Monday, March 25, 2013

Silicone Part Two: Caring For Silicone

See Part One for my introduction to Silicone.

So, you've bought yourself a silicone product. Good on you, congrats. Now you need to know how to care for it, so you get all the benefits of silicone and it lasts you the lifetime it should.

I use Seventh Generation Free and Clear dishwashing soap to clean my toys, mainly because I have a lot of sensitivities and this is a natural option. I'm keeping my eye out for other good natural soaps to try out. Any antibacterial soap without fragrances or dyes (which can be harsh) are good for cleaning your toys. 
Since silicone is non-porous, it is very easy to sterilize. I would recommend cleaning a new product before first use and after that, at the very least after each use- if not before as well if there's any dust (even if you're just giving it a rinse). Not all silicone toys attract a lot of dust, but some do and they'll all attract at least a little bit of dust, it's just the nature of the material. If the toy is non-electronic, or you can remove the electronics*, you can boil the product or put it in the dishwasher to sanitize:

  • Boiling is one way to completely sterilize your toy, making it safe for use between orifices and between partners. I'd recommend scrubbing any seams or highly textured parts with a soft toothbrush or other soft brush and a proper soap** before boiling, just to make sure there isn't anything in the crevices. Then, treat your toys like pasta: plop in a pot of water, bring to a boil, drain, and pour your favorite sauce on top... I mean, lay out in a dish rack or on a towel to dry. 
  • If you're lucky enough to have a dishwasher, throw your dishwashable products on the top rack and put on the dildo setting. If your dishwasher is coy, the sanitize setting is the same as the dildo setting.
If your product has electronics integrated into the design, even if it is waterproof (and it might only be splash-proof at best, anyway- no one controls what companies say on their packaging and very few products can work while submerged without being damaged), I would not recommend boiling or dishwashing the product. This could compromise the electronics, degrading circuitry. It may work after the first time you do it, but it could lead to it breaking over time because connections in the electronics have started to corrode or loosen. The best thing you can do in this situation is rinse, soap up, scrub crevices and textures with a soft brush, rinse, and lay out to dry. If your product uses batteries, take them out before doing this and let it dry completely before replacing them and turning the product on. If it is rechargeable, wait for the product to dry completely before turning it on again or charging.

Of course, I am not always good about everything I've mentioned above. I have a busy schedule and a lot of sex toys. I am also occasionally lazy. Be sure to at least soap up your products between uses especially if you have a bacterial or yeast infection, especially if you plan on using it in a different orifice, and absolutely if you plan on using it with a different partner: they did not consent to using an unclean toy which may give them an infection of some sort. If you give yourself an infection, that's your own problem. I'm not saying an unclean toy will definitely result in an infection, but it could- the environment within the vagina and that within the anus can be very sensitive. You don't want to introduce anything that could be harmful or you could upset the balance. If you want to cut down on cleaning time, you can use a non-lubricated condom or one with water-based lubricant***. I would not recommend sharing a toy without a condom unless you've boiled, dishwashed, or scrubbed it with a 10% (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) bleach solution and rinsed it. Better to be safe than sorry.

If you take care of a pure silicone toy, it can last you a lifetime. The non-porous nature of the material means that it won't get dirt and bacteria imbedded inside of it and it can therefore be completely sterilizable. This means that it's safe to sanitize between uses and use with more than one person in more than one orifice, safely- something that no jelly, TPR, TPE, Cyberskin, Silagel, Elastomer, Elastomed, or other porous toy can ever do, no matter how much they try to convince you otherwise. Nonporous products (silicone, glass, metal, hard plastic, specially treated wood) are the only things that are safe to use between orifices, if you wash in between or use a condom and take it off or switch it for faster use. You should never, ever use a porous product with someone else: they cannot be sterilized, and they did not consent to a possible bacterial infection, yeast infection, or STI- and that's not even mentioning the possible chemical reaction the person can have. I don't see why anyone with a good conscience would share a porous product, but a lot of people don't think or know about the possible consequences.

Sex toys should be body-safe: they should not interact chemically with your body, and they should be easy to clean. True silicone products are all this and more. 

*Some products have a bullet that is separate from the toy but can be inserted to make it vibrate- some good silicone examples of this are Tantus Vibrators and Whipsider Rubberworks toys, some of which you can have made with a cavity for a bullet. If you have a product like this, I'd recommend taking the bullet out before cleaning, cleaning the cavity thoroughly, and when it's dry using a starch or a water-based lubricant on the bullet/in the cavity so it's easy to insert and take out when you're done. 
**But what's a good soap to use? Fantastic question. I personally use Seventh Generation's Free and Clear dishwashing soap. The reason for this is that it is fragrance and dye free, has natural ingredients, and isn't harsh. I'm sensitive and concerned about chemicals, which is why I choose this specific soap- but everyone should avoid fragrances or dyes when it comes to cleaning their sex toys. Fragrances are often alcohol based, which might damage the toy but even if that's not a concern, the skin in the vagina and anus and on the penis and vulva is very thin and sensitive. Fragrances and dyes can irritate these delicate areas, and that's just no fun for anyone.
*** The most common non-lubricated condoms I've seen on the market are one of the Trojan ENZ lines, they're in a red box and clearly say non-lubricated along the bottom of the front of the package. Condoms will generally say specifically if they have a water-based lubricant since most use silicone lube.

Keep an Eye out for Part Three: Silicone, Lube, and Silicone Lubricants. 


  1. I'm also not always great about cleaning my toys immediately. But since they're silicone (and most are dildos, not vibes) I can boil them and be 100% sure that they're clean!
    Yay for silicone!

  2. I'm the worst about washing my toys immediately because I've been so spoiled having mostly silicone. Plus, I mean, doesn't everyone just pass out after an orgasm? Maybe that's just my meager excuse...