How to clean a Fleshlight: keep it fresh and feeling great

Caring for your Fleshlight is absolutely essential to extend its life and keep things hygienic

(Image credit: Lovehoney)

Whether you've already bought the best Fleshlight or gone rogue and selected your own stroker, you've made a good investment. Fleshlights might be the best sex toys for men, but if you want to keep your toy performing well and, most importantly, clean and hygienic, care for your male toy is important so it'll last long into the future.

Cleaning your fleshlight, drying it and refreshing it is a lot less interesting than actually using a fleshlight. But no excuses: you need to do it! As stated by 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

A Fleshlight has many different parts so you're going to want to take it apart to ensure everything is clean, sparkly and hygienic before your next use. It's worth noting here that 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.

How to clean your Fleshlight case

1. Begin by removing the sleeve from the case.

2. Give the case a wash before moving on to the sleeve (instructions below). Use a little liquid soap and warm water on the case, but don't use soap with the sleeve, as it'll damage the material.

3. 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."

sleeve insert for Fleshlight Flight Pilot

Completely remove the sleeve from the case. A clear toy like the Fleshlight Flight Pilot will reveal in excruciating detail if there's anything that needs cleaning out

(Image credit: Alex Cox / T3)

How to clean your Fleshlight sleeve

1. Start by running some warm 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.

2. 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 which can hide lube and other things that might not be caught by simple running water. 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.

3. Add some cleaner to help dissolve any last remnants of lube and keep your toy ready for action – more on which cleaner to choose can be found below.

What Fleshlight cleaning products do I need?

When washing your Fleshlight, you're going to want to clean it thoroughly with a cleaning product to make sure it's hygienic and not hiding anything in its nooks and crannies. But, you can't just use any cleaning products you've got lying around!

It's worth investigating branded solutions for cleaning your toy (for example, Fleshlight and Arcwave sell toy cleaners) 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.

When picking a cleaning product, 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 a 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, simply use a paper towel to mop up any excess water but with 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, so follow our instructions below.

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: Some toys might come with their own more specialised drying solutions. The Arcwave 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 dry your Fleshlight

1. Shake off the sleeve to remove as much water as possible.

2. 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.

3. When it's dry add renewing powder (more on this below).

4. Put your Fleshlight back together and you're done!

Fleshlight Ice Lady

Keep the inside of a toy pleasant by applying refreshing powder

(Image credit: Alex Cox / T3)

How to refresh a Fleshlight

Once 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.

James is T3's sex toy and male wellness expert who's been exploring the topic of sexual happiness for a decade. He knows it's not what you've got, it's how you use it – and how clean you keep it.

With contributions from