How To Clean Sex Toys & Store Them Safely
Simplify Your Sex Toy Care
Sex toys are a great way to spice up your sex life – whether you’re masturbating or enjoying sex with a partner! But, like anything you own, you have to clean and store your sex toys properly.
Keeping your sex toys cleaned and stored properly can extend the life of your gadgets. But more importantly, it can save you from some VERY unwanted health concerns. Trust me – one UTI and you will be making sure any toy you’re using is totally clean!
Don’t risk your health and money. Let’s learn how to clean sex toys. This infographic will help you quickly identify the best cleaning method for YOUR toy. Keep reading to get into the details!
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What Happens When You Don't Keep Your Toys Clean
If you want your toys to last a long time and be safe for use, they have to stay clean. It’s best to clean your toys before and after each use. Fortunately more manufacturers are making even their vibrating toys waterproof (like these wand vibrators) so cleaning is becoming easier! That’s especially great for internally worn vibrators like the Lovense Lush 3 or Lovense Edge 2. You want anything you put inside you to be easy to clean!
Let’s look at some issues you may face if you don’t keep your toys clean. Some of these issues can affect your health. Others can cause damage to your gadgets.
Your body contains a variety of bacteria that live harmlessly in a natural ecosystem.
But when that bacteria leaves your body, it can become harmful. Every time you use your sex toy, it gets coated with this bacteria. If you don’t wash it, the bacteria can grow, causing you to end up with an infection if you go to use your toy again.
Toys Can Rot
Some toys are made from materials that can degrade over time, especially when you don’t keep them appropriately cleaned. As your gadget builds up with bacteria, the material can degrade. If your toy is made of non body-safe materials, this can leach dangerous chemicals into your body.
Increases Chances of a Yeast Infection
Yeast infections are no fun. They’re caused by foreign bacteria that enter your body through your sexual orifices. Yeast infections are more common when toys are used for both anal and vaginal play.
Keeping your toys clean reduces the chances of getting a yeast infection. If you’re going to be using your sex toys both vaginally and anally, it’s better to use separate toys.
Bacterial vaginosis, also called BV, is a bacterial infection caused by an imbalance in the healthy vaginal bacteria.
When your body’s pH levels get out of whack, you become more at risk of infection. Not keeping your toys clean can lead to this infection. Other things that put you at higher risk include douching, using vaginal deodorants, having new or multiple sexual partners, and having sex without a condom.
If you do plan on sharing toys with your partner, it should only be done with body-safe toys after you’ve cleaned them properly. Sharing the same sex toys can lead you to contract STIs, even if you don’t have sex with the person. It can also cause you to re-develop an STI that you’ve already treated.
Choose Body-Safe Toys
When it comes to your sex toys, you should be very picky about the material you choose. Some toys are made from materials that can pose risks to your health. It’s best to select toys that are body-safe.
What are Body-safe Toys?
Sex toys fall into two categories: porous and non-porous.
Porous Sex Toys
With porous materials, there are tiny holes in the material. Microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and yeast can get beneath your toy’s surface and get trapped. Once there, it can be impossible to get rid of all the bacteria, no matter how you clean it. We recommend using non-porous, body-safe toys. But if you are using non-toxic porous toys internally – always use a condom on the toy to protect you from the bacteria. Even if you’re the only one using it.
Some porous sex toys you might see offered include:
Other porous toys can even be toxic, containing harmful chemicals like phthalates. These can cause serious health problems after frequent use. Trust me, there’s no good reason to risk your health with these materials. Go for a body-safe toy.
Types of porous sex toys that can also have dangerous chemicals:
- Latex – This is not the same latex grade that is used for condoms.
Non-Porous Sex Toys
We always recommend non-porous toys for internal use. These are “body-safe” as there are no pores for bacteria to hide and grow. You can be confident that once you’ve cleaned it properly, the bacteria is gone. They are easy to clean and are completely safe for internal use when cleaned. And trust me, sticking to body-safe materials does not limit your options. You can get all sorts of interesting and fantastical sex toys in body-safe materials.
Types of non-porous material include:
- ABS plastic
- Stainless steel
- Soda Lime
Cleaning Your Sex Toys
Cleaning your toy means washing off any residue on the surface to keep bacteria from growing. A 10% bleach 90% water solution is used by some to clean their toys. This solution is optional, but not really necessary. The methods mentioned below will keep things clean and clear for you!
Cleaning your toy should be done after every use, but that’s not all! Be sure to get in there and scrub before the first time you use your toy. There could be many contaminants on the surface from its time in shipping and sitting on the store shelf. It’s also wise to clean your toys before you use it in case dust, lint, or anything else has gotten on your toy while it’s been stored.
Also, while the best vibrating panties do NOT come built into a particular pair of underwear – if you have a toy like this be sure to remove the vibrator and clean it separately from the panties.
Now there’s one more feature to consider before you clean your toy.
How Waterproof is Your Sex Toy
Before you decide on your cleaning method, it’s best to know how your toy does in water. It’s especially crucial to be aware of this for toys with a motor or electronic parts – anything that vibrates, pulsates, or thrusts.
Toys are usually waterproof, splashproof, or have no rating. And if you have a remote control vibrator, pay close attention because the vibrator and remote often have different waterproof ratings.
Waterproof Sex Toys
Many sex toys are rated IPX 7-8, meaning they are entirely waterproof. If you decide to have some fun during a long, hot bath, a waterproof toy can be submerged underwater for a long time without damage. This also makes cleaning these toys super easy!
All of the prostate massagers we review on our site are completely waterproof so that you can clean them very well.
Splashproof Sex Toys
Splashproof toys mean that you can use soap and water to clean the surface of your toys. However, they should not be submerged underwater for an extended period. Keep running water away from openings to any of the electronic parts. These toys are rated at least IPX 4-6. Even many insertable toys like egg vibrators are only splashproof so keep an eye out for this.
No Rating or Just A Mystery
Your sex toy might not show any type of rating for its water-resistance. It’s best to use caution when cleaning toys with no rating, so you don’t risk it getting damaged.
Instead of rinsing the toy off under a faucet, you should wipe them down with a damp cloth and soap.
Let’s look at how to clean sex toys based on the material.
Cleaning Non-Porous Sex Toys
There are different methods for cleaning non-porous toys, depending on your toys material and whether it has mechanical parts.
Does Your Toy Vibrate, Pulsate, or Thrust?
If your toy has electronic parts then you need to check its waterproof rating.
To clean waterproof toys, you can completely submerge them and scrub them with soap and water. Just be sure the surface is still tightly sealed and hasn’t been damaged.
If your toy is splashproof, you can still clean it with soap and water. You can rinse it under the faucet keeping the water away from any electronic parts and openings to those parts. Wipe off areas near openings and electronic parts with a damp, soapy rag.
If your toy doesn’t have a rating listed for water-resistance or you’re unsure of it, it’s best practice to avoid getting it very wet at all. Instead, clean your toy off with mild soap and rinse with a damp rag. Be sure you do multiple rinses of the washcloth, so you get all the soap residue off – it can mess with a vagina’s pH.
Your Toy Doesn’t Need Fancy Electronic Parts to Get The Job Done?
If your toy doesn’t have electronic parts, then congrats – it’s waterproof! You can wash it as described above, or you have some other options depending on its material.
These materials are also safe to boil for a few minutes! An excellent method to kill every last germ.
Use the good ol’ submerge and scrub with soap and water method. ABS plastic can’t be boiled.
Glass toys are also pretty easy to clean – just make sure not to drop it!
If your toy is made of Borosilicate glass, you can also boil it. You may want to line the pot with a cloth to protect the glass toy from cracking on the metal.
For soda-lime glass or any other type, it’s best to only clean with soap and water. Submerging is fine, but don’t boil. Not all glass is temperature resistant. If you’re unsure what type of glass you have, it’s best not to boil it.
Cleaning Porous Toys
Porous materials include TPR, TPE, jelly, rubber, latex, elastomer, PVC, Fleshlight, Neoskin and Cyberskin. Porous toys are harder to clean. So much harder that it’s impossible to know if you’ve fully gotten rid of the bacteria.
To clean porous toys, the best you can do is use soap and water. Be sure you get in every crease and groove. After cleaning, dry your toy entirely with a clean towel.
May Contain Phthalates - Jelly, Rubber, PVC, Latex
If your toy is made of these materials it may contain phthalates. Using them welcomes dangerous chemicals into your body. We advise against using these at all costs – upgrade to a non-porous body-safe material!
Phthalate-Free Porous Toys - TPR, TPE, Elastomer, CyberSkin, NeoSkin, Fleshlight
Toys made of TPR, Elastomer, and TPE can be harmful because of the way they hold on to bacteria. They are unlikely to contain toxic phthalates though!
The best you can do is wash these toys with warm soap and water. This will never kill 100% of the bacteria. Spraying it with a sex toy cleaner or bleach ALSO won’t kill all the bacteria hiding in the pores. If your toy is porous and will be inserted, we recommend using it with a condom to protect yourself from bacteria.
Realistic Materials like Cyberskin, Neoskin and Fleshlight Products are also made of porous materials, but unlikely to have phthalates.
These products usually have specific guidelines on soap usage and whether soap will damage the material. You’ll have to check what the manufacturer recommends. Some will say you can use minimal soap but don’t let it get too sudsy. If the manufacturer allows soap, wash and scrub with soap and water.
Others like Fleshlight don’t recommend soap at all. Use warm water and get in every groove to wash these toys.
For realistic materials finish your clean with a sprinkle of cornstarch to help cut back on tackiness and keep it that realistic texture. A condom is recommended if the toy is insertable.
Safely Storing Sex Toys
Storing your toys properly extends the toy’s life and prevents damage.
Some porous materials can cause problems with each other or silicone toys. Store porous toys individually in the packaging they came in, a silk pouch, or ziplock bags!
Dry your toys in the open air before storing them. Putting them up wet can encourage mold and bacteria growth.
Another great thing about non-porous body-safe toys: you can store them all together! They won’t damage each other stored in-contact with each other so storing them can be as simple as keeping them in a dedicated drawer together. Just remember to quick wash them before using them in case dust or lint has gotten on them while stored.
Very soft silicones can cause your other toys to get a bit tacky (just before they’re washed again). If you want to avoid this, store soft silicone toys separately. Again their packaging, a silk pouch, or ziplock bag will work just fine.
Keeping your sex toys properly cleaned and stored correctly keeps your playtime healthy and fun. No one wants to use a sex toy that has a foul smell or any sort of residue. Take a look at our infographic to quickly find the best cleaning method for your toy.