I decided to post this after reading a lot of Sybian Owner FAQs that included things like “I use rubbing alcohol & boil attachments between riders, so my machine is perfectly hygienic/safe”. The problem with this & similar statements is that rubbing alcohol, mainstream bleach-based products and boiling have not been shown to consistently kill some infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis C, which could come into contact with the machine through menstrual blood, skin irritation, or even due to micro-abrasions caused by the vibration itself.
A few notes about Hepatitis C from this article on the CDC website, for reference, though feel free to do your own research:
“The Hepatitis C virus can be spread easily to others through blood, even in very small amounts too small to see.”
“Do not share razors, tooth brushes, or other personal items that may have come into contact with another person’s blood.”
“Bleaching, boiling, heating with a flame, or using common cleaning fluids, alcohol, or peroxide will not clean needles, tools, and other instruments. These methods are not strong enough to kill the Hepatitis C virus. The virus can still spread easily from one person to another.”
In addition to being difficult to kill without the right cleaning procedures in place, Hepatitis C can potentially live on a surface for a long time (days, maybe weeks), unlike other viruses that can’t live outside of the body for more than a few hours.
So, while we could sit around and debate how high the risk of transmission (of Hep C, or anything else) might be all day long, I am instead going to suggest a few simple ways to make your play safer, should this be something that’s as important to you as it is to me.
Before I do that, I want to touch on what exactly the machine and attachments are made out of, since there seems to be some confusion about the material in the sex blogger community, and I think it’s relevant to know before we get into the cleaning process.
The “original” attachments (that come in beige or brown) are made of a medical grade TPE called C-Flex, which is primarily used for pharmaceutical applications. Generally, when sex toys are labeled ‘TPE’, it means that they’re made out of a lower-quality, porous material, but that’s not the case here. C-flex attachments are less permeable (less porous) than medical grade silicone (which is actually microporous, but that’s a post for another day), and can be sterilized just as thoroughly.
The “new” attachments are made out of a medical grade silicone, which as mentioned above, is also body-safe and sterilizable. I won’t talk about medical grade silicone in detail because most of us are already familiar with that material. However, if you aren’t already familiar with it, there is a lot of great resource material online.
The saddle itself is made out of Naugahyde, a high quality, non-porous vinyl. It is stain & abrasion resistant, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which means that it too can be thoroughly cleaned.
Which leads me to why I made this post to begin with: how the heck do we clean this thing?!
If the Sybian is a single-partner toy, a gentle anti-bacterial soap or toy cleaner should be enough. You can also boil your attachments after use, or throw them in the dishwasher (without soap).
If the Sybian is a multiple-partner toy like mine is, however, there are additional things to consider adding to the cleaning regime:
- Use barriers between riders. I personally only share my flat-top attachments casually, so in my case that means covering the entire Sybian (and whatever surface it’s on) with a shower curtain liner. Each rider gets their own barriers, and squirters are encouraged to bring a towel or blanket to deal with any extra fluids, though puppy-pads & similar are also an option. If you share your penetrative attachments, you may need to use a combination of shower liners, pallet wrap, and condoms to fully cover the machine & attachment. While it’s possible to clean attachments for barrier-free use between partners, barriers will always provide an extra layer of protection.
- Thoroughly clean the machine, stool, controller, attachments (and anywhere else that may have come into contact with fluids) with a medical grade virucidal cleaner before & after every ride. I personally use Biotext (as do a lot of Sybian rental services) because it’s skin & naugahyde safe, but there are other options on the market. The difference between using a product like Biotext instead of a mainstream household cleaner or rubbing alcohol is that a medical grade virucidal cleaner is purposely designed and rated to kill specific viruses and bacteria. Make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle — most medical grade cleaners have a ‘sit time’ (usually 3-5 minutes) that’s required to ensure effectiveness.
- Don’t just take someone’s word for how ‘clean’ their machine and attachments are. If you’re even the tiniest bit concerned about cleanliness, take the time to ask the owner about their cleaning procedures — you can even ask them to clean the machine and attachments in front of you to be sure. A decent partner isn’t going to mind taking a few extra minutes to do this, and since there’s always the possibility that something will get missed or overlooked (even the most careful players are still susceptible to human error), it never hurts to give the machine an extra scrub-down anyway. This is especially true if you’re going to be riding a multi-person machine barrier-free.
- And yes, a properly cleaned machine with non-porous attachments CAN be safely used by multiple riders barrier-free. I personally prefer to err on the side of caution and only ride barrier-free on my own Sybian. However, if you do decide that you want to take a naked ride on a borrowed machine, just make sure that you know what cleaning procedures are in place to help keep you safe, and that they’ve been followed before you hop on. 🙂
PS: I’m using the Sybian & Hepatitis C as examples, but a lot of these things can certainly apply to other multi-person toys & difficult-to-kill bugs.