BDSM Basics: Caring For Your Toys

After diving head first (as most of us do) into the world of BDSM we generally start to feel comfortable enough to purchase a few “toys”, then a few more, and a few more, and just a couple more.. until we have a collection that needs its own hiding space in the back of the closet. Sure, these toys are plenty of fun, but do you know how to properly take care of them?

Fun Factory Bendy Beads

Fun Factory Bendy Beads (Silicone)

Urethane Butt Plug (Plastic)

Urethane Butt Plug (Plastic)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jelly Double Anal Penetrator

Jelly Double Anal Penetrator

Although most plastic, jelly, and silicone toys can be cleaned with a basic soap and water regimen there are plenty of other fun items out there that can’t be properly cleaned with just those basics. These materials may be cleaned with a similar method, but only silicone is virtually non-porous so in order to be really sure, you can use a 10% bleach solution. Just remember to remove batteries from any vibrating toys before immersing them in water (see below for e-stim/medical toy cleaning).

Swiss Navy Toy and Body Cleaner

Mr Blue Pyrex Glass Dildo (Glass)

Plastic and silicone toys can also be cleaned using a specialized toy cleaner or boiled in water for 3-5 minutes (no battery powered toys in the boiling water!) For more information about different kinds of plastics and rubbers, please read Dangerous Lilly’s article linked at the bottom.

Glass toys are probably one of the easiest to clean, just pop them in the top rack of your dishwasher and let the machine do the work for you! If you don’t have a dishwasher, or just don’t feel comfortable cleaning your toys with your pots and pans, you can also boil glass toys.

 

Latex Thigh-High Stockings

Latex Thigh-High Stockings

 

Latex seems like a tricky material to take care of, when in reality you can usually clean it with just soap and water. However, keep latex away from oil based lubricants, greases or solvents (like lotions or leather items), which may damage latex. After washing your latex goodies, hang them somewhere to air dry and then you can polish them up with a special latex shiner or water-based lubricant.

It is also recommend you keep your latex items away from metal, which can discolor or snag, and prolonged exposure to silicone, which can also discolor latex.

 

30" Elk Hide Flogger

30″ Elk Hide Flogger

Leather items require a little more work and time to take care of and since they are usually in the higher price range you’ll definitely want to set aside time for it. Leather or tack shops sell saddlesoap, which is the most recommended product for cleaning leather, but you can also use glycerin soap or other special leather cleaners, such as Lexol, which, wonderfully, does not contain skin irritants. If cleaning leather makes you nervous, you can take them to a leather cleaner who most likely has more experience and the right products to clean your items. If your leather toys get wet during play, remember to never dry it under direct heat, always let it air dry and be sure to “stuff” it to preserve its shape.* Keep in mind since leather is porous, you cannot fully disinfect it!

 

Hemp Rope

Hemp Rope

Rope is another easy item to take care of. After each use, be sure to wipe down your rope with a damp cloth to reduce the possibility of bacterial growth. You can hand wash or throw the rope in your washer when you feel it really needs a good cleaning (place your rope in a lingerie bag or pillowcase to prevent tangling). Do not put your ropes in the dryer though, wrap them in loose coils and hang them to air dry. Remember newly dyed rope can bleed, so be careful when washing with other clothes!

 

Red Heart Paddle with Suede Cut Out

Suede has unfairly gotten a bad reputation for being hard to take care of and since it’s a versatile fabric with a wonderful sensation, please don’t pass it up! Before you even use your suede toy, I suggest using a suede protector to protect it from stains and moisture. To clean suede, hang the item to allow moisture to dry. Then rub the fabric with a towel or suede brush, which will raise the nap and remove the dirt. Small stains can be removed with a pencil eraser and you can use a bit of sandpaper to remove anything larger.

7 Wheel Pinwheel

 

 

Try to keep metal rings, locks and any other metal pieces as dry as possible to avoid damage. You can use expensive metal cleaners on them if you’d like, but lemon juice is an affordable and effective option (and also removes water stains!)

To clean electrical toys and other medical equipment, you can use medical wipes or other medical grade sanitizers, usually available through medical suppliers or online retailers.

18″ Black Paddle w/ Holes

 

 

 

 

Ceramic and wooden toys are non-porous and can be cleaned with a quick wipe down, which in turn makes awesome hygienic toys. However, if your wooden toy has NOT been properly sealed you can still wipe it down, but it will not be as clean and will not last as long as sealed wooden toys. Do not place ceramic or wooden toys in the dishwasher as they cannot withstand high temperatures. Check with the manufacturer of your wooden toy to make sure your toy has been sealed.

 

Realistic” materials used in masturbation sleeves, cockrings and some dildos/vibrators can be washed with soap and water. Once dry, lightly dust them with cornstarch to keep them from getting sticky. The Fleshlight, however, must ONLY be cleaned with water or if absolutely necessary with alcohol.

If you are spending a good amount of money on high quality products, you will want to take care of them properly, so be sure to do your own research and follow any manuals or care instructions included with your toys. Remember, to stay safe when using any bondage equipment!

Other Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Make sure you store all your toys in a cool, dry place to avoid bacterial growth! You can use organza bags to keep toys separate and allow ventilation.
  • If you break the skin or there is any bloodshed, be sure to sanitize thoroughly. Although alcohol is a common cleanser it must be in contact with the area for three minutes in order to fully sanitize (do NOT use alcohol on leather). A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda will remove blood from most materials. If there is a chance you will  break the skin with your toy it is recommended that you do so on rubber sheets, which are easier to clean up than other surfaces.
  • When storing battery powered toys, remove the batteries first. There is always the possibility of a battery leaking and destroying the toy or the toy accidentally being turned and draining the batteries.
  • Toys are not 100% safe! Although regular cleaning can reduce the risks, remember not to share your toys and use a condom on any others.

*I did read an article that claimed you could use baby wipes and a magic eraser on leather. I would not recommend either of these products. Baby wipes’ ingredients vary from brand to brand and even among those brands and can contain detergents that may harm leather. Magic erasers or other “magic” sponges are extremely abrasive products meant for household cleaning and not necessarily disinfecting.

Resources:

Collars N Cuffs: Beginner’s Guide to Leather Care

Leather Care for the BDSM Community

Sex Toys: Brown University Health Education

Sex Toy Care and Maintenance by Dangerous Lilly < highly recommended reading!

Sex Toys and STIs

2 thoughts on “BDSM Basics: Caring For Your Toys

  1. Pingback: Kinky Vegan Product Reviews: X/Y Hogtie, Collar and Flogger | A Submissive's InitiativeA Submissive's Initiative

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