cleaning, Sanitizing, and sterilizing a used sex toy
Hygiene guide for both buyers and sellers of used non-porous adult toys
2. Buyer & Seller Requirements
3. Our Cleaning definitions
4. The Cleaning Process
5. Additional notes design & material
6. Seller examples
8. Manufacturer‘s Advice
9. Other factors to consider
10. Germs, Covid 19, and Sex toys
It is often recommended to even sanitize new toys you buy from a store, and it is definitely always important to clean/sanitize your own sex toys before and after you use them.
Cleaning and sanitizing will get rid of some dirt and germs, and disinfecting will get rid of most bacteria, 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 this article on STIs. Based on the methods referenced in that article to get rid of them, we have offered this hygiene guide.
It is recommended that you carry out the most suitable type of further sterilization you can possibly do at home, depending on the toy’s purpose, it’s usage, and the material and design of your toy.
Sterilizing at home
There are machines like auto-claves that are used to steam sterilize instruments in hospitals, but we don’t imagine our users will have one of these so we cover the methods we have found to make the best home sterilization possible.
We give you the theory, but please check the manufacturer’s instructions for your tools and toys, and adhere to them, BEFORE you just ‘have a go’ !
Since the only used toys that are approved to list on the Squeaky Clean Toys marketplace have to be body-safe materials, this means that, for the type of toys where sterilization is a requirement, the toys must be made of a non-porous material that can withstand the required fuller level of sterilization outlined on this page.
SQUEAKY Buyers and Sellers requirements
With all cleaning, sanitizing and sterilizing, 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.
before you sell, and, after you buy
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.
In addition, all used insertable / penetrable parts of toys (into 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), it is a requirement of the Squeaky Clean Toys marketplace that they must be as fully sterilized as possible by both the seller and the buyer. For all other unused items, if they have been handled at all then sellers must at least clean or sanitize them before they ship them, and buyers should do the same when they receive them.
All toys that require sterilization need to be sterilized before listing, rather than just before shipping. Sellers have to tick the appropriate listing boxes to make the buyers aware of the current condition of the toy, and to upload a photo or video showing their method. We also require buyers to carry out a full sterilization on these items after they receive the goods, before they use them.
For all other unused items, if they have been handled at all then sellers must at least clean or sanitize them before they ship them, and buyers should do the same when they receive them.
Despite your new purchase appearing to be perfectly clean once it arrives, you also need to thoroughly clean and sanitize or disinfect, and even sterilize it yourself, when 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 sterilize it, follow the guidance given to the sellers below. (Sellers should only be selling toys that meet our body-safe criteria.)
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 – sterilize it fully. If your toy can take it, why not do it twice by doing both bleach and boiling for example – we would strongly recommend using both methods, where possible, for any anal toys.
If your toy has any grooves or ridges, germs can gather here so take extra care to clean these areas really thoroughly. We’ve seen good advice to buy a toothbrush or nailbrush to dedicate only to the cleaning of your toys. Take 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.
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.
Don’t forget to provide at least one photo of the sterilization in progress.
The buyer’s don’t want to just trust it is done. They want to see it!
Help them the confidence they need to press that BUY button.
If you have items with buttons, caps, ridges etc. we strongly advise you to provide close-up pictures of these areas. Pay special attention to these areas when cleaning and also when rinsing and drying and make sure no cleaning solution gets lefts in the grooves.
Our definitions of Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting, and Sterilizing.
We ask all sellers to state whether they have cleaned or sterilized their used sex toy when it is for sale, and all toys that have been touched by hand, should be cleaned or sanitized. So it’s important that everyone understands what we mean when we use these terms. You’ll see the four terms in the title above 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.
First, let’s put them in the order of cleanliness. Click the + sign to read the detail.
The order of events!
As part of a general maintenance and good hygiene practice you should always be cleaning your own toys before and after use anyway. Always rinse and air dry well too. Then store them properly too.
Cleaning is also the first essential step to do before you do any of the others – sanitizing or disinfecting, or, sterilizing further.
1. CLEANING means removing dirt, dust and other soils from surfaces. It usually involves soap and water and wiping a surface clean.
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.
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.
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.
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 5-10% maximum bleach solutions. Always use hand and eye protection when using strong chemicals and only use them in a well-ventilated room.
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, or re-use of the same bleach solution will mean you´re sanitising, not disinfecting.
3. Don’t use out of date products – we have to assume they will no longer be effective.
4. Give the items a good clean and rinse afterwards because you also don´t want to leave chemicals on your toys. 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 is usually 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 would like to explore the use of natural alternatives to bleach if you are going to do this more often, but for selling, 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 can include all sorts of methods and it means killing all microorganisms from surfaces, not just bacteria and viruses.
Sterilization is the highest level of disinfection. It is a term more often used in a medical environment for the sterilization of tools- for example, it can be done using heat ( wet steam, or dry) , chemicals such as the bleach solution mentioned in the previous section, or radiation (specific UV for example).
It means killing everything, but we’re only interested in killing of everything harmful to humans. This is where a term pastuerization can come in – 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.
TOOLS & METHODS
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. So, on top of cleaning the toy, for complete hands-off sterilization, you should be able to use one of these authentic UV-C products specifically made for sex toys.
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 !
Steaming and boiling, at the correct temperature and contact time, are methods of sterilization, and we have now even heard of microwaving!
We have also seen Baking ( dry heat ) at 350℉ for 30mins recommended by Tantus, to also remove odors; and pressure steaming (using a pressure cooker!) referred to as a sterilization technique here, and other unusual alternative methods referenced in this CDC article. However, we need some further verification before adding any other home methods to the list of below.
Clean & Sanitize – Sterilize – Rinse & Dry & Store
This is the process for non-porous toys. (Note: 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.) 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. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions or directly with your manufacturer about cleaning your toy and make sure you don’t do anything they have advised against.
Washing, or wiping
Wash or wipe using a mild, non-irritating soap and warm water to remove all dirt and dust.
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 immediately after every time you use a toy. And, 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!
Special soaps, wipes, sprays
Sanitizing is a higher level of cleaning and should be done with antibacterial soap, alcohol or bleach wipes.
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. Check the instructions on your sanitizer/disinfection product.
Always make sure you rinse the soap or chemicals off afterwards.
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 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.
Sanitization is sufficient for many bacteria and is good for toys that have not been used, or some sex machine parts.
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.
You could say that the strongest form of disinfecting (i.e. chlorine bleach) is the same as sterilizing so we will talk about that in step 3. This article from the National Library of medicine also describes the use of alcohol vs. bleach as a disinfectant. (Note that they give a recipe of 1:100 for simply disinfecting surfaces, as opposed to the higher level of 1:10 required for the fuller sterilization of sex toys. )
Take great care when carrying out any of the following home sterilizing methods. 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.
3. SterilizE with heat
Boiling is the best easiest solution if your non-porous toy material and design can stand it – and you need to be bubbling for a constant 20 mins in a pan. Just make sure the toy material and design can take this type of sterilizing.
Do NOT boil toys parts that contain a battery, 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 toys.
Do NOT touch toys (especially metal ones) after boiling – give them time to cool before handling.
Do NOT run your toys under a cold tap straight after boiling as the contrast in temperature may break or warp the toy.
Use a large enough pot to boil in so that your toy is fully submerged and not touching the bottom or sides.
We have seen it advised to use a buffer along with glass or stainless steel toys, so that they don’t jump around the pan and get knocks and scrapes on them.
We have seen also articles showing toys cleaned on top rack of your dishwasher – on the hottest setting, with no detergent, but equally, there are articles debating whether this is enough. 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 heat steriization methods we are currently investigating are Steaming with a Pressure cooker, Baking, Microwaving. We do not recommend these yet, but when we have more information on any acceptable method, we will post it here.
3. Sterilize with chemicals
b) Bleach solution & Rinse
Household (chlorine) bleach is a good alternative to boiling, especially if you think your toy shape will become deformed in boiling water – but you need to do it safely and properly.
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.
NCBI article gives excellent advice on the procedures for preparing a bleach solution.
Use a 10% bleach / 90% cold water solution to soak non-porous toys. N.B. Wear protective gear when dealing with bleach, and, NEVER use hot or boiling water with any level of bleach solution- it releases a poisonous gas.
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 below of standing the toy in a jug, or putting the solution in a spray bottle and spraying the toy carefully with the bleach solution.
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.
Never use an old mixed solution, never re-use a bleach solution as they won’t be as effective. Also, make sure your bleach is within the use by date otherwise it will have degraded.
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.
3. Sterilize with radiation
The easiest, but more expensive method, for any type of non-porous toy could be to use a UV-C ray surface 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 you need to make sure this is possible.
It is 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.
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!
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.
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! (You should not need to rinse after UV-C )
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.
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.
Sell your toy on the live marketplace now
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON DESIGN & MATERIAL
Some really helpful notes we have gathered, including reading about other people’s experiences.
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, bleach/rinse, 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 chlorine bleach method.
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 still 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 have 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 an 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.
INTRICATE TOYS AND REMOVABLE PARTS
Design: nozzles, ridges, grooves
• If your toy has any tricky grooves or ridges, germs can gather here so take extra care to clean these areas really thoroughly. Take nozzles off and clean them separately. Rinse and dry well before putting anything back together.
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.
NON-POROUS SPLASHPROOF TOYS
• Splashproof toys cannot usually be submerged in water for a length of time.
• You can’t boil splashproof toys .
• Online information suggests that the 10% bleach solution should be fine with hard ABS plastics but check the fine print of your toy’s instructions or with your manufacturer about bleaching your toys.
• 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.
The best solution here might be to use an authentic UV-C machine.
• 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 “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.”
Check our body-safe blog post for more information and our latest body-safe policy.
It is a listing requirement for all sellers, to upload a picture or video with their listing, of the sterilization 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.
A picture paints a thousand words!
Check out these super listing videos and images below, or browse through other listings to see what sellers have done. 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!
Press the play symbol above to see a video of a seller sanitizing their toy with rubbing alcohol.
This is something we would advise you to always do at home to keep your own toys sanitized.
It’s worth dedicating a toothbrush to your toy collection just for cleaning and getting into all the nooks and crannies.
See the seller’s full listing here on the marketplace.
Press the play symbol above to see a video of a seller sterilizing their toy with a 10% chlorine bleach solution.
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.
See the seller’s full listing here on the marketplace.
Keeping the battery / motor part out of the solution
“Either spray the toy with the bleach solution and let sit for 10 minutes, or submerge the toy in the bleach solution for 10 minutes,” she said. Her advice is based on CDC recommendations for disinfection. Only toys rated as 100% waterproof (not splashproof) are safe to submerge in bleach solution.
Source: NY Times/Wirecutter article How to clean sex toys.
This nytimes/wirecutter disinfecting guide has some great visuals (even though they only go as far as sanitizing) to show you how to do it and what kind of pictures buyers will want to see like this on your listing.
You can see how you need to clean toys like a womanizer with a brush too to get it really clean. So if your toy has any tricky grooves or ridges, germs can gather here so take extra care to clean these areas really thoroughly. Take nozzles off and clean them separately. Rinse and dry well before putting anything back together.
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 FULLY sterilize the item – so this usually means a stronger bleach solution (see below) and a much longer boiling time– as detailed as in THE PROCESS section of this guide.
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. Check out the full listing for this item ( if it’s still for sale) here.
Sell your toy on the live marketplace now
If a toy has been handled at all, then all sellers and buyers should clean and sanitize them.
Don´t forget. For any insertable / penetrable type toys (into any orifice), or toys are used on intimate areas, it is also required that the buyer and the seller must sterilize them fully too.
If your item is used – even once – you will need to sterilize the insertable parts like this. Check the notes above, and check the manufacturer instructions for your toy for what to do and what NOT to do depending on the material, or whether your toy has a motor, is waterproof, only splashproof, etc.
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 we don’t recommend that these be boiled. If you are able to boil to sterilize, your boiling water needs to be bubbling for a constant 20 mins in a pan. Check with the manufacturer if you can do this.
If your item is not a 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. If you can use bleach, then 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 in order to get a full sterilization. Then follow a rigorous rinsing and drying process.
The seemingly easiest method is UV-C sterilization if your toy is a simple shape that allows the UV-C light to reach all the parts of it that could house germs. Make sure the machine is an authentic UVC machine and not just a UV one. Make sure it is strong enough to be used with sex toys. There are UV-C light sterilizers specifically made for sex toys ( B-Vibe and UVEE Clean).
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. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies, and clean all relevant parts and removable parts to the correct level. If you damage it, your only option might be to recycle it – check out our recycling guide.
**This page is just a summary of all the advice we can find online for you. You are responsible for doing this correctly, and remember that you are doing this at your own risk (so be protected) and your toy’s risk (make sure it can withstand the full sterilization).**
With all cleaning, please follow the manufacturer´s instructions (written in italics). The following examples are offered incase you have these exact toys!
Realcock – how to clean an RC2
One of our marketplace sellers spoke to the makers of Dirk in regards to cleaning their toy 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.”
This is enough to keep your RC disinfected for your own use. When it comes to selling it on to another user, we need you to go a step further and make sure it is also fully sterilized. Our Realcock2 sellers have mostly boiled their item, one used the bleach solution method.
Tantus – how to clean and deep clean
Tantus provide a great FAQ page covering how to look after their 100% ultra-premium silicone toys. Make sure you take any vibrating part out, and then clean with a mild antibacterial soap and warm water, or use a toy cleaner. For a deeper clean they advise that you can boil them, use the top rack of the dishwasher, or even bake them! Check out more details here.
Lelo – don’t use alcohol!
Lelo says they use 100% silicone of the best quality, but they also say not to use alcohol-based solutions to sanitize them! (Strange- we heard that you can’t use alcohol on PU coatings, but Lelo doesn’t say they coat with Polyurthene, so we can’t tell what their reasoning is here.)
They just say the materials are body-safe silicone and ABS plastic. They want you to buy their own toy cleaner which is PH balanced, alcohol and paraben free. Here’s what they say.
“You can wash the silicone with warm water and antibacterial soap, rinse with clean hot water and pat dry with a lint-free cloth or towel. Never use cleansers containing alcohol, petrol or acetone.”
They don’t say anything about how you should do a further sterilization – only what you should not do for certain toys. For example with the Lelo Hugo “Please do NOT place your LELO directly in a pan of boiling water“, and for the Lelo Enigma “Avoid leaving your ENIGMA in direct sunlight and NEVER expose it to extreme heat.” So please check the manual for your specific Lelo toy, you can download them on their website. As we have said also on this page however, we don’t recommend putting any toy with a motor into boiling water.
Fleshlight – none of the sleeves can be sterilized
Since these are made of. porous material, we don’t list Fleshlight sleeves even if they have NOT been used – just to protect everyone as far as we can. You can’t fully sterilize porous materials like this, even if only used once. But we did wonder if there could be an exception for the clear/transparent sleeves since it would appear that UV-C could do the job there. So we asked Fleshlight support. Sadly the answer was no – since they did not believe it had ever been tested and were concerned that UV-C would ruin the integrity of the material.
other important factors to consider
As well as rinsing any chemical odors after sterilizing, be sure that any other possible odors have been removed e.g. cigarette smoke, perfumes, room scents, or even body odours on clothes or toys. If you´re bleaching it anyway with a 10% solution this will probably do the trick anyway, or, we’ve seen baking soda and lemon mentioned.
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.
Take appropriate care and wear protective gear when using bleach, boiling water, or UV-C lights.
Never mix boiling water and bleach, never mix alcohol with bleach!
Rinsing is more important than you might think.
And so is air drying.
Germs, Covid 19, and sex toys
there’s a sentence we never thought we would be writing!
Bacteria, viruses or other pathogens.
There is a lot of information online 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. We´ve all finally woken up to the fact that a little care, and preventative measures, go a long way.
As with viruses like Covid-19 existing on surfaces, time is a significant factor- lasting “up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel” (source: U.S. Department of health & Human Services).
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 very unlikely. 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?´
This is the one time you shouldn´t be in a rush to get the mail !
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