CONTENTS

1.   Introduction
2.   Buyer & Seller Requirements
3.   Our Cleaning definitions
4.   The Cleaning Process
5.   Additional notes design & material
6.   Seller examples

 

Introduction

It is often recommended, in online advice, to even sanitize new toys you buy from a store, and as part of a general maintenance and good hygiene practice it is also important to clean/sanitize your own sex toys before and after you use them.

Selling toys on to another user is different to a using/sharing a sex toy with another person in the heat of the moment. It appears that the much longer time delay between the use of the toy by the seller to the use of the toy by the buyer seems to offer a significant advantage as this will allow most germs to die off naturally. Cleaning and sanitizing is required to kill off more. So, by the time a sterilized toy has been left unused, cleaned, then packaged up, and mailed, and delivered to you, the chances of catching anything are vastly reduced, our users still have to go further and follow this guide in order to minimize any risks of infection from one user to another.

Cleaning and sanitizing will get rid of some dirt and germs, and disinfecting will get rid of most bacteria and more (depending on the level of disinfection process used), but you need to go further in order to try to kill off more – the germs, bacteria, viruses and parasites such as the ones mentioned in our research on the risk infections in this article (https://www.squeakycleantoys.com/us/guides-us/sti-from-a-used-sex-toy/?et_fb=1&PageSpeed=off). Based on the methods referenced in that article to get rid of them, we have offered this hygiene guide.
For more information on sexually transmitted viruses and how long they last, and the evidence based facts showing what to do to get rid of them- see our website post referenced above.)

You’ll see these four terms (cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and sterilizing) frequently used all over the internet, and you may see them interpreted a little differently, so it’s important to outline what they all mean to us in order to keep it simple and clear, and so that everyone understands what we mean when we use these terms.

This guide offers the best advice or evidence we can find online for you. You are responsible for taking care and following the process correctly, for the item you are listing.

IMPORTANT

Before you just ‘have a go’ at any of the processes below, check the manufacturer´s instructions for your toy, check the cleaning product safety advice, and the additional notes on toy design and material given below.

Take great care when carrying out any of the following home sterilizing methods. You are doing this at your own risk and at your toy’s risk.Use protective gear and read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for any products you are using. If you are not comfortable doing this on your used, insertable/penetrable items, please do not list the item on the marketplace.

 

Summary

USER GUIDELINES AND REQUIREMENTS

All toys listed on the marketplace have to adhere to the Squeaky body-safe policy which means the materials of the toys that need the most sterilization are effectively non-porous, so they should be able to withstand at least one of the required fuller level of sterilization methods outlined in this guide.
However, with all cleaning, sanitizing, HLD(high level disinfection) and sterilizing, it is recommended that you choose the most suitable method described in this guide, depending on the toy’s purpose, it’s usage, and the material and design of your toy. In order to understand what is most suitable, please also read the manufacturer´s instructions for your specific toy, and please also take note of the additional cautionary notes on design and material in this guide.

BEFORE YOU SELL, AND, AFTER YOU BUY

a) For toys (Unopened, or, Opened but used) that are not in a package with the hygiene seals still intact, they may have been touched, so both seller and buyer are required to, at least clean or sanitize the toy (Process P1 or P2 below).

b) For all used insertable / penetrable parts of listing items (i.e. can be inserted into or is penetrable by any orifice e.g. ball gags, dildos etc.), or toys that are used on intimate areas (e.g. the cap on a clitoral suction toy): even if only tried once, these toys need to be cleaned most intensely – to the point of the highest level possible at home – this means using at least one of the P3 processes) disinfection/sterilization methods in this guide. For all toys that require the more intense P3) disinfection/sterilization processes, the seller is required to do this before listing, rather than just before shipping, and the buyer is required to carry out the same level of hygiene (at least one of the P3 processes) on these items after they receive the goods, and before they use them.

c) Sellers are required to tick the appropriate listing boxes to make the buyers aware of the current condition of the toy, and if disinfecting or sterilization is required.

d) It is a listing requirement for all sellers, to upload a picture or video with their listing, of the hygiene process in progress. Taking a good one shows your buyers the level of care you have taken and the methods and tools you have actually used.

e) If the toy has any grooves, ridges, buttons etc. pay special attention to these areas when cleaning as germs can gather here so take extra care to clean these areas really thoroughly. Good advice is to buy a toothbrush or nailbrush to dedicate only to the cleaning of your toys. Take nozzles off and deal with them separately.

f) The P1) basic cleaning routine and P4)rinse and P5) drying process, should be done before all other sanitizing, HLD/sterilization, and should also be done again after using any chemicals on your toy.
g) Rinsing and drying are equally important. Also see processes P4) rinse well and P5) dry well and make sure no cleaning solution gets lefts in the grooves.

h) Give lots of air drying time (24hrs) before putting anything back together, then store it in a suitable box or lint-free bag (use the original one if you have it) to keep it clean and away from dust and germs.

i) Sellers are strongly advised to take dated/timed pictures or video showing clearly the close-up condition of the item before the ship it.

j) If the buyer receives an item and feels that the hygienic condition is not the same as shown on the listing, the buyer is required to take dated/timed pictures or video showing clearly the close-up condition of the item before they contact the seller about it or dispute the transaction.

NOTE TO BUYERS

Despite your new purchase appearing to be perfectly clean once it arrives, you also need to thoroughly clean and sanitize, disinfect, and sterilize it yourself, where appropriate.
To clean and sanitize it, wash it twice in soapy water, then use the manufacturer’s recommended toy cleaning spray or an alcohol solution (described in the process section of this guide) if appropriate for the material. Rinse well, then dry it slowly and thoroughly, and store it in a clean box or bag. To disinfect or sterilize it further, follow the guidance given in the Process section below. Don’t just follow exactly what the seller did – make your own informed choices from the information in this guide.

NOTE TO SELLERS

Sellers should only be selling toys that meet our body-safe criteria. 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.
Please give your unwanted adult toys an especially thorough clean first. Then sanitize it as explained below, and then, if it has been used, even only once – follow the appropriate P3) HLD/Sterilization method in this guide. If your toy can take it, why not do it twice by carrying out two methods. We would advise doing both bleach and boiling for example – as two separate processes ( never together as it is toxic and dangerous to mix bleach with hot water) . We would strongly recommend using both these methods, where possible, or bleach and hot air oven method for any anal toys.
Don’t forget to provide at least one good photo of the process P3 in progress.
The buyer’s don’t want to just trust it is done. They want to see it!

 

Definitions

Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting, Sterilizing

First, let’s put them in the order of intensity. Cleaning is also the first essential step to do before you do any of the others and is also often the last step when you have used chemicals to clean on your toys.

1. CLEANING means removing visible dirt, dust and other soils from surfaces. It usually involves soap and water and wiping a surface clean.

Or, more appropriate to sex toys, it is the process that physically removes all visible body fluids or any other foreign material such as dust.

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 your toys safer for you and easier to sell on.

Sanitizing them with appropriate wipes or toy cleaners can be a form of cleaning, or mild disinfection. So a low for of sanitization is essentially the same as cleaning, a high form of sanitization can be regarded as a low form of disinfecting.
“BWell”, (the USA IVY league Brown University health and wellness dept.) offers a fabulously simple and clear synopsis on why how, to clean all types of toys for your own personal use – even non-porous ones not accepted on the Squeaky marketplace. Ref: https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/health/services/promotion/content/whats-best-way-clean-sex-toys

SQUEAKY use of the word CLEANING:
Cleaned – soap & water
Cleaned – Toy cleaner product
Laundered is the term used for clothes and accessories that can normally be laundered.

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 anti-bacterial soap and water, a sanitizing (disinfectant) wipe, or in the top layer of the dishwasher for example.
Depending on the product you use, and the length of time the cleaner is in contact with the toy, then the level of sanitization will vary all the way from sanitizing to disinfecting.
By the way, Vodka and other liquors are not strong enough alcohols to disinfect – as they are only around 40% alcohol.
The strongest type of sanitization is usually a disinfection that will kill a certain level of germs from surfaces. It can be done with a 70% (or higher) isopropyl rubbing alcohol as a wipe or a disinfectant spray. It will take you far, but not all the way to sterilization because it cannot kill all the viruses. So this kind of sanitization is still not the fuller sterilization that Squeaky requires for any used insertable/penetrable toys.

SQUEAKY use of the word:
Sanitized – minimum 70% alcohol or disinfectant wipe

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

It doesn´t necessarily remove visible germs, you still need to clean the toy to wipe them from the surface first.

It is important to distinguish between sterilization and disinfection. Whereas sterilization results in destruction of all forms of microbial life, disinfection results in destruction of specific pathogenic microorganisms. (Found on a Penn State College of Engineering manual)
Disinfectants are usually divided into 3 levels – low, intermediate and high level. ( according to Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition ). Medium to low level can effectively just be sanitization, and high level disinfections. Not all high level disinfectants kill all the same germs, which is why we choose chlorine bleach as the best chemical form of disinfecting here.

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 on a sex toy. But they also say when referring to the use of bleach as a high level disinfectant “An EPA-registered sodium hypochlorite product is preferred, but if such products are not available, generic versions of sodium hypochlorite solutions (e.g., household chlorine bleach) can be used.” (Ref:“https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/index.html
)
This article from the National Library of medicine also describes the use of alcohol vs. bleach as a disinfectant. (Note though that they give a recipe of 1:100 for simply disinfecting surfaces, as opposed to the higher level of 1:10 required for a more intense sterilization of sex toys.) This is a better reference for the dilution required for sex toy bleaching. Ref: how-to-make-chlorine-bleach-solution-for-disinfecting.pdf from the Middlesex (London) Health Unit. www.healthunity.com

We would like to explore the use of natural alternatives to bleach if you are going to do this more often, but we haven’t found enough evidence based facts to take this further for now. In any case, when selling a sex toy, this is the time to use a strong product like bleach at least just this once!

SQUEAKY’s use of the word:
Disinfecting is not a catchall term when it comes to the results achieved by different type of products – they don’t all achieve the same results on the same germs. The many, wide and varied ‘disinfectant’ products on the market also just seems to lead to too much confusion with the users about how or when to use them, if at all. So we also don’t want to have users having to mess around unnecessarily with chemicals without having evidence-based facts to support every possible disinfectant product on the market. This is why Squeaky is choosing only the highest level evidence-based disinfectant (chlorine bleach) with dilutions and timings to achieve the maximum effect on germs etc.

4. STERILIZING is a term that is now often used synonymously with disinfecting. It can include all sorts of methods and it means killing all microorganisms from surfaces, not just bacteria and viruses.

So it means killing everything, but we’re only interested in killing of everything harmful to humans.
The term pasteurization is where heat is used to kill off anything that is harmful to humans. We are all more familiar with this term when it comes to milk or cooking food but not usually for sterilizing inanimate objects! Recently we have seen it mentioned on the internet when referring to the boiling of sex toys, but the only evidence we have seen of the heating point of pasteurization is actually lower than boiling point. Pasteurization defined by a “heating to below boiling point (generally 77?C) for up to 30 minutes” in an article on Sterilization and Disinfection in the Laboratory -(Found on a Penn State College of Engineering manual). This article ( ref: https://solarcooking.fandom.com/wiki/Water_pasteurization) shows that pasteurization of water at a temperature of 60 °C (140 °F) will get rid of Shigella bacteria. The Holder method of pasteurization is the most widely used and is defined by the Frontiers microbiology site as 62.5°C for 30mins (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2018.00926/full). An interesting study about how to eliminate the HPV in a mother’s breastmilk ,on researchgate concluded “Conclusions: The results presented here indicate that the Holder pasteurization is an efficient procedure to inactivate high-risk and low-risk HPV thus preventing the potential risk of their transmission through human donor milk.”  ref: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258147224_Inactivation_of_high-risk_human_papillomaviruses_by_Holder_pasteurization_Implications_for_donor_human_milk_banking

The most common way of sterilizing in hospitals appears to be with large auto-clave machines used to steam sterilize instruments. You can now even buy small autoclaves (they look like pressure cookers) on Amazon, but we don’t imagine our users will have one of these as they are still very expensive.

Moist heat or heat under steam pressure is the agent used in autoclaves. Putting steam under 15 psi (Pound per square inch) achieves a temperature of 1210 C. At this temperature, all microorganisms and their endospores are destroyed in approximately 15 minutes of exposure for media preparation and for hospital waste disposal autoclaving should be done for 45-60 minutes. Moist heat is the sterilization method of choice for heat-stable objects.”
Ref: https://www.medicofem.com/index.php/microbiology/microbiology-practical-aspects/sterilisation-and-disinfection/

Less often used in a medical facility is dry heat sterilizers. Dry heat sterilizers kill microorganisms through prolonged exposure to materials (1.5-3.0 hours) at higher temperatures than moist heat sterilizers. it’s useful for items that aren’t waterproof, but they still have to be heatproof and the slow rate of heat penetration and microbial killing makes this a time-consuming method.
High temperatures are not suitable for most materials so we offer a process for the high level disinfectant of chlorine bleach here too.

Large UV-C machines can be used in medical environments to sterilize more fragile tools such as those used for Ultrasound procedures.
Ref: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/uv-lights-and-lamps-ultraviolet-c-radiation-disinfection-and-coronavirus) We´ve all seen retail versions of UV-C sterilizers advertised for mobile phones, toothbrushes, or baby bottles, and there are now UV-C machines, usually, box or sealed bag, specifically for sex toys too.The light (usually around 260 nm wavelength) emitted by UV lamps is also germicidal, and can be used to reduce the number of pathogenic microorganisms on exposed surfaces and in air.

SQUEAKY’s use of the word:
Sterilization is, in effect, the highest level of disinfection you can achieve. Sterilization has also traditionally been the term used in medical environments for non-chemical sterilization of tools, using heat (wet steam, or dry). Disinfection has been a term widely used for killing germs by using chemicals. The use of a chlorine bleach solution can be referred to as a HLD (high level disinfection). We now see UV-C machines referred to as sanitizers, disinfectants and sterilizers – sometimes all on the one product!

We have also seen the boiling water method referred to as pasteurization and also as field disinfecton (WHO: Field Guide to Sterilization and High level disinfection of medical instruments https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/41538/WHO_AIDS_2.pdf;jsessionid=EB924457BAA1A95F6491C65A27337CA0?sequence=1)
All of this could be explained by the fact that all these terms are referring to processes rather than products, for example a weak bleach solution may only sanitize whereas a strong one may be a high level disinfectant. The process involves factors such as tools, timings, intensity levels of the ‘germ eliminating’ product (for want of a better word!)
If it’s confusing for us then we have to assume that the information overload on this is also confusing for the buyers, so we will keep things simple here and offer a choice of the highest levels of disinfecting and sterilizing methods possible at home, and define the intensity and the timing where appropriate.
In order to group these together and give emphasise that the maximum possible process must be used here, we will call it ‘sterilizing’.

Chlorine bleach 1:10 solution + rinse
Boiling water (20 minutes rolling boil)
Hot air oven (320° F /2 hrs, 340° F / 1hr)
UV-C lamp (260-280nm)

OTHER METHODS
We have seen articles showing toys ‘disinfected’ on the top rack of your dishwasher – on the hottest setting, with no detergent, but equally, there are articles debating whether this is enough for a full sterilization. Dishwashers generally reach 120℉ (49℃)or maximum 140℉ (60℃), but can reach up to 180℉ (82℃)

We do not think the water gets hot enough, so, until we know more, and since we are asking our sellers to do this for someone else, we do not recommend this dishwasher method.

Other methods we are currently investigating are steaming with a pressure cooker, or microwaving. Pressure steaming (using a pressure cooker!) referred to as a sterilization technique in this midwives’ field sterilization guide (ref: https://en.hesperian.org/hhg/A_Book_for_Midwives:Clean_and_sterilize_tools ), and other unusual alternative methods are referenced in this CDC article ((ref: https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/sterilization/other-methods.html). However, we need some further verification before adding any other home methods to the Squeaky hygiene guide processes.

 

The Process

Jump links past the processes:

Additional important considerations
Seller examples

Go to the marketplace

CLEAN & SANITIZE – STERILIZE – RINSE & DRY & STORE

This is a process for non-porous toys only.
It is recommended that you carry out the most suitable type of further sterilization outlined below, depending on the toy’s purpose, it’s usage, and the material and design of your toy.
With all cleaning, please follow the manufacturer´s instructions and also the safety instructions on any tools or products you are using. Make sure you don’t do anything they have advised against. Please also read to the end of the page and check the additional notes for different toy design and material, and when you should or should not use the different methods.

Follow the advice, and heed the warnings. If you aren’t sure of anything, ask us first at hello@squeakycleantoys.com

Your toy may have a coating for aesthetic or allergenic purposes, so be extra careful to ensure your cleaning does not remove this.
Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies, and clean all relevant parts and removable parts to the correct level.

If your item gets damaged in the process, it should not be listed.
If it stops working, or has any cracks or spilts, sharp edges or rough patches the toy should be disposed of, and definitely not listed on the marketplace.

If you damage it, your only option might be to recycle it – check out our recycling guide.

PROCESS P1) CLEAN

Washing, or wiping

Wash or wipe using a mild, non-irritating soap and warm water to remove all dirt and dust. It is also a requirement to rinse well (process P4) after using chemicals, and dry well (process P5) and store well (process P6) after cleaning.

Toy cleaner is also a good way to clean your toys. It may even give you a higher level of cleaning, or put another way it will give a weak form of sanitization. Since we can’t know what is in every toy cleaner, we tend to regard toy cleaners as more of a soap cleaning alternative.

Do this cleaning before you do any deeper cleaning or disinfecting you always need to clean it first. Don’t forget to rinse any soap or chemicals off after.
After you bleach sterilize a toy it is also good give the toy a wash with a neutral soap again to counter any bleach odor. Then rinse well!
.

PROCESS P2) SANITIZE

Special soaps, wipes, sprays

Sanitizing is a higher level of cleaning and should be done with antibacterial soap, alcohol or bleach wipes/sprays/solutions. It is also a requirement to rinse well (process P4) after using chemicals, and dry well (process P5) and store well (process P6) after all methods.
Sanitization is sufficient for many bacteria and is good for toys that have not been used, for accessories like nipple clamps or handcuffs for example, or the main sex machine part that is not the insertable part.
With all anti-bacterial products, be careful to check how long the product has to be in contact with the toy in order to have an effect, and then make sure you rinse it off thoroughly when the job is done.

NOTES:
Always make sure you rinse the soap or chemicals off after.
If you are ever using alcohol to sanitize first, make sure you do not go from using alcohol on your item to then immediately using bleach.
Never mix alcohol products with bleach. Bleach and alcohol are a toxic mix – always make sure you wash, rinse and dry your toy thoroughly after using alcohol.
Alcohols are volatile and flammable and must not be used near open flames, and only use in well-ventilated spaces only..
Prolonged and repeated use of alcohol as a disinfectant can also cause discoloration, swelling, hardening and cracking of rubber and certain plastic and dissolve certain types of glue.

PROCESS P3) HIGH LEVEL DISINFECT & STERILIZE

Boiling, baking, bleach, or UV-C.

These are not effective without prior cleaning of the sex toy, so it is a requirement to clean the toy first. It is also a requirement to rinse well (process P4) after using chemicals, and dry well (process P5) and store well (process P6) after all methods.

a) Boiling (20mins rolling boil)

Boiling is best if your item can be wholly boiled. Your non-porous toy material and design must also be able to stand it and of course it needs to be waterproof.

The water needs to be bubbling for a constant 20 mins in a pan.
When it’s finished, use clean tongs to remove the items from the boiling water.

NOTES:
• Do not boil toys parts with a battery inside, a motor, electronic or electrical parts. Batteries should not be exposed to extreme heat.
• Do not boil toys that have delicate add-ons e.g. gems, or if they are made up of layers of different materials.
• Do not boil ‘silicone’ toys if they are not 100% silicone or ‘glass’ toys if they are not 100% borosilicate.
• Do not boil ABS plastic toys.
• Do not touch metal toys after boiling – give them time to cool before handling, but use gloves of course so as not to introduce any more germs.
• It’s best to put the toy in the water whilst it is heating up so as not to shock the toy material by putting it straight into boiling water – then start the clock only when the water starts to boil.
• Do not run your toys under a cold tap straight after boiling as the contrast in temperature may warp the toy.
• We have seen it recommended to use a buffer like a clean cloth along with glass or stainless steel toys so that they don’t jump around the pan and get knocks and scrapes on them.

b) Bleach solution & Rinse (1:10 for 10-15mins)

Use 5.25%-6.15% sodium hypochlorite, the regular/domestic/household bleach, often referred to as ‘chlorine bleach’ is the one we are referring to when we say ‘bleach’. The dilution for cleaning clothes and even for disinfecting household surfaces is less but for sex toys it has to be 1:10 (10% bleach solution).

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 possible bleach residue.

Blot them dry with a clean paper towel perhaps, but make sure they are well air dried afterwards. You shouldn´t leave them moist and ready to collect any germs, so air drying and exposure to sunlight to dry them is usually much better for them.

NOTES:
If you can use bleach on your toy and it is fully waterproof, then you should be able to immerse it fully in the 10% bleach / 90% cool water solution.
If your toy is not fully waterproof, then you still need to find a way to get the bleach solution to reach and stay in contact with the essential insertable parts for at least 10 minutes. There are alternative ways to make the bleach solution stay in contact with the insertable part. See some examples on the website or marketplace listings of vibrators with all the essential parts standing in a measuring jug or glass.
If the toy is only splashproof, put the bleach solution in a spray bottle and spray the item carefully making sure you get the solution into all the parts , nooks and ridges and around buttons etc.
In all cases, make sure you leave the solution in contact with the toy for 10-15 minutes. Ten minutes minimum is essential for the bleach to work here.
Equally important with the bleaching is the subsequent thorough rinsing to ensure that no bleach remains on the toy before it is used again.
This should be followed by a long (24hrs) natural air drying period afterwards to get rid of any bleach smells.

WARNINGS:
• Any dilution of these, or re-use of the same bleach solution will mean you´re sanitising, not disinfecting.
• Don’t use out of date products –otherwise it will have degraded.
• Bleach can ruin porous toys and also it would stay in the little pores and make it too unsafe to re-use again – we do not accept porous toys on the marketplace.)
• Make sure your item is not porous material at all, check with the manufacturer if your item can withstand bleach. It may be too sensitive, may change colour or the make-up of the material may change.
• Ensure that you wear appropriate personal protective equipment ( PPE) to system, skin, or mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth. PPE can include gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection. (e.g., gloves, apron, eye protection or face shield, face mask for respiratory protection)
• Use the bleach product safety precautions.
• Chlorine, especially as bleach, is highly alkaline and can be corrosive to metal and can also damage some plastics
• Never mix alcohol products or hot water with bleach. Bleach and alcohol are a toxic mix – always make sure you wash, rinse and dry your toy thoroughly after using alcohol. Also, if you are ever using alcohol to sanitize first, make sure you do not go from using alcohol on your item to then immediately using bleach.
• NEVER use hot or boiling water with any level of bleach solution- it releases a poisonous gas.
• Never use an old mixed solution, never re-use a bleach solution as they won’t be as effective.
• Bleach can corrode metals and damage painted surfaces.

REFERENCES:
This NCBI article gives excellent advice on the procedures for preparing a bleach solution. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK214356/
https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/recommendations.html
https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/guides/how-to-clean-sex-toys/
https://www.oakland.edu/Assets/upload/docs/LabSafety/disinfectantsFinaLAug2009.pdf

c) UV-C lamp (260-280nm – follow lamp instructions for distance and timing)

The seemingly easiest,but more expensive method, for any type of non-porous toy with a simple shape could be to use a UV-C ray surface sterilizer. There are even some products specifically marketed 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 you need to make sure this is possible. The light must reach reach the actual surface of all the parts of it that could house germs, and cannot sterilize the inside of containers for example. The effective rays do not shibe through the object to sterilize the inside!

UV -C sterilization is also a process, and not just a tool. So it is important to know that the machine used can produce enough intensity at the correct wavelength (usually 260-280nm), for the correct length of time, at the correct distance from the item surface, and for the correct volume of space the item takes up. Follow the UV-C machine instructions carefully.

If a seller is using a UV-C machine, they must state which machine is used so that buyers can check reviews online for that machine in order to check the sterilizer specification and reported authenticity & quality (look out for fakes). If you are buying a machine, make sure to buy some proper UV-C dosimeter cards to check its effectiveness.

NOTES:

It is also essential that the correct safety protocols are adhered to for the machine you are using ( e.g. UV-C goggles and gloves, and make sure the UV-C does not shine on your skin). UV-C boxes are often the better solution for safety if they automatically switch off when opened.

d) Hot air oven baking (320° F (160° C) for 2 hours, or 340° F (170° C) for 1hour)
The most common time-temperature relationships for sterilization with hot air sterilizers are 170°C (340°F) for 60 minutes, 160°C (320°F) for 120 minutes, and 150°C (300°F) for 150 minutes.
We have taken these instructions directly from this source: https://www.allthescience.org/what-is-dry-heat-sterilization.htm#:~:text=An%20ordinary%20convection%20oven%2C%20or,being%20transferred%20to%20the%20item.

“An ordinary convection oven, or even a toaster oven, may be used for this process.

The item or items to be cleaned must be placed on a clean surface, not directly on the oven rack. This helps prevent any organisms already in the oven from being transferred to the item. When sterilizing many items at one time, they should generally be placed in the oven spaced about 6 inches (about 12 cm) apart. This allows the warm air to flow freely around the items, which is necessary for proper sterilization.

The oven should be preheated to 320° Fahrenheit (160° C) for sterilization in two hours, or 340° F (170° C) for sterilization in one hour. Preheating should be done for about 20 minutes before the object is placed inside the oven, to help ensure that the oven is hot enough to do its job.

The item should then be placed on the center rack of the oven and left to heat.

After the item is heated, it should be allowed to cool inside the oven for an hour or two. This prevents the item from being contaminated as it cools.
The user should then remove the item from the oven with a clean, heat-safe glove.

NOTES:
It’s important to use a fan oven for this method in order to get a more even sterilization.
“A forced air oven or hot air oven is simply an oven with a fan. Most domestic and laboratory ovens these days have a fan to help distribute the heat evenly around the oven. Without a fan you will often get cold or hot spots, meaning uneven heating, drying or testing.” It’s also known as a convection oven.
reference: https://www.google.com/search?q=is+a+domestic+fan+assisted+oven+the+same+as+a+hot+air+oven&oq=is+a+domestic+fan+assisted+oven+the+same+as+a+hot+air+oven&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160.18535j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

This method may only suit the highest quality materials like stainless steel, borosilicate glass or the highest quality silicone materials – check with your manufacturer.

Notes taken from the allthescience.org guide: The heat can go deeply into thick objects, achieving an in-depth sterilization effect. Even items inside packaging can be sterilized this way. Metallic objects that can handle heat well can be sterilized quickly at high temperatures. Dry heat is non-corrosive for metallic materials as it contains too little moisture.The process involves no toxic agents. There are no harmful substances that will remain in the environment.

Warning:
Make sure there aren’t any other materials, glues or delicate parts on your toy that would not suit this method.

PROCESS P4) RINSING

Rinsing thoroughly is just as important as cleaning.
You need to make sure you are not leaving any chemicals ( e.g. soap, toy cleaner, alcohol, bleach ) still on a toy that will be touching any part of the body!

PROCESS P5) DRY

Again, drying fully is important for both cleanliness and fresh smelling.
Blot dry, air dry, leave it in a well-ventilated place for 24hrs, or in sunlight if that is ok for the material. You want to make it as fresh as possible.

PROCESS P6) STORE

Remember that your buyer will be in a different environment when they open the package so make sure your item is nice and fresh, clean and sterile before storing away – otherwise you could trap any stale or perfumed smells with it. Take the item outside to check it in natural light and fresh air for a final check before you pack it away.
Then store it away neatly and safely, for example in a clean silk or satin bag or box that is lint free and dust free, so that the condition of the toy doesn’t change. The best way to store it is usually in the box and /or storage bag it came with when you bought it.
Silicone toys in particular may absorb smells in the room it is stored in ( smoke, perfume etc.) so make sure you store the item in a clean, cool, dark, dry place in an area where there are no other environmental smells to absorb.

ADDITIONAL NOTES ON DESIGN, MATERIAL & USAGE

Notes we have gathered from reading about other people’s experiences, web articles and manufacturer’s instructions. Please check our website blog article version of this guide for up to date notes.

 

NON-POROUS WATERPROOF TOYS
Design: no batteries or motors
Materials: pure silicone, borosilicate glass, stainless steel
Examples: Dildos & plugs by Bad Dragon, Mr Hankey, SquarePeg toys

• Waterproof toys usually have an IPX7 rating.
• UV-C machine, or boiling is good but check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure it won’t deform your toy.
• Toughened glass is generally fine to boil, but not soda glass.
• We’ve seen it advised to put a cloth in the pan also if you are boiling a glass dildo for example – to protect it when the boiling makes it jiggle – makes sense!
• If you are unsure about boiling, use the chloring bleach method
• For waterproof toys, if you are able to use the bleach method, don’t put the battery area / power point area into the solution if it isn’t tightly sealed! This part is not usually inserted into the body in any case.

ABS PLASTIC & TOYS WITH COATINGS
• Check the manufacturer’s instructions ( especially with plastic toys or PU toys) to see if you can even use alcohol at all on the toy material or coating material.
• If your toy is has a PU coating, it could react to a disinfectant wipe – so check first.)
• ABS /Plastic toys should not be boiled at all, and bleach can damage some plastics so check the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

NON-POROUS TOYS WITH MOTORS
Design: mains powered or battery-powered
Materials: silicone or ABS plastic
Examples: vibrators, body wands, masturbator holders, thrusters, vibrators.

• If they are waterproof, it will say they can be put in the bath and usually have an IPX7 waterproof rating so you should be able to immerse them in the bleach solution if you are sure that the seal is completely tight around the battery compartment.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions (especially with plastic toys) to see if the insertable part is waterproof enough for you to soak them in a 10% bleach solution (that is, 1 part bleach to 9 parts water) for 10 minutes minimum – then do that and rinse that part really really well. Then clean again with soap and water and give it a thorough rinsing and a good long ( 24hrs) air drying – this is so important to make sure there is no bleach chemical residue or smell.
• If you are not sure if they are waterproof, you should NOT submerge them in water or a water /bleach solution.
• You can often still bleach sterilize just the insertable part. We seen a seller show a picture of this type of toy being cleverly sterilized in the bleach solution, by leaving it in a tall narrow container like a glass or measuring jug – where the motorized handle part is sitting outside the liquid!
• ABS /Plastic toys should not be boiled at all, even if the motor/ battery part out of the water because the even hotter steam will get into object too, and if you’re holding the item the steam will burn your hand!
• We saw an interesting point made in allure.com article on how to clean your toys without damaging them. “With some motorized silicone toys, such as a strap-on dildo that comes with an insertable bullet vibrator, you can just take out that part and let the hot water do its work.“
• Probably the easiest method but most expensive method for these toys is to use an authentic UV-C machine.

NON-POROUS SPLASHPROOF TOYS
• Splashproof toys cannot usually be submerged in water for a length of time.
• You can’t boil splashproof toys.
• Dry heat sterilization could be a good option for metal or borosilicate glass, and some silicone toys can – you should check with the manufacturer of your silicone toy to see if it can withstand the higher temperatures.
• Check with your manufacturer about bleaching your plastic toys – we don’t believe bleach and plastic are a good mix. So the best solution here is to use an authentic UV-C machine.
• If you can’t immerse your toy, check if you can use a spray bottle and spray the bleach solution completely over the toy. We found this useful procedure for you – then as the article says, the second time leave it in contact with the bleach solution for at 10-15mins. Then wash and rinse using a fresh clean cloth and air dry.

 

INTRICATE TOYS AND REMOVABLE PARTS
Design: nozzles, ridges, grooves
Examples: Womanizer clitoral suction toy
• If your toy has any grooves or ridges, germs can gather here so take extra care to clean these areas really thoroughly. Perhaps buy a toothbrush or nailbrush to dedicate only to the cleaning of your toys.
• Your toy may have a coating for aesthetic or allergenic purposes, so be extra careful to ensure your chosen cleaning method does not remove this.
• Take removable parts like nozzles off and clean them separately. Rinse and dry well – give it lots of time before putting anything back together, then store it in it’s original box or bag to keep it clean and away from dust and germs.

 

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).
• The more expensive borosilicate glass and stainless steel, Aluminium or Titanium are the optimum. Soda glass is an altogether different kind of glass and is much more fragile. 100% silicone is by far the best mainstream toy material to have to buy and sell. So, know your toy and what the manufacturer said you can do with it.
• Not all non-porous materials can be sterilized fully by bleaching or boiling. Resin is just one example, and it isn’t known if UV-C would alter the structure either.
• For leather accessories, 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, check the manufacturer’s instructions first before you disinfect them by using a 70% (or higher) isopropyl rubbing alcohol because a Webmd article on uses of rubbing alcohol says it’s not good for wood or leather
“The chemical will damage a wood finish. And while it’s safe to use in a pinch on coated leather, like in your car, over time, it will damage and discolor the leather. Use special cleaners made for leather and wood instead.”
Reference: https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/ss/rubbing-alcohol-uses
• Don’t leave water or cleaning solution residues to dry on your stainless steel, it can create a dull finish and could leave permanent stains.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS

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.
We have also seen baking at 350℉ for 30mins to remove odors, is recommended by Tantus for their high quality silicone toys.
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.

PROTECT YOURSELF
Take appropriate care and wear protective gear when using bleach, boiling water, or UV-C lights.
Read the instructions on any tools you are using.
Rinsing is more important than you might think…. and so is air drying.

 

 

THE PROOF

PICTURES OR VIDEO
All the pictures on your listing must show the toy after it has been cleaned, sanitized or sterilized as ticked by you on the listing under the question “Condition at time of listing (choose methods that suit your item; only tick AFTER it’s been done; upload a photo of sterilization in progress). The picture or video of the item being sterilized must accompany the listing when the condition box is ticked.

 

A picture paints a thousand words!

 
There are some fabulous examples on the marketplace but don’t just copy what someone else has done incase they have not done it properly.

Sanitizing example

Press the play symbol above to see a video of a seller sanitizing their toy with rubbing alcohol.

sanitizing a toy

It’s worth dedicating a toothbrush to your toy collection just for cleaning and getting into all the nooks and crannies.

This nytimes/wirecutter article (https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/guides/how-to-clean-sex-toys) has some fabulous visuals showing how to clean toys like a womanizer with a brush.
These are the kind of videos and pictures buyers will want to see like this on your listing. (** [Just remember that in that article, although they do boil and bleach, they only go as far as sanitizing and for the purpose of buying and selling the toys here you need to go further in order to more fully sterilize the item – so this usually means a stronger bleach solution and a much longer boiling time – as detailed as in THE PROCESS section of this guide.)
) has some fabulous visuals showing how to clean toys like a womanizer with a brush.
These are the kind of videos and pictures buyers will want to see like this on your listing. (** [Just remember that in that article, although they do boil and bleach, they only go as far as sanitizing and for the purpose of buying and selling the toys here you need to go further in order to more fully sterilize the item – so this usually means a stronger bleach solution and a much longer boiling time – as detailed as in THE PROCESS section of this guide.)

Sterilizing example

Press the play symbol above to see a video of a seller sterilizing their toy with a 10% chlorine bleach solution.

sterilizing toys with bleach

This is something we would need you to do before you pass your toy on to another user.

Don’t forget to give it a a good long rinse, then a wash & rinse with a neutral soap afterwards, before air drying it fully.

 Seller example

Seller’s picture showing the battery / motor part being kept out of the bleach solution. This jug method is a clever way to keep those parts out the liquid.

method of sterilizing a sex toy

For waterproof toys, don’t put the battery area / power point area into the solution if it isn’t tightly sealed! This part is not usually inserted into the body in any case.

This jug method is a clever way to keep those parts out the liquid. 

Sell your toy on the marketplace now