Whether you've invested in one of our best Fleshlights or gone rogue and selected your own stroker, you've made a good investment - given that they're less intimidating than some, Fleshlights might be the best sex toys for men. But you want to keep your toy performing well and, most importantly, clean and hygenic, right? Care for your male toy and it'll last long into the future.
Not that that's something that sounds like much fun. Cleaning your fleshlight, drying your fleshlight, refreshing your fleshlight, it's all a lot less interesting than, y'know, actually using a fleshlight. But no excuses: you need to do it. And this is true whether you're using an on-brand Fleshlight or one of the many excellent alternatives out there, like the Arcwave Voy.
So why bother? Over to Calum McSwiggan, sex expert with sexual wellness brand Lovehoney: "Lubricants and body fluids can both deteriorate a toy over time so cleaning them after use is essential to making them last. An unclean toy can have negative health consequences too – your genitals are one of the most sensitive parts of your body, the last thing you want to do is subject them to potential bacteria from an unclean toy. Always err on the side of caution and clean them after each use."
Here's exactly how to clean a Fleshlight to ensure it stays fresh and hygienic for as long as possible.
How to clean a Fleshlight case
Begin by removing the sleeve from the case. Every toy with a soft inner will be built to make this possible - if it's not, it's probably not worth your money and certainly not worth putting anywhere near your penis or anyone else's.
It's a good idea to give the case itself a wash before moving on to the sleeve, since it's likely picked up a bit of bacteria of its own. You can use a little liquid soap and warm water for this, but absolutely do not use soap with the sleeve, as it'll damage the material and really doesn't work well as a lubricant. Make sure it's rinsed out and dry.
How to clean a Fleshlight sleeve
Cleaning the sleeve is the most critical step, even if you've been careful to keep your previous sessions fluid-free. "Just like we need to clean our clothes on a regular basis, the same is true of our sex toys," says Calum McSwiggan. "Not making a visible mess doesn’t mean that the toy is necessarily clean. A toy can still become unclean over time just from being kept in storage, so be sure to clean them from time to time, even if they haven’t been used."
Start by running some warm (not hot) water through one end and out the other. Too hot and you stand to damage the toy's material (Fleshlight's SuperSkin, in particular, is a little sensitive to heat), too cold and you won't get the job done.
Now, with the water still running, reach into either end and rub around the sides with your fingers to dislodge anything that might be lurking. There are many crevices in strokers - in some designs more than others - which can hide lube and other things that might not be caught by simple running water.
You can also try holding one end of the sleeve to let it fill up with water, cover the other end, and give it a shake before running more water through to clear everything out.
Fleshlight cleaning products
Once you're done with the water, it's sensible to add some specific cleaner to help dissolve any last remnants of lube and keep your toy ready for action. It's worth investigating branded solutions for this (Fleshlight and Arcwave sell toy cleaners, for example) as they shouldn't cause any unwanted chemical reactions with the sleeve - a few sprays before rinsing with water should be enough. That said, you likely won't have any issues with a broader toy cleaner like Lovehoney's Fresh, as it's chemically neutral and shouldn't react with the material at all.
You could also try 70% isopropyl, which some users swear by. It will kill off any bacteria and shouldn't affect the material - it even helps the sleeve dry faster.
How to dry your fleshlight
"If you put a toy away before letting it dry out fully," says Calum McSwiggan, "you’re essentially creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Always let a toy dry out fully before you use it or put it away into storage."
You've got two things to dry, one of which is easy, one of which isn't quite so straightforward. For the case, use a paper towel to mop up any excess water. For the sleeve, there's not really any shortcut: you need to let it air dry. For more complex sleeves, this can take a long time.
First shake it off to remove as much water as possible. Then place it vertically so any water remaining inside can drip out. If you don't need to be discrete you could put it on a dish rack or similar; a turned-off radiator is also a good idea, since air naturally flows around it. If you need to be more private, propped up on a towel in a cupboard will do the trick.
Don't be tempted to use heat, as you stand to damage the sleeve. No hair dryers, no warm radiators - you want your Fleshlight to last, right? If you really can't wait, perhaps we can interest you in a second Fleshlight, or a third? There are loads of different textures and styles to try out.
Note that some toys might come with their own more specialised drying solutions. Arcwave's Ion, for example, comes with a nice discrete case to leave it in, and utilises what the company calls DryTech sticks to help its inner dry. There are a bit less exciting than that branding may suggest: they're basically just long silica desiccant packets. If you've saved some of those that came with your other electronics and you've managed to resist eating them, perhaps you might be able to find a way to use them in the same manner.
How to refresh a Fleshlight
When you're sure the sleeve is dry, you should probably add a little renewing powder.
Calum McSwiggan explains why: "Many toys are designed with a specific feel to them – that soft, squishy, skin like feeling is what makes many toys so effective, but if not taken care of properly, that texture can deteriorate over time. By using a refreshing powder after cleaning, you can keep your toys in top shape so that feeling lasts for years to come."
Adding powder can also stop toys picking up fluff and hair, but do make sure they're dry first - otherwise, the powder can get gummy, which isn't something you want.
Again, many toy brands offer their own specific refreshing powder, and we'd suggest going branded if you can. Alternatively, you could try using plain old corn starch, which you'll likely find a lot cheaper than the official stuff - it's basically the same thing.
Clean, dry, powdered? Put it all back together, and you're ready to tuck it away. Or go again. Up to you.