Kat Whoo works as a Sexual Health Educator at CALOR, a division of the Anixter Center. She is a certified HIV tester and counselor by the Chicago Department of Public Health, as well certified in three Diffusion of Effective Behavioral interventions (DEBI) including Mpowerment, Personal Cognitive Counseling (PCC), and CRCS+ CLEAR funded by the Center of Disease Control.
Q: What is the best way to keep your toys clean? Condoms? Dishwasher?
Q: How often should we buy new toys (i.e. is there an expiration like with makeup)?
Q: What kinds of lube are safest/most harmful to use?
So you are laying down mid-day with some time on your hands and you hear a thump thump thump coming from under your bed… Whether it was a thoughtful gift from your best friend, girlfriend, or a discrete online purchase your new toy is hiding in Pandora’s Box and it’s taunting you to play! Don’t hesitate to embrace your new best friend, most people bond so well with their toys they even name them.
When you are feeling angry, frustrated, horny, bored, or kinky your new friend will never let you down. But, in order to keep the good times rolling you have to learn how to take good care of your new girl.
Making sure you clean your toys right after using them will ensure they last as long as possible. Making this a good habit will also make you feel more secure to whip it out the next time your actual girl wants a ménage à trois with you and your new friend. So how should we clean our toys? The first step is to look at the packaging it came in. It’s important to find out what the toy is made out of in order to know how to keep it clean. Look for words like acrylic, surgical steel, glass, hard plastic, or medical grade silicone: these all indicate 100% REAL material. If the packaging describes the material in your toy as latex, rubber, jelly, or “realistic,” or urge you to buy a “special” cleaner, the odds are your toy is made from a porous material.
Porous toys are hard to keep and get destroyed when washed with soap and water, so using a condom during play time will help keep them from degrading. If you are using your toys on multiple partners, a non lubricated condom is best for clean up (with any material) and ensures you are not exposing any of your partners to a sexually transmitted infection.
Keeping your toys made out of a real material clean is as easy as soap and water! Use antibacterial soap, and avoid soaps with heavy scents or lotions/scent beads/exfoliates in them. If your toy has batteries, be sure to remove them when washing, and wait until it’s completely dry before reinserting the batteries to avoid corrosion. If your toy is non electric, feel free to boil it or throw it in your dishwasher (make sure mom isn’t coming over that day to visit!) If you think soap and hot water isn’t clean enough, you can also spray your toy down with a bleach and water solution. Prepare your solution by adding 1 part bleach to 10 parts water (don’t soak). Spray over and rinse with soap and water. If your toy is so dirty you are tempted to soak it… It’s time to throw your old toy away and get some new friends!
Although silicone lube is my personal favorite because it maintains its lubrication for far longer than other lubes, take caution when using it on your silicone toys: it will destroy it! Water base lubricant is safest to use on most toys except those made from porous materials. Porous toys damage easily so it’s best to put a non lubricated condom on them, that way the condom is protecting it from moisture. The water based or silicone based lubricants can be used happily. When you’re putting your toys away try to wrap them individually because two silicone toys can bond together creating a mega Siamese dildo that
may be funny but very useless for next time. Or, maybe not. Whatever works for you!
If cleaned well and stored properly your toy can last a very long time! (Longer than makeup) If your old friend has seen better days and doesn’t resemble its picture on the box or has a smell that isn’t pleasant and not going away, it’s time to let it go. Have fun and be safe!
Do you have any pressing sex related questions you want answered? Send us an email (anonymous, as always): firstname.lastname@example.org