There’s no need to beat around the bush; sex toys are the greatest thing to happen to sex since the discovery of the G-Spot. But, as with every great thing in life, your favourite toys need to be looked after. Properly caring for and cleaning your sex toys is essential for your health and safety as well as for prolonging the lifespan of your bedroom favourites.
Whether you’re using a sex toy for a little self-exploration and pleasure, or with a partner, following the proper sex toy cleaning procedures is important. Poor sex toy hygiene can cause infections and can spread STIs and STDs between you and your partner, so it’s important that you clean sex toys properly after each use. Luckily, keeping your sex toys germ-free is relatively easy with the right tools and know-how.
Here’s the right way to properly clean any sex toy:
Know what your toy is made from: Porous and non-porous materials
First things first, you’ll need to take into consideration what type of material your sex toy is made from. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you can just dunk a sex toy into some soapy water and be done with the whole messy business, but unfortunately, it’s a little more involved than that. Most sex toys are made from one of two types of materials: porous materials and nonporous materials. So, what’s the difference?
Toys made from porous materials are often more difficult to clean due to the tiny holes in the material which can harbour bacteria, fungi, and other nasties. Look for terms like rubber, thermoplastic rubber (TPR, sometimes called “skin-safe rubber”), thermoplastic elastomer (TRE, also sometimes referred to as “skin-safe rubber”), jelly rubber, latex, and Sensafirm.
Many experts suggest that non-porous toys are safer in terms of cleaning and keeping them free from bacteria. Look for toys made from materials like medical-grade silicone, Pyrex, glass, as well as medical-grade stainless steel. Toys made from non-porous medical-grade materials are safest to use, especially if you’re sharing sex toys with a partner. Cleaning shared toys is especially important as you don’t want to risk spreading STIs and STDs between you and your partner.
If you’re unsure of the material used to manufacture the toy you have, check the box it came in or search online to find out.
Since they are more difficult to clean, it’s best to save porous sex toys for personal play or use them with condoms when you want to have some fun with a partner. In fact, it’s best to use condoms on sex toys whenever you’re playing with them in the bedroom. Especially if you hate the cleanup involved, and are worried about bacteria sticking around even when engaging in personal play. Using a condom with your sex toy will help reduce the risk of infection and will make clean-up a breeze. Just make sure you use a condom-safe, water-based lube!
How often should you clean your sex toys?
It’s important to clean your sex toys regularly and properly. Clean the toy after each use, making sure to wash and dry it so that it’s as clean as possible. Especially if you’re cleaning shared sex toys.
To be safe, you may also want to consider washing your sex toys before and after every use. Even if you’ve stored your sex toy safely, there is a chance it may have come into contact with dust, lint, or other materials since it last came out to play.
What do you need to clean your sex toys?
Before using your toy, it’s best to find the right cleaning product for the specific toy. The type of material the toy is made from will determine what is used to clean it. When considering the type of soap to use for sex toys – first and foremost – choose a toy cleanser that is mild and unscented. Fragrances can cause a reaction or infection when you use the toy again while harsh soaps can damage your toy and cause it to erode over time.
For most sex toys, a mild hand soap will do the job just fine. If you really want to make sure you protect yourself and keep your sex toy in the best condition, consider using a sex toy cleaning spray. These have been specially formulated to clean sex toys without damaging them. Most sex toy cleaners are relatively inexpensive and make cleaning your toys quick and easy.
How to clean your sex toys
Take extra care when cleansing motorised toys as you don’t want to damage the motor or battery area whilst cleansing. It’s especially important that you don’t submerge a motorised toy in water or a cleaning liquid as this will damage the toy. Wipe down motorised sex toys with a small amount of mild soap and a damp cloth.
For toys that are made from materials like silicone, glass, stainless steel, or wood, it’s best to use a toy cleaner or a mild antibacterial soap. Apply the cleaner to the product and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
For a deeper clean, non-motorised sex toys made from materials like silicon, Pyrex, stainless steel, or stone, can be placed in boiling water for up to 10 minutes or even run through the dishwasher without soap to ‘steam clean’ the toy.
If your toy is made of porous materials like rubber, TPR, TRE, jelly rubber, latex, or Sensafirm, then use a little bit of soap and warm water to clean it. Too much soap can damage the sensitive material – so be gentle! It’s considerably more difficult to ensure a sex toy made from porous materials is completely clean, so consider wrapping your toy in a condom before use, especially if you’re sharing.
If you’re using leather sex toys, you’ll need to pay extra attention to how you clean them. Leather is very porous and will absorb moisture and germs easily, so you’ll need to disinfect and clean leather sex toys after every use. Do not submerge the toy in water, instead use a soft cloth and warm water mixed with mild soap to wipe them clean and then air dry. Before wiping with a cloth and soap, disinfect the leather with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
Once your toys are clean, use a clean towel to dry it off. Make sure you dry the toy completely before storing it. Even slightly damp toys are susceptible to mould and mildew growth and nothing ruins a potentially good time like discovering your favourite sex toy has grown a new family inside its case since the last time you used it.
Store with care
Yes, how you store your sex toys matters. While having pleasure within arm’s reach may be tempting, shoving it into your bedside drawer is not the best way to store a sex toy. Instead, try to create or allocate a dedicated place for them, one which is cool and dry, that will become the new home for your toys once you’ve carefully cleaned them.
When it comes to what to store them in, a case or silk bag will help to protect the toy from any damage, dust, and bacteria while it waits to be included in the party again.
Most toys will come with a bag or box to store the toy in, but if you’ve misplaced it or it didn’t come packaged with a handy storage compartment, you can find plenty of options online. Look for a storage container that is sealable with either a zip, velcro, or clip and that is washable as well.
Remember to have (safe) fun!
The most important thing when it comes to sex toys is your health and well-being (and of course, to have fun), but understanding, cleaning, and storing them correctly will save you a lot of headaches, money, and allow you to enjoy them without any hiccups. Because, you don’t want to be dashing around the house naked looking for a towel in the heat of the moment. Preparation and practice is key, and cleanliness is next to oh-my-god-liness!