How to Clean up Lube

A woman in the shower

Lubes are a great way to improve your sex life. They can help you reduce discomfort, increase arousal and ultimately help you achieve better orgasms. However, they can leave an unwanted mess on your skin, your sheets, or your clothes.

When it comes to washing lube off your skin, the classic warm water and soap combination is enough. You don’t need to rub too hard since it will come off without much trouble. In case you don’t have the opportunity to shower, try cleaning yourself with wet wipes.

Removing lube from fabrics will be a bit trickier. Luckily, we have compiled some of the best ways to clean up lube.

How to Clean Water-Based Lube

Water-based lube is the recommended option for your health, wellness and sexual pleasure. It’s easy to acquire, will not damage your latex condoms and silicone toys, and feels very similar to the body’s natural lubrication. Be sure to read the label and avoid water-based lubes with added glycerin or parabens, which can be irritating and increase the risk of yeast infections. 

Another advantage of water-based lube is that it is effortless to clean off your sheets or clothes. Your regular washing cycle will remove any trace of lube. However, a bit of extra care will do wonders. Any commercial laundry pre-treatment will do, although we recommend choosing ones with protein-treating enzymes. You can also apply white vinegar to the lubed area and rub coarse rock salt over it before you put your sheets in the washer.

How to Clean Silicone-Based Lube

Silicone-based lubes are denser than water lubes, stick more to your skin, and don’t need reapplication as frequently as water lubes. These lubes can also be more expensive than water-based ones. Because silicone doesn’t wash off in the shower, many people prefer them. However, being waterproof makes them more difficult to remove from fabrics. You have to be especially careful when washing silicone lube from your sheets or clothes since it can leave permanent stains if not treated properly. Here are a few tips: 

Step 1. Do it quick

The first thing you need to know about how to clean silicone lube is not to let the stain dry. It will be more difficult to remove if you do. While doing laundry is the last thing you want to do after sex, it’s the best way to ensure your sheets don’t get ruined.

If you the lube ends up drying don’t worry, we have a trick that might seem paradoxical. Use more lube to remove the lube. When you apply the same type of lube to the dried stain, the old lubricant will rehydrate, making it easier for you to wash it out.

Step 2. Pretreat your sheets

There are various commercial and household products that you can use to prepare your sheets or clothes and soften the offending lube. If you want to buy a fabric pretreatment, read the label and look for those that act against protein stains.The cleaning products for your sex toys will also be effective to pretreat your sheets. 

There are some household products that will help clean silicone lube from your sheets with the same effectiveness as commercial products. Dab some degreaser over the  lube stain and let it work a few minutes before rinsing. You can also soak your sheets in a heavy dilution of dishwasher detergent to pretreat them. 

Another way to pretreat your lubed fabrics is to dust the area with a thin layer of baking powder, cornstarch, or talcum powder. Let it rest for a while to absorb the lube. Then, use a soft brush or an old toothbrush to rub the powder off before rinsing.

Step 3. Machine wash

It’s essential to check thoroughly if your chosen pretreatment needs reapplying before tossing the sheets into the washer machine. It’s always better to repeat the process than to risk a permanent stain.

Check the label of your detergent and try to choose those with enzymes. The enzymes will break down the silicone in the remaining lube, making it easier for the detergent to wash it off. Adding more detergent than necessary might be tempting, but it actually can lower the efficacy of your washing machine. Always use the amount recommended on the label.

Step 4. Air-drying

I cannot stress this enough: do not put your sheets or clothes in the dryer. If there is still some lube in it that you didn’t spot, the heat will fix it to the cloth and permanently stain it. Instead of machine drying, add some softener to your washing cycle and hang the sheets to air dry. You can spread your sheets outside, on a laundry line, or over the shower rod if you lack the open space. 

Know your fabrics

Cleaning up silicone lube will work better when you treat your fabrics according to their base material. Using the wrong technique on your sheets won’t be effective in removing the lube and can ruin your beloved bedclothes.

If your lubed sheets or clothes are cotton or cotton-polyester blend, set your washing machine to use hot water. Silicone works similarly to oil, making the hot water your ally in getting rid of it. As a bonus, hot water will also kill any germs on your sheets. 

Silk and satin need to be washed by hand, with the gentlest of care. They cannot stand hot water or aggressive tactics. When in the pretreating stage, try to dab the stains softly without rubbing them. Rinse with cool or warm water and a satin-safe detergent with enzymes.

How to prevent lube stains

Sometimes the best way to clean is to prevent the mess from the start. There are a few simple measures you can take. Applying the lube directly to your genitals will slow its spread. Placing a towel under you might not seem not too passionate, but you can always integrate it into your foreplay and protect your sheets simultaneously.

Lubrication is an essential part of a fulfilling sexual experience. With these simple tricks, you can have fun without the stress of unwanted stains. 

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