How to clean a used sex toy

Notes for both buyers and sellers of used adult toys

It is important to clean/sanitize and disinfect/sterilize your sex toys before you sell, and after you buy.

(Please check the manufacturer’s instructions BEFORE you just ‘have a go’ !)

 

1. Sellers

Please give your unwanted adult toys an especially thorough clean – why not do it twice !

It´s important that all sellers make every effort to pass on their unwanted adult toys in a spotless condition – just the same condition that you would like to receive them yourself. 

With all cleaning, please follow the manufacturer´s instructions. Your toy may have a coating for aesthetic or allergenic purposes, so be extra careful to ensure your cleaning does not remove this. As we find instructions offered by the manufacturers for specific toys, we will post them at the bottom of this page for you ( starting with how to clean and sterilize an RC2 ).

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CLEAN

Washing, or wiping with a mild non-irritating soap and warm water will remove all dirt and dust.

Don´t forget to do this immediately, after every time you use a toy. And, before you do any deeper cleaning or disinfecting you always need to clean it first.

Sanitizing can be done with toy cleaners, antibacterial soap or wipes.  

Strong disinfection will kill a certain level of germs from surfaces. It can be done with a 70% (or higher) isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

Always make sure you rinse the soap or chemicals off after.

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Sterilize

Boiling is best and you need to be bubbling for a constant 20 mins in a pan, or you can even use the top rack of your dishwasher – on the hottest setting, with no detergent. Just make sure the toy material can take this type of sterilizing.

Alternatively, you can use a 10% bleach / 90% cold water solution to soak non-porous toys. Bleach can ruin porous toys and also it would stay in the little pores and make it too unsafe to re-use again.

Make sure you leave the solution in contact with the toy for 10-15 minutes. Equally important is the rinsing (and drying) afterwards to ensure that no bleach remains on the toy before it is used again. 

The easiest method,  for any type of toy, is to use a UV-C light sterilizer specifically made for sex toys ( e.g.  B-Vibe and UVEE Clean). The only issue with these is that only the areas that the UV light has reached are actually sterilized so make sure this is possible. 

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RINSE

Rinsing thoroughly is just as important as cleaning. You need to make sure you aren´t leaving any chemicals ( e.g. soap, toy cleaner, bleach ) still on a toy that will be touching your body !

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DRY

Drying fully is important for both cleanliness and fresh smelling.  Blot dry, air dry, leave in sunlight to make it as fresh as possible.

 

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STORE

Storage away neatly and safely, for example in a clean silk or satin bag or box so that they stay sterile.

Clean – Sterilize – Rinse – Dry – Store

Then tick the appropriate listing boxes to make the buyers aware. (We also advise buyers to carry out the same procedure after they receive the goods.)

2. Buyers

 

Despite your new purchase appearing to be perfectly clean, thoroughly clean and sanitize, or even disinfect or sterilize it yourself once it arrives. To clean and sanitize it, wash it twice in soapy water, then use an alcohol solution / toy cleaning spray, dry it thoroughly, and store it in a clean box or bag. To sterilize it, follow the guidance below.

How to clean THE different types of sex toys

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Toys with motors - mains powered and battery powered

e.g. body wands, fleshlight holders

Most are not waterproof, so don´t submerge in water.

To clean, carefully wipe clean with a soap & warm water solution. Check with manufacturer´s instructions about the use of antibacterial soap or toy cleaners. Wipe with warm water to rinse.

To sterilize, a disinfectant spray will take you far, but not all the way, and it will also be a chemical going into the pores of any porous material, so it is not advised at all for these items. So, alternatively, wipe thoroughly with a dilute bleach solution (10% bleach, 90% cool water) and then rinse thoroughly with warm soapy water.  UVC sterilization might be the only way to completely sterilize here for non-porous items, but we are still researching to see if there are any adverse effects on plastics or porous material items.

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Waterproof / splashproof toys

e.g. vibrators that specifically say waterproof , stainless steel toys, dildos, glass toys, etc

100% waterproof can be submerged in water, but still make sure the seal is tight around the battery compartment.

To clean, carefully wipe clean with a soap & warm water solution. Check with manufacturer´s instructions about the use of antibacterial soap or toy cleaners. Wipe with warm water to rinse.

To sterilize, boiling is good but check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure it won’t deform your toy! You need to do it for 10 to 20mins in a pan, or you can even use your dishwasher on the hottest setting, with no detergent. If you are unsure about boiling, you can use a 10% bleach / 90% cold water solution to soak the toy, followed by a thorough rinse with soap & warm water. (one note – glass is generally fine to boil, but not soda glass.)

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Porous toys - especially realistic type, TPE, TPR, cyberskin, flesh-like toys

e.g. Most masturbator sleeves, jelly cocks, rubber toys, leather, unvarnished wood, PVC etc

To clean, carefully wipe clean with a soap & warm water solution. Check with manufacturer´s instructions about the use of antibacterial soap or toy cleaners. Wipe with warm water to rinse.

To sterilize, you cannot usually boil these toys, and if you only wipe clean with a disinfectant spray / solution, you´re effectively sterilizing the surface but it isn´t possible to completely sterilize into each and every pore of a porous item, and this is where germs may also remain for days. UV sterilization might be the only complete peace of mind solution here. B-Vibe and UVEE Clean have created solutions specifically for sex toy sterilization and we´re currently investigating how effective they are for these materials – just email us for up to date information.

What is the difference between Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting, and Sterilizing

( and everything in between )

 

We ask all sellers to state whether they have cleaned or sterilized their used sex toy when it is for sale. You’ll often see the following 4 terms frequently used, so here´s what they all mean.

 

The order of events !

As part of the general maintenance and good hygiene practice you should always be cleaning your own toys before and after use anyway. Always rinse and dry well too.

Cleaning is then also essential step to do before you highly disinfect, or, sterilize.

1. CLEANING means removes dirt, dust and other soils from surfaces. It usually involves soap and water.

The simplest method of cleaning your toys after each use is to use a mild non scented soap plus warm water, careful cleaning, and the occasional sanitization or sterile disinfection will make these so easy to sell on.
(Ref: webmd )

Sanitizing them with appropriate wipes or toy cleaners can be a form of cleaning, or mild disinfection.

2. SANITIZING is simply a term that could mean cleaning or disinfecting or both.

It removes bacteria from surfaces, so it takes germs to a low level.
It can also be a diluted form of disinfecting- using soap and water, a sanitizing (disinfectant) wipe, or the dishwasher for example.

3. DISINFECTING means using chemical disinfectants (chemicals) to kill harmful bacteria and viruses from surfaces.

It doesn´t necessarily remove the germs, you still need to clean the toy to remove them.

Disinfect with rubbing alcohol (usually 70% +), or with a 5-10% maximum bleach solutions. Always use hand and eye protection when using strong chemicals and only use them in a well ventilated room.
3 other things to note here.
1. Vodka and other liquors are not strong enough to disinfect – as they are only around 40% alcohol.
2. Any dilution of these will mean you´re sanitising, not disinfecting.
3. Give them a good clean and rinse afterwards because you also don´t want to leave chemicals on your toys, and blot them dry with a clean paper towel perhaps but make sure they are well dried afterwards, you shouldn´t leave them moist and ready to collect any germs, so air drying and exposure to sunlight is much better for them.

The EPA also provides a list here, of all EPA-registered tuberculocides and disinfectants that are effective against HIV and HBV so you could check with the suppliers about using these and rinsing off for use on a sex toy.

We will explore the use of natural alternatives like Natural alternatives to bleach but we believe this is the time to use a strong product like bleach at least just this once. Even though it´s a weak solution of bleach you use ( 10% bleach, 90% cool water), you will be leaving it in the solution for 10-15 minutes so it´s really important to also make sure you rinse it well after, and also give it a final thorough clean with a non scented soap and water solution afterwards to remove any bleach residue.

4. STERILIZING is often used synonymously with disinfecting as they can achieve the same result. It means killing all microorganisms from surfaces, not just bacteria and viruses.

So sterilization is a term more often used in a medical environment for the sterilization of tools for example, can be done using heat ( wet steam, or dry) , chemicals, or radiation (specific UV for example).

Steaming and boiling ( at the correct temperature and contact time) are methods of sterilization, and we´ve all seen UV-C sterilizers for mobile phones, toothbrushes, or baby bottles, but the first ones specifically holding sex toys are now available too.

Autoclaves are used in medical environments to clean tools with pressurized steam, and you can now even buy small ones ( they look like pressure cookers) on Amazon !

So, on top of your cleaning the toy, for a completely hands off sterilization you should be able to use products such as the B-Vibe pouch, or the Uvee safely on all motorized or non motorized toys.

other important factors to consider 

 

TOY MATERIAL

Non porous toys are the easiest to sterilize. It´s much easier to clean non porous toys than porous ones ( where the dirt and germs can get stuck in the pores and effectively hide from some sterilization methods).

100% silicone is by far the best mainstream toy material to have to buy and sell. The more expensive borosilicate glass and stainless steel are the optimum. Soda glass is an altogether different kind of glass and is much more fragile. So, know your toy and what the manufacturer said you can do with it.

For leather items, you should generally wipe them down with soap & water after each use. Make sure they dry properly. Use a leather cleaner periodically to keep them in good condition. Also, you can disinfect them by using a 70% (or higher) isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

SHOP-BOUGHT TOY CLEANERS

You can also buy one of the many toy cleaner products on the market – they aren´t necessarily the product to use as the sole method of cleaning, but generally, they are anti-bacterial, and non-irritating. We still recommend a final rinse in water to remove any possible residue though.

CLEAN-SMELLING TOYS

As well as rinsing any chemical odors after sterilizing, be sure that any other possible odors have been removed  e.g. cigarette smoke, or body odours on clothes or toys. If you´re bleaching it anyway with a 10% solution this will probably do the trick anyway, or baking soda and lemon.

In general, airing and exposing a cleaned toy to sunlight really helps here. You might have to leave it in sunlight for a few days but it´s worth it surely.

If you are sterilizing by boiling – do it for a lot longer – up to 30 mins to get rid of odors. If the toy is 100% silicone, you could also add just a little vinegar to the water when boiling it. Adding a little vinegar to the water when washing clothes always helps take away odors !

As long as the material allows, you could also try the usual household solution of baking soda and water solution that gets rid of odors.

Thinking of more natural solutions, coconut oil as a lube on silicone really helps.  Rub the coconut oil into and leave it for a few hours, then clean it with unscented soap and water as usual. Not a bad thing to do after every use of a butt toy I´d say.

Germs, Bacteria, Covid 19, and sex toys

there’s a sentence we never thought we would be writing !

 

GERMS – Bacteria, viruses or other pathogens.

There is a lot of information online ( which we will also share below ) about the possibility of bacteria and viruses on sex toys. It´s important to note that these risks are usually written to cover situations such as sharing toys during sex time, or using someone else´s toy without knowing when they last used it, or how they cleaned it ( if at all). When friends share, they´re usually too embarrassed to ask these all-important questions. And if you´re in a heated sexy session, and start sharing toys with one, or more than one person, the risks do increase because you don´t tend to kill the moment by getting up to wash and sterilize between use.
So, even though the risk is very small, this is why we´re pretty upfront about this on Squeaky Clean Toys. So that you can be too. We all owe it to each other.

Thankfully, Covid-19 has led to a lot more investigation about viruses on surfaces, so use that information with respect to your mail packages, your supermarket trolley handle, and yes, your second hand toys and clothes delivered in the post. It´s incredible that with the caution that everyone is already taking in this last year, there has not been even one case of influenza world-wide. We´ve all finally woken up to the fact that a little care, and preventative measures, go a long way.

Time is a significant factor. We constantly see ´72 hours maximum´ for viruses like Covid-19 on plastic surfaces, less (48hrs ) for steel, and even less (24hrs) for cardboard. So by the time a sanitized toy has been left unused, cleaned, then packaged up, and mailed, and delivered to you, the chances of catching anything are very unlikely. This is the one time you shouldn´t be in a rush to get the mail ! For more information on sexually transmitted viruses and how long they last, see our new blog post on ´Can you get an STI from a used sex toy?´

InsertAble used items

Don´t forget. If your item is insertable and used ( even once !) you will need to sterilize it like this.

BOILING

Boiling is best if your item can be wholly boiled ( ie no battery compartment !)  In fact, if it vibrates it probably has batteries or a power pin so these cannot be boiled or put in the dishwasher. If you are boiling to sterilize, you need to be bubbling for a constant 20 mins in a pan. You can even use the top rack of your dishwasher – on the hottest setting, with no detergent.

or BLEACHING

If your item material can withstand it, you can use a 10% bleach / 90% cold water solution to soak the toy. But you have to make sure you leave the solution in contact with the toy for 10-15 minutes. 

or UV

The easiest method is. UV sterilizer if your toy is a simple shape that the UV light can reach all parts.  This UV-C light sterilizer specifically made for sex toys ( e.g.  B-Vibe and UVEE Clean). (We are still investigating whether the UV  can fully sterilize all types of porous items.) 

With all cleaning, please follow the manufacturer´s instructions. Your toy may have a coating for aesthetic or allergenic purposes, so be extra careful to ensure your cleaning does not remove this. 

Examples

With all cleaning, please follow the manufacturer´s instructions. The following examples are offered incase you have these exact toys!

 

Realcock – how to sterilize an RC2

One of our marketplace sellers spoke to the makers of Dirk in regards to sterilization and this was their response:

“Please only clean your Realcock 2 models with antibacterial soap or 99% alcohol. Do not use anything that has oils or silicon in it, since it can damage the outer layer of the Realcock 2 models.”

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