(It’s Way Better Than What You’ve Been Doing)
Although often a taboo subject, sex toys are fast becoming a household staple in the US – and across the world.
The sex toy industry is secure, and growing; currently worth a whopping $15 billion – it’s projected to reach a valuation of $50 billion by the year 2020. If that isn’t proof of the popularity of sex toys, then we’re not sure what is.
Although sex toys are well on their way to becoming a domestic norm, it’s still an inappropriate subject to breach with most of your family and friends – and that’s a shame, because with improper use and care, sex toys can endanger your personal health.
Sex toys are of course purchased mostly for fun and pleasure, but there’s a lot more to them than that.
Sex toys are often motorized, made with specific materials, and are exposed to both vulnerable parts of the body, as well as whole ecosystems of bacteria – both harmless, and, at the same time, not.
As sex toys become more prolific amongst both men and women, it’s important that we have open, honest discussions about how best to use them, and maintain them, in order to look after the health of both ourselves and our partner(s).
In this post, we’re going to cover the ins and outs (forgive the pun) of sex toy maintenance. Specifically, how best to clean them.
The one skill you want to really master when it comes to sex toys has nothing to do with how best to achieve an orgasm – but has everything to do with how best to clean your toys.
Sex toys can spread bacterial infection, and STDs if not cleaned properly – and unfortunately, a lot of people are doing a terrible job of properly sanitizing their vibes, dildos, and butt plugs.
If you’re in need of a wake-up call, here are some of the ailments most commonly spread by improperly cleaned sex toys:
- bacterial vaginosis
And with sex toys which may draw blood (even in trace amounts) you further risk spreading nasty lifelong diseases such as:
- hepatitis B
- hepatitis C
Having a good hygiene routine with your sex toys can literally be a matter of life and death.
Now, we’re not trying to scare you from using sex toys altogether, because it is fairly easy and simple to keep them clean. And when your sex toys are properly sanitized, they add a whole new dimension to your sex life; and help you achieve levels of pleasure you wouldn’t reach otherwise.
Don’t shy away from sex toys, simply learn how best to clean them!
Let’s cover all of the different methods of cleansing sex toys, and find out which method is the best sex toy cleaner.
How to Clean Your Sex Toys
There are many different ways that people clean their sex toys, but not all of them are equal when it comes to killing bacteria, and consequently keeping you safe.
We’re going to cover common methods of sex toy cleansing from the worst to best, including both common and uncommon methods, to see how they measure up.
Remember, when it comes to cleaning sex toys, our main aim is to kill as much of the bacteria on the surface (and in the crevices) as possible. It’s this bacteria that causes many of the problems listed above.
We’re also looking at methods that clean all bodily fluids from the whole of the sex toy – that’s including hard to reach bends, nooks, etc. Leftover bodily fluids – especially trace amounts of blood – can spread even more harmful disease than bacteria alone. Yuck!
Watch out for those hard to reach spots!
Most sex toys have bends, twists, nooks and crannies. Not to mention, motorized toys often have non-waterproof parts (for example, the much beloved Magic Wand). It’s these hard-to-clean areas that pose the biggest problem for sex toy hygiene.
Any bacteria that are missed during a clean due to their residing in hard-to-reach places are the bacteria that will cause you havoc in the long run.
One of the main issues with missing just a small amount of bacteria is how prolific bacterial breeding is. It doesn’t take long for a small amount of missed bacteria to multiply into a biofilm which covers the entirety of your toy – making it extremely unhygienic and possibly dangerous.
This is why finding a cleaning method that has a bactericidal efficacy rate (that’s the rate at which bacteria are completely killed off) closer to 100% than just 50% is absolutely imperative.
Now, enough nagging – let’s look at ways to clean your toys, from the worst to the very best.
The Worst Sex Toy Cleaners
Sex Toy Cleansing Wipes
Whilst sex toy cleansing wipes are marketed specifically for use with sex toys, they are not a replacement for a thorough sanitizing routine.
Wipes can rid your toys of a bit of bacteria and all visible fluids and gunk – but they leave much in their wake in the meantime.
Often wipes are used in a quick sweeping motion, leaving plenty of fluids and bacteria in bends and nooks.
They are also not exposed to your toy long enough to properly kill off bacteria on your toy. The best you could hope for is a bactericidal efficacy rate of well below the recommended 90% and above.
Wipes are great for giving your toy a quick once over before you properly clean it. For example, wipes can be used when you’re using your toy on the move and need to give it a wipe down before storing it in your bag, as long as you intend to clean your toy thoroughly once you’re at home.
You can also keep wipes close at hand in bed in order to give your toys a quick wipe before cleansing it properly later.
Whatever you do, don’t use sex toy cleansing wipes as your only sex toy sanitization step. That’s just asking for nasty bugs and infections!
Using Boiling Water To Clean Sex Toys
While boiling water is efficient at killing off germs, it’s also pretty efficient at breaking your sex toys, rendering them useless.
Sex toys can cost a pretty penny, so it can be a major drawback if your cleansing method involves exposing your fragile, expensive toys to turbulent high temperatures. Not to mention, plenty of motorized toys can’t even be fully submerged in water, let alone boiling water.
If your toy is motorized, or made of glass, rubber, or silicone – boiling them in a pot of water may ruin them.
You might think you can reap the benefits of boiling water by simply pouring pre-boiled water over your sex toys. And while we understand the logic, it simply won’t work.
Why? Because boiling water is only effective at killing bacteria when germs are exposed to boiling temperatures (fully) for minutes, not seconds.
That means pouring pre-boiled water over your toys doesn’t expose the bacteria long enough to really kill off the entire population, leaving your toys vulnerable to forming bacterial biofilms in the meantime.
Sex Toy Cleansing Gels and Foams
As mentioned earlier, the sex toy industry is a multi-billion dollar industry – and growing. This means there’s plenty of sex toy accessory products to spend your money on.
But do sex toy cleansing gels and foams really work that well?
The unfortunate truth is that, no, sex toy cleansing gels and foams underperform as a sole sanitization method for your toys.
When tested against common bacteria found on toys – gels, foams and sprays had a bactericidal efficacy rate as low as 50% – meaning nasties such as E. Coli, and Staphyloccocus Aureus (the germ responsible for staph infection) will remain unphased on your toy after being cleansed this way.
Foams, gels and sprays may work as an interim cleanser – something you use as a first step before proceeding to a more thorough sanitization method – but they definitely should not be used alone.
The “Okay” Sex Toy Cleaners
Soap and Hot Water to Clean Sex Toys
One of the more common sex toy hygiene methods involves using the kitchen or bathroom sink.
After using your favorite dildo or vibe, you might saunter to the kitchen and give it a quick rinse under the tap.
This method can work well, but only if done properly.
The unfortunate truth is that most of us are a bit lazy post-orgasm – preferring to eat a ready-made sandwich and have a snooze rather than leave the comfort of bed.
This means that washing toys in the sink often involves a rushed sequence of events that don’t do enough to kill off the bacteria residing on your butt plugs, and what not.
To get the most out of sink washing your toys, follow these steps:
- Use hot water (wear gloves if you don’t want to hurt yourself) and a gentle soap (this should be a soap safe for sensitive skin, without any harsh surfactants or fragrances).
- Use a clean towel (straight out of the laundry) to scrub at your toys under the tap, or in the sink.
- Scrub your toys and expose them to hot water for at least 5 minutes, each. Make sure you put some elbow grease into scrubbing any bends and nooks.
- Stand your toys to dry in a clean dish rack to air dry. Or if you’re in a hurry, use a clean towel to dab them off.
Why is this method just okay and not the best?
Because most people won’t be bothered to follow the above steps properly – often mistaking a 1-minute rinse for a full 5-minute scrub – which obviously won’t compare.
It also depends on your toys being fully waterproof, which plenty of popular motorized toys simply aren’t.
There’s also the added issue of privacy if you’re sharing your home with family or roommates – as washing in the kitchen sink is a bit out in the open. You may want to opt for the bathroom sink in this case, and lock the bathroom door to make sure you don’t get any nosey intruders.
Lastly, it can be difficult to line up everything you need – especially if you need to wash your toys after a spontaneous session.
Items such as hypoallergenic soap, and straight out of the laundry washcloths and towels will need to be ready in advance for a proper hygiene treatment. Using any washcloth or towel that is already used is just asking for bacterial contamination, and dousing your toy in dish detergent instead of gentle soap may create issues for you in your most fragile parts come the next time you use your toys.
All in all, this is probably the best method you can use without having to purchase anything specific to clean your sex toys, but it only works if you do it properly, and have all the right gear in place – not to mention the post-orgasm gumption.
The Dishwasher to Clean Sex Toys
Another common way of washing sex toys is by throwing them in the handy dishwasher.
This is definitely a top-pick for the laziest amongst us, and at first glance seems to be the answer to all our dirty dildo prayers.
A dishwasher uses hot water and steam, so it is pretty great at killing off germs. After all, it gets your dishes and cutlery ready for eating straight off of – so it must make your sex toys safe, right?
It can work – but only for some toys, some of the time.
The biggest obstacle to overcome with the dishwasher is the temperatures it reaches. It can get really, really hot in a dishwasher during a full cycle, and you may find that the manufacturers of your sex toys warn against throwing them into the dishwasher because of this.
Super high temperatures can ruin, or melt a myriad of different sex toys, according to the material they’re made of.
Really, the only sex toy types that can withstand the high temperatures are glass, stainless steel, and high-quality silicone.
But even then… the dishwasher can leave your sex toy far from clean and pristine.
What else goes into your dishwasher?
Dinner plates painted with lashings of meaty bolognese sauce? Three-day-old rice grains in a barely rinsed bowl? Cutlery and spatulas laden with gravies and pass-their-use-by-date food crumbs?
The fact of the matter is that your dishwasher sees a lot of unhygienic action, and whilst plates and cutlery may appear clean when washed, and are safe for use, a toy with little crevices that catch those aforementioned foodie bits and pieces will not be safe for use.
It’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to the dishwasher, as many toys won’t survive the ordeal. And even for those toys that can take it, unless you’re rinsing each dish you put into the wash with a particular fervor, your toys may get exposed to more bacteria than you bargained for.
If the options available to you at home are hand washing, or using the dishwasher, we say go with your hands. You have a lot more control, less chance of ruining your toys, and more chance of getting it right.
The Best Sex Toy Cleaner
Sanitization with UV-C light
Sanitization with what now?
That’s right, you can fully sanitize your toys without exposing them to any soap or water.
What if we also told you that you can sanitize your toys using light, with no effort on your part?
If you’re familiar with that post-orgasm lethargy after a play sesh, then you’re probably loving the sound of this.
First of all – let’s explain how the heck you can kill germs on your toys using light alone.
UV-C is part of the UV light spectrum. You’ve probably heard of UV rays before when being lectured about sun protection at the beach, or when lamenting over a sunburn or scary looking mole.
As the term suggests, UV rays come in a full spectrum of components, there’s the rays that give you sunburn and skin damage: UV-A and UV-B, but there’s also UV-C – which doesn’t make it through the earth’s atmosphere from the sun, but still has astonishing abilities when utilized.
One such ability is the sanitization of objects, with an up to 99% bactericidal efficacy rate.
How Does UV-C Light Kill Germs?
UV-C rays penetrate the cellular walls of bacteria, and destroys them from the inside out. No germ is safe when it comes to UV-C light exposure.
UV-C light is so good at cleaning that it’s used in incredibly vulnerable environments such as in scientific labs, in the food industry, and in hospitals.
And now, in the 21st century, you can use the cleaning powers of UV-C light at home, and while you can use an at-home UV-C device for disinfecting all sorts of things (such as your never before cleaned smartphone – absolutely crawling with germs), it’s also perfect for sanitizing sex toys.
Clean Your Sex Toys With The UVee Clean
The UVee Clean is one such device, and it’s specially designed for at-home use with sex toys.
The UVee Clean is a 3-in-1 sanitization, charging and storage unit for sex toys (but it can also be used with other appropriately sized objects, such as TV remotes and smartphones – both of which see a lot of bacterial action).
The UVee Clean sanitizes objects using patented UV-C light technology, and it charges and keeps them locked up while it does so – making it the perfect sex toy hygiene solution.
Using the UVee Clean to clean your sex toys is the most efficient method on this list.
Because it has a bactericidal efficacy rate of 99%. That’s twice as effective as sex toy specific cleansing gels, foams and sprays.
It also bypasses many of the other obstacles aforementioned for other methods:
- It’s perfectly safe for non-waterproof items (an entire Magic Wand could be sanitized from head to toe without mishap)
- It takes little effort to perform perfectly, every time (all you have to do is roll over, throw your toy in, and switch the UVee Clean on)
- It gets to the germs in hard to reach places (UV-C light will flood the entirety of your toy, killing all bacteria no matter where they hide)
- It kills close to 100% of all bacteria on your toy, making it the safest method on this list.
- It requires no extra equipment (such as clean towels, safe soaps, an available sink)
- It cleans toys in 5-10 minutes, making it perfect to use when sharing toys during play.
(Plus, you can charge your toys with a handy USB cable and keep them securely stored as the UVee System can be locked at your discretion.)
If you’re serious about sex toy hygiene, then a little investment in a 99% effective cleansing solution like the UVee Clean is totally worth it.
You can even get more out of the UVee Clean than you bargained for, by starting to sanitize those super germy items you own that never get a wash.
Smartphones, after all, carry a lot of the same disease and infection spreading germs that sex toys do (such as Staphylococcus Aurea, and E. Coli). In fact, that phone you love to constantly chat on whilst at the dinner table is dirtier than your toilet seat.
Having a UV-C light sanitizing device at home will put you on the top of your hygiene game, in general.
The Best Sex Toy Cleaner Uses Light, Not Water
You may not have been expecting that the most effective cleansing method for your sex toys doesn’t involve any sudsy water, at all.
But UV-C light is really just that good at killing germs, and if you utilize it at home, then you can say bye to any potential infections and diseases you may have otherwise passed on.
Sex toys are no longer weird, or perverse – they’re items owned by a large majority of ordinary, everyday people – and it’s important that we are serious about the very normal, and everyday chore of keeping those toys clean and safe for use.
If you love your sex toys, then keep them clean. They’ll thank you by providing mind-blowing orgasms without any health repercussions.
Have fun, and as always – stay safe!