Friday, July 10, 2015

Trade Secrets - Costumes and Supplies

Post reproduced from Trade Secrets: Health and Safety in the Sex Industry which was published in BC, Canada in 2009. All advice given in these posts comes from sex industry workers who shared their experience and knowledge for this guide.

The Naked Truth will feature one section from the guide each week. This week's post is from Chapter One: Our Workspaces.

Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information. I will also update each section on the Trade Secrets blog as I go.


To keep your costumes in good condition, clean them within a week of wearing them. Hang them, fold them, or roll them gently. Keep them separated in resealable bags, or on hangers. If you wear panty hose, keep extras with you in case you get runs in them.

It may be okay to clean some costumes in a washing machine on gentle cycle or in a mesh lingerie bag, but if you’re not sure, don’t take the chance. To avoid damage to your costumes, hand wash them, roll them up in dry towels to absorb excess moisture, then hang or lay flat to dry. Use light soaps, not strong detergents, to ensure durability.

Be aware that stains are often impossible to remove from PVC. So wash colours separately. And hang everything to dry. It will lengthen the life of your costumes.

An alternative would be to purchase a mini, portable washing machine. It works great for hand-washables and only costs about fifty bucks. It is also environmentally friendly, as it does not use electricity.

Some advice for getting the most out of your shoes:

  • Use black electrical tape to hold black boots together in a pinch.
  • Use black permanent marker to mask scuff marks on black shoes.
  • Get a grip put on the bottom of your shoes at a shoe repair place if they are too slippery. This is inexpensive.


Many agencies, bathhouses, and other sex industry businesses provide supplies such as condoms, towels, and sex toys for workers.

If you work independently or your agency does not provide supplies, this responsibility will fall to you. Supplies can get expensive, but some are available for free, if you’re willing to look around.

Look for a sex worker organization in your area. This is a good place to get free condoms, dental dams, and lubes. Needle exchanges provide free condoms and lubes, as well as needles (for safe drug use and/or needle play). Some organizations also provide alcohol swabs and latex gloves.

Professional escort services may provide fresh covers for the bed, washcloths, and towels. Some will even include several kinds of liquid soaps, shampoos, and face wash in the shower; in addition to baby wipes, hand soap, mouthwash and Dixie cups.

Sex Toys

Other supplies include work toys, such as vibrators, dildos, or strap-ons. Make sure you use condoms on your sex toys to prevent STI transmission and for general comfort. (Some cleaners may irritate skin.) Tie the loose end, if you can, to provide a complete barrier. Then change condoms every time you change partners or the area of the body you are penetrating with the toy. Use plenty of lubrication to prevent the condom from breaking.


The best kinds of sex toys are ones that are 100% silicone. They are a little more expensive, but they last longer, they’re hypoallergenic, and they’re easy to clean. Many other toys are made out of soft, porous materials that are impossible to sterilize completely and put you at risk of infection even if you don’t share your tools. You can tell if a toy is silicone by its smell – it doesn’t have one. The smelly toys are the ones to avoid.

Cleaning Your Supplies

There are various ways to clean your supplies depending on what they are. It is always recommended to let your toys dry (preferably overnight) before using them again.

Boiling Water

Supplies made out of silicone, medical-grade stainless steel, glass, and polished stone can be boiled or put in a dishwasher.


You can also clean supplies in a bleach and water solution (one part bleach, ten parts water) which will kill almost all viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The solution loses its effectiveness after 24 hours, so make a new solution daily.

Use this solution to clean up body fluids on a dungeon floor, bathtub or other surfaces. After using bleach, rinse with soap and water to avoid burning your skin.

Precept Tablets

For most supplies, you can put 2 precept tablets in 3 litres of hot water. Soak your tools in it for an hour before rinsing well with water.

Cleaning Metals

Use a pressure cooker for supplies made of metal. Get the water boiling for 15 minutes and add a few drops of bleach. Another method is to use rubbing alcohol and water for stainless steel and brass.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Leather
Leather items, such as whips, riding crops, and handcuffs can be cleaned with water and soap, using a bristle brush. Smooth on hydrogen peroxide, then let dry. Be sure to use a leather conditioner once the item is dry to prevent cracks and lengthen the life of your leather products.

Hydrogen Peroxide is also good for cleaning pleather and PVC.


Store your tools in clean, resealable plastic bags.

About Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.

About the Project

Who Contributed?

Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts and information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.

In Solidarity,

Trina Ricketts (Annie)

No comments:

Post a Comment