one. Pro tip: When in doubt, throw it out.
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