Ask Mr. Sexsmith: What happens to the stuff on the anal toys when you boil them?

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: What happens to the stuff on the anal toys when you boil them?

September 20, 2013  |  advice

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

Ok, this is a really dumb question. When you clean silicone toys used during anal sex, do you boil them? I know that you can clean silicone toys by boiling, or by soap and water, or 10% bleach, or by the top rack of the dishwasher. But like, if you boil them, does the leftover lube/etc stay on the pot? Do you wash the pot afterwards? Do you have a separate sex-toy pot for sey-toy cleaning? Why bother dirtying something else, especially something else used in food preparation?

Thanks for any help.
Christy

Hi Christy!

I am not an expert on toy cleaning, really—I have my own way of doing it, but I’m not always sure that’s the right way. Since my activities as of late are very low-risk (currently, I have one person I share toys with), what I do feels adequately good enough.

And, I have less knowledge of the healthcare side of cleaning toys and STIs than some of the other sex educators out there. So, instead of stumbling through my own answer, I asked my buddy Sejay Chu what their thoughts were on this question. They worked for Planned Parenthood doing sex education, and are one of the best workshop presenters I’ve ever seen. Their depth (heh heh) of knowledge is astounding. (And plus, they’re super hot, so that’s always a bonus.)

Sejay wrote:

(A) Not a dumb question.

(B) Before doing any cleaning intended to sanitize (bleach, boiling, soap, etc.), it’s best to always scrub the surface gunk off first. Kinda like you “clean the dishes before you clean the dishes” for the dishwasher — if you have a dish with globs of food & grease on it, just tossing it in the dishwasher probably won’t get rid of the globs of food & grease very well… get my drift?

Bleach, boiling, soap, etc. is intended to get the microscopic bits and do a good job of it, but it can’t do that very well if it’s blocked by a (relatively) gigantic mound of whateversonyourtoy. So do a preliminary scrubbing to get the gunk out of your sanitizer’s way.

(C) Some people use a sex-toy-only pot, and some just wash the pot afterwards. It’s a matter of preference, not necessarily cleanliness. Things you cook in pots tend to get boiled or super hot in the process of, y’know, cooking anyway, right? But if it “icks” you or the people you live with to eat out of something that boiled a buttplug yesterday, it might be worth the $10 pot. Plus then you can call it a “sexpot,” hehe.

(D) Just FYI, some dishwashers don’t actually get hot enough temperature-wise to disinfect the way you’d want to, so be weary of that.

Thank you Sejay! The number (B) point was basically going to be my point too, which is that I’d use a mild soap to scrub down all the toys before doing the sanitizing of boiling it.

Sidenote:

Sanitize, by the way, is more accurate that “sterilize,” even though most sex educators tend to say “sterilize your toys by boiling for 8 minutes, 10% bleach solution, or washing in the top shelf of the dishwasher.” However, in order to actually sterilize something, you need an AutoClave or some other hospital-strength unit. But as soon as something is exposed to the air, it’s no longer sterile. Regardless, what we’re doing is sanitizing sex toys, which kills most (idk, 99.9%?) bacteria and any STI viruses. (I learned this at Catalyst East in March and I’ve been meaning to write a post about it ever since—that I’ve been saying “sanitize” all these years and all along I had never actually sanitized my toys! I don’t think it’s just me, I think it’s a common mistake of words that sex educators often use. (Or maybe it is just me, and everybody else knows this difference, and I was the one always equating the two.)

Also, if you are worried about the extra santorum* on your toys or on your cookware, I suggest using a condom with anal sex toys, because that will add a protective layer to your toys and make them even easier to clean.

I didn’t know that (D) about the dishwashers. Sejay, do you know what the required temperature is, and how to figure out if your dishwasher gets that hot or not?

And, I love the idea of having a (C) sexpot, but I tend to just use the biggest soup pot in the house. I clean my toys first, and clean the pot after. All good!

* Definition of santorum: that frothy mixture of come and lube and other rectal contents created during anal sex. See: Savage Love, 2003. (I think the word “frothy” is the key part of that definition, personally.)

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3 Comments


  1. Santorum! Nicely done!

  2. Thank you for answering my question! Thank you thank you thank you – I didn’t really know who else to ask. I’ve been waiting for cleaning information before getting my first butt plug, so thanks for responding! Gonna go shopping ASAP. :)

  3. Dishwashers just use hot water, same as running from the tap, which typically ranges 120-140° Fahrenheit (dishwasher manuals request closer to the 140 end, scalding safety suggests closer to the 120 end especially for elderly). Dishwashers that have a heater element (if used) put it toward the higher end of that scale.

    Obviously boiling is 212°, way higher than dishwasher temps. For my own personal use toys, I simply run under hot water until everything melts/rinses away as body substances are generally water soluble and it’s my own biota. My body will introduce more things to the toy than the toy will to my body, heh. Shared toys get condoms.

    So obviously a dishwasher neither sanitizes nor sterilizes anything, it simply washes them. If you want to check it’s temp without it’s preheater (if equipped), simply put a thermometer in hot water running from the tap. If you use a preheater, wait until it’s done heating, stop the cycle, open the door, and use an instant read thermometer in the water in the basin.

    PS: Aren’t sanitize/sterilize synonyms in the dictionary? The definition of sterilize, “to destroy microorganisms in or on, usually by bringing to a high temperature with steam, dry heat, or boiling liquid.” AFAIK, an autoclave is just a faster/more expedient method of achieving the same via pressure.

    Per wikipedia, “Steam at 134 °C can achieve in three minutes the same sterility that hot air at 160 °C can take two hours to achieve.” (Obviously 100 C is boiling point, IE 212 F.) Also it’s worth noting there are microorganisms that survive boiling/autoclaves.

    PPS: If you need to clean dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, maybe try using less detergent, perhaps counter-intuitive, but too much detergent may clump things together and leave deposits. This is particularly true of apartment sized dishwashers (manufacturers are encouraged to use large soap reservoirs so consumers spend more product) which have the same size detergent reservoirs as full size!

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