Having moved to humid Charleston from dry Los Angeles a few years ago, I am still coming to terms with the difference in lifestyle regarding the weather.
I had a very rude awakening to the hostile humidity when recently I caught a whiff of mold coming from my closet. To my horror it was my dildo! I had washed him down after my last play date and stowed him away in his cozy tote where I keep the rest of my toys in my closet.
Over the next month I had replaced using toys for a lucky and abnormal schedule of gentleman callers. Finally, one introverted, self-loving evening, I decided to pay my party phallus a visit again. The tote is situated behind a row of shirts, blocking it from view. I didn’t see the horror that had been growing on it for the past few weeks. Without going into detail, I realized the stale odor was not the single worn, unwashed shirts, but a powdered sugar coating of mildew that had engulfed the sad tote. I removed it immediately, washed all my clothing in vinegar, and sprayed down the closet in tea tree oil. I didn’t save any of my poor toys, they were dead to me. It was such a waste and a disappointment. This cautionary tale has led me to write the following post on how to wash, dry and properly care for your sex toys.
Consider Toy Material
Let’s start with the type of toy you choose. Not all toys are created equal, and a big red flag are those labeled as “Novelty Only”. This designation is to ensure the toy is not used for sexual purposes or the manufacturer is taking all possible measures to limit liability. One chemical common in novelty only toys are phthalates. This is used as an additive to help soften plastics. Some studies have also shown that phthalates contributed to adverse reproductive affects, such as birth defects and sperm damage. A knowledgeable store employee will be able to direct you to safe silicone, glass, stainless steel, latex, and phthalate-free plastic toys.
Another thing to look for is the CE logo on products. This means the item has been cleared for sale in the European Union. Alternatively, a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval also signifies the toy in question is safe for bodily use.
The most popular lubricants on the market are silicone, oil and water based. A good rule of thumb is to not mix lubes of the same material as the toy you’re using. Silicone lube used on silicone-based toys can damage material due to the element in lubricant that keeps it liquid interacting with the silicone in the toy. And even though this doesn’t completely liquify your toy, it can break down the material and cause porousness that creates a playground for bacteria. The same goes for oil-based lubricants with latex and petroleum-based rubbers. At the end of the day water-based lubricant is the universal go-to for sex toy lubricants.
There are expensive toy cleaners out there, and then there is classic soap and warm water. Simply rub away any material your toy has encountered using soap and warm water, then rinse it thoroughly and set aside to dry completely. Doing this after every use will ensure longevity and hygiene of the toy. ALWAYS fully dry your toy before you put it away, even in dry climates. Don’t make me tell you my story again.
Side note, you really don’t need to run a toy through the dishwasher. Most toys that are made of dishwasher safe material do just as well with warm to hot water and soap. Anything that has an electronic component such as, vibrators, buttons, and movers should most definitely not be put in the dishwasher as the heat can destroy the motors and mishape the product. Last, if you’re unsure if the toy is waterproof, use a damp cloth and mild soap to rub the toy clean. It was literally just in a warm and wet location like said washcloth so it should be fine. Rubbing alcohol can also be a good disinfectant but be sure it’s dry before inserting the disinfected toy into your body.
Simply be mindful of who you may be sharing your toys with. If you aren’t aware of your partner’s status on the STI front, you may use a condom just as you would with the real thing. The toy should be cleaned before you and a partner use it. Last, be careful when switching between anal and vaginal penetration as this can introduce bacteria to different areas of the body.
There are many different types of storage available. You don’t have to choose an expensive dominatrix duffle or tool cabinet. A satin or cloth bag is perfect in a well ventilated, temperature controlled, and dry location. According to Emily Morse, sexologist, and host of Sex with Emily podcast “Leaving a toy in places where the temperature is too hot or stuffy can cause the toys to break down depending on the quality and materials.” If the toy is porous, avoid storage in non-breathable plastic bags or vinyl. The key is for your toy to breathe. Make sure it is always clean and dry before you store it as mentioned previously.
If you are still unsure how to care for your toy look up the toy’s description, contact the seller or manufacturer and ask a question. Rest Stop Shop loves to answer these questions. Send us a DM on our Instagram or message us here! Happy and healthy sexual journeys friends, no matter what climate you live in!