This is a question I get asked a lot and so I decided to put together a video tutorial as well as product kit for you guys.
You can find the cleaning kit here- Cleaning Kit
The video covers a basic flogger cleaning, flogger storage, and when and how often you should clean your floggers.
Some other points I wanted to bring up are;
Why clean my floggers?
The obvious- It’s kind of gross not to. Floggers absorb oil from the skin of people they touch. Would you want someone to rub a cloth down your back that had touched a bunch of unknown people? No? Same deal with a flogger.
It keeps your flogger throwing correctly. When tails absorb oil over time they get heavier, especially the tails on the outside of the bundle that hit first. When some tails are heavier than others you have “stragglers” or tails that always fly away from the main bulk.
Handles can become slippery over time when not cleaned. Ever had a flogger get caught in a ceiling fan?
It keeps the leather in good condition. What you do when you clean leather is use the water and soap to get rid of dirt, etc and then use the conditioners to restore the oils and preservatives leather needs to stay nice and supple.
Why did I choose the products I did?
They’re not overly expensive. They work well and are beginner friendly. They are easy to find on the interwebs if you want more. They have a low wax content as well as a low carcinogen content. They work well on most leathers used in floggers including game leathers.
There are other amazing products out there. Hubert’s is great, so is Elephant Wax. But I wouldn’t use either of those on elk, moose or bison. They’re rather oily feeling and tend to kill the lovely velvety touch the game leathers have. They work miracles on abused cowhide but I needed to put something together that would work for a wide range of toys and be a go to for as much of the toybag as possible.
Why can’t I just use the leather cleaner I use on my upholstery?
Those products are usually less about cleaning and conditioning than they are forming a protective coating over the leather. This is isn’t necessary for floggers and can change the feel and throw of the tails with unnecessary added weight. They are also not made to treat the flesh side of leather and will usually mat it down.
Do I need to clean my floggers when they first arrive?
No. When you order floggers from me they are in the most pristine state they will ever be ( aside from fluffies still present from the cutting process). The leather is fresh from the tannery and has already been conditioned and then I condition it again during the making process. I would assume it is the same for other makers as well.
You said not to use this kit with suede or nubuck! So what do I do with my suede or nubuck flogger?
Find a suede cleaning kit online or at your local leather store. It should have the following; A cleaning solution, a brush and something that looks like a rubber eraser. Cleaning suede involves a lot more brushing and scrubbing than a normal tail. Suede floggers are usually less expensive at first, but here is where you pay the difference.
STI and Flogger Cleaning
This is a touchy subject mainly because there are so many different opinions on it. Here are my two cents. There are two levels of “clean” when it comes to microbes. Sterile, an item that is completely cleaned and preserved in an environment in which all foreign bodies have been eliminated, and Sanitary; an item which all reasonable procedures and precautions have taken place to eliminate dangerous microbes from the item but the risk still exists due to the environment.
Floggers cannot be Sterile and nor can they be Sanitary as defined above. Leather is porous so it isn’t really possible to guarantee that a cleaner has gotten into all the microscopic crevices where a baddie microbe could be hiding. Therefore it is also nearly impossible to guarantee it is Sanitary even if cleaned with a product that is guaranteed to kill every STI under the sun. It’s just not possible to make that call without thoroughly soaking the leather which will most likely destroy or harm your leather, especially more sensitive hides like game hides (deer, elk, moose, etc).
So what to do? Well, let’s say you were living with a person who has Hep C or HIV. The CDC website states that is is highly unlikely you can contract these diseases through household items like towels, clothing, dishes, etc. Only things that have been exposed to blood will carry the disease.
Hep C can live outside the body at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, and HIV can live up to a week.
If you play with someone whose STI status you do not know and blood gets on your floggers the safest precaution would be to quarantine them for three weeks, then give them a thorough cleaning, and continue on with your life.
Keep in mind, even if you were to flog someone with Hep C or HIV and get blood on your flogger, you would then have to flog someone in such a way that the tails had contact with their blood stream as well in order to transmit.
What I’m trying to say is it’s really unlikely you will give someone a disease with a flogger. But you should clean your stuff anyway because not doing it is gross.