Proper cleaning of sex toys is essential to avoid bacterial infection or transmission of STIs. While some STIs die once the fluid they live in dries, others (such as hepatitis and scabies) can live for weeks or months outside of the body. If you want to prevent pregnancy, it is also important to be remove sperm that may be on the sex toy before using near or in the vagina. It's important to keep the instructions for cleaning the sex toy and to follow them carefully. If you feel that cleaning the toy properly would be too time consuming or unrealistic for you, think about buying a different toy.
Before plunging your sex toy into a sink of water or taking it in the shower with you for a rinse, check the instructions or packet to see if it's completely waterproof. Many sex toys are not, and they will state water resistant only and to wipe the surface carefully. If the manufacturers have been a bit lax in the description department and there's no mention of waterproof-ness, you should assume it’s not a waterproof sex toy. Believe me, if it's waterproof, they will have added this on as a bonus sales point.
If your sex toy is fully waterproof – hurray! I like to fill a sink with tepid water and use a squirt of my anti-bacterial handwash to give the sex toy an initial clean over, removing most of any residual playtime mess. I also keep an old toothbrush (you can also use an old nailbrush) with my sex toys and accessories specifically for cleaning sex toys. Don’t keep these with your regular toothbrushes and nail brushes for goodness'sake! You really don’t want to get them mixed up with your regular ones.
After scrubbing the sex toy down – paying particular attention to any ridges, crevices and around any nodules – I dry the sex toy lightly with a clean cloth. I then lightly coat the surface of the sex toy with a few spritzes of anti-bacterial sex toy cleaner. if you have a good quality one in your ‘sex essentials’ kit, you can leave the sex toy cleaner to dry on the surface of your vibrator or dildo, and the formulation will ensure that your toy is completely hygienically clean, without causing you any harm when you next come to use it (or use it to come, alternately).
Some of the older formulations of sex toy cleaner still have anti-bacterial properties but need to be left on the surface of the sex toy then rinsed off after 30 seconds to a minute, with clear water before drying with a clean cloth. Check your specific sex toy cleaner to see how to use yours.
If your sex toy isn't waterproof, you obviously can't submerge it in a sink full of water, or take it in the shower with you to get rid of most of the mess. You will need to use a damp cloth to very carefully wipe the surface of the toy, taking care not to get any dampness near any charging ports or battery compartments, or by any of the eams on the product. You should still use a good quality anti-bacterial sex toy cleaner after this initial wipe down, and I always prefer to use one which I can leave to dry safely on the surface of the toy.
Certain sex toys will need even more careful cleaning, such as male masturbators like Fleshlights. If you’re unsure how to clean a Fleshlight masturbator, check the instructions that come with the sex toy or on the manufacturer’s website. The standard procedure for cleaning a sleeve style male masturbator is to turn it inside out, and rinse it through thoroughly in cold water. Cold water stops any unwanted scents from remaining in the (usually) soft feel material such as silicone or TPE/TPR.
Once you’ve thoroughly rinsed out the masturbation sleeve you can use an anti-bacterial cleaner such as a caring hand wash to act as a ‘cleaning agent’, and I have found that I prefer hand washes because a) they’re usually by the sink anyway and b) they’re gentle enough not to cause any damage to the product. You should still follow the instructions above with regards to rinsing thoroughly, drying with a clean cloth then using an anti-bacterial sex toy cleaner spray over the toy liberally before setting aside to dry.
With soft and real feel products like male masturbation sleeves it can be easy to tear the material when cleaning them, so be very careful. You should also be aware that some sex toy materials are porous and others are non-porous. Porous materials (including jelly, CyberSkin, Fanta Flesh, LoveClone RX, UR3, Real Feel SuperSkin, TPE and TPR) can let in certain amounts of wetness as well as bacteria from the body so an extra careful clean is required. To ensure complete hygiene, look for non-porous sex toy materials such as silicone, or rigid dildo styles such as glass, metal and stone.