How to Clean Sex Toys.

by | Jul 25, 2021 | Sex Education | 0 comments

When we think about our sex toys, it’s usually about charging them or using them. How often do we prioritize properly cleaning them though? We here, at V For Vibes, received countless emails about how to clean sex toys. Just like makeup brushes, sex toys like dildos, vibrators, anal beads, and etc need to be cleaned regularly. Since sex toys and anal toys come into contact with bodily fluids, it is imperative to take care of them and clean them properly. Cleaning a sex toy is a fairly simple process, but neglecting that process is not a good thing at all. 

When you do not clean your sex toys properly, you risk contracting infections in your vaginal and anal areas. You definitely do not want to get those infections – even though they are super treatable, they are also super uncomfortable to deal with! Uncleaned toys have the ability to introduce bacteria to your vulvar-vaginal area and anal area. These bacteria can cause urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and even spread sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections. If you share your sex toys with partners, it puts you at a much higher risk of contracting bacterial infections as well. You want to make sure that you thoroughly clean these toys as much as possible. 

Pretty much every type of sex toy on the market can be easily cleaned with soap and water on the surface and left to air dry. However, sometimes you may need to do more thorough disinfection of your sex toys to ensure that you are taking the best care of them, and preventing any grossness from building up and causing you problems in the long run.

What do I need to properly clean my sex toys? Best tips on how to clean sex toys.

If you are cleaning the surface:

  • Water – any kind (tap, bottled, distilled, does not matter)
  • Liquid Soap: A gentle liquid hand soap is the easiest. You can also use antibacterial soap, but you do not have to. Avoid dish soap or household cleaners.
  • A material to dry the toy with: This can be paper towels or washcloths, or full-sized towels. The most important thing to remember is they need to be clean!
how to clean sex toys

If you are deep cleaning your toys:

  • A stove and a pot: Surface clean your toys first, and then submerge them in the pot of water while it is boiling for a few minutes.
  • A spray bottle for bleach: Bleach is good for killing pathogens, and a spray bottle makes it easy to concentrate on the toys.
  • Optional, but a dishwasher: If you choose to utilize your dishwasher to clean your toys, you need to make sure it has the right type of disinfecting setting. 

Other options to clean:

  • There are specialty sex toy cleaners, such as liquid cleaners, sex toy wipes, and spray toy cleaners. These are not necessary, but can be helpful to keep on hand for surface cleaning in a pinch.

Does it take a long time to clean sex toys?

The cleaning time length is fairly short, but it does depend on which method you choose to use to clean your sex toys. Surface cleaning a sex toy takes just a few minutes! A deep clean can take 5-10 minutes, not counting the time it takes to bring the water to a boil to successfully boil the toy. Bleaching a toy can also take about 10 minutes. The dishwasher has a full cycle, and this varies by make, but with the disinfection setting, it can be an hour or longer. 

How do I know which cleaning method I should use for my sex toys?

Most toys do come with an instruction book on how to clean them. However, there are some obvious yes and no answers when it comes to figuring out how to clean sex toys especially depending on the type of toy and mechanics of the toy.

There are three types of clean from what we have researched. These types are:

  1. Surface cleaning – removing material and germs from the surface of the toy. 
  2. Disinfecting or deep cleaning – this helps sanitize and remove bacteria, pathogens, and etc to create a cleaner and more hygienic toy. This deep clean is great if you have not cleaned your toy in a while.
  3. Sterilization – this is supposed to kill any viruses or bacteria on the toy, especially helpful if you share toys or have recently used your toy while you had a UTI or other bacterial infection down there. 

If you are using a vibrator, a dildo, a ball gag, an anal toy, or any sex item, you should absolutely make sure it is fully cleaned regularly. There is no reason that you shouldn’t be cleaning them! Remember, these things go inside and around your most personal private parts. Why would you want to use something that is dirty? Lubricant, bodily fluids, and dust are all things you do not want to leave on your vibrator or sex toy. Most people simply need to do a surface clean or disinfecting clean, and not sterilization clean. It only takes a few minutes, and can prevent you from being uncomfortable further down the road!

Now, all of this advice has to do with cleaning sex toys made of silicone, metal, glass, or even hard plastic. Unfortunately, when it comes to PVC, gemstone, jelly, or silicone blend toys, these are porous and this type of clean will only do more harm to you. Because they are porous, they hold onto bacteria and fungi. This also means that if you were to bleach it, it could hold on to the bleach and cause severe damage to your insides. This is why we do not recommend porous toys for sexy play time.  They harbor bacteria and cause more problems than pleasure. 

How do I complete a surface cleaning of my sex toy?

You can complete a surface cleaning very simple. Remember that surface cleaning does not sterilize the sex toy or disinfect the sex toy. However, they are usually the right kind of cleaning if you are the only one using the toy, and only take a few minutes to complete.

You want to first check how water-safe your toy is. You can do this by analyzing what kind of sex toy it is. If it is a nonmotorized dildo or a solid silicone dildo, you are good to rinse it in water. If it is a vibrator, check to see if it is labeled as waterproof or shower safe. If so, proceed with rinsing it in the sink.

Waterproof and splashproof are different, so be sure to pay attention. Splashproof means the surface can get wet, while waterproof means the toy can be submerged (within reasonable depth levels). Most manufacturers will state this on the product page, or in the guide included. If you cannot find the water safety, proceed under the idea that it is not waterproof or splashproof, and use a damp washcloth. 

If your toy is not rechargeable, and still uses batteries, be sure to remove the batteries before you begin the cleaning process. 

Start by rinsing the sex toy with water, or wiping it if using a washcloth. Then, you can apply the soap or liquid cleanser to the toy. Scrub it, wipe it down again, and this will remove any surface debris on the sex toy. If it has any ridges, grooves, or texture, use a soft toothbrush to remove this gunk from those areas. This is especially helpful for rabbit-eared toys! Then, rinse the toy until all debris and soap are off of it. 

To dry the toy, you simply lay it on a clean towel or paper towel to air dry. If it is a battery-operated toy, leave the battery holding area open while drying to prevent rust and water buildup. 

how to clean sex toys

How do I disinfect my sex toys?

Since you may share your sex toys with your partner, or you may have recently had a vaginal or anal infection, you may need to do more thorough disinfection of your sex toys. You will also want to do this if you use a toy anally and vaginally, to prevent bacteria transmission, or if you notice an odor or stench on a toy. This can be very helpful to remove odors from silicone toys. The disinfecting technique is very effective at killing pathogens, fungi, and bacteria. However, if you choose to use your dishwasher, it will only be effective to kill bacteria, and not viruses or fungi that may be growing on your toys

Boiling your toy to disinfect it.

If your sex toy is made of silicone (100 percent silicone), stainless steel, or glass, you can surface clean them and then boil them for about three minutes. It is a good idea to put a washcloth in the water to make sure that your toys will not break or crack if they hit the pot. You also want to monitor your toy, and be careful when removing your toy so that you do not drop it (especially glass ones!). The easiest way to remove the toy will be with a pair of tongs, which will allow you to clamp onto it. Definitely do not rinse it with cold water – set it out to air dry, and allow it to cool down on its own.

Dishwashing your toy.

If your toy is glass, non-motorized silicone, or stainless steel, you can put it on the top rack of your dishwasher to disinfect it. This will allow you to clean multiple toys at once! However, you cannot use dishwasher detergent, as this is far too harsh to clean a sex toy. You also only want to do this if the dishwasher is yours exclusively, to prevent spreading any bacteria (or grossing others out). However, your dishwasher must have a “sanitize” cycle, for this to be an effective method to clean your toys, and you still must surface clean the toys beforehand. While the dishwasher is an easier method to clean your sex toys, it is not as effective as boiling your toys. 

Bleaching your sex toys.

The bleaching method can be used on nonporous toys. Most of the time, you are going to want to do this after a surface clean. The standard bleach solution to clean a sex toy is ⅓ cup of bleach per gallon of water. After creating the solution, you will then want to either spray it on your toy, or let your toy sit in a bowl of the solution for at least 10 minutes. Again, if your toy is only splashproof, the spray method works best, as submerging can damage it. After you are done, you will need to wash the toy with soap and water extremely thoroughly, to ensure that all of the bleach has been removed. 

Are UV Sanitizers worth it to clean my sex toy?

Bleaching and/or boiling a sex toy costs you pennies. A UV sanitizer can be quite expensive, and while they can be used and are fairly effective, may not actually be worth the money. For example, UV lights only disinfect the areas it can reach. This means that if you have a toy with ridges, texture, or rabbit ears, the UV sanitizer will not be as effective at cleaning it as boiling it would be. 

What is the best way to store your sex toys?

Cleaning your sex toys is an important step, but storage is just as important to keep them clean. If your toy comes with a pouch or box, make use of that to keep it free of lint and free of dust. If it does not come with its own pouch or box, throw your sex toy into a Ziploc bag or plastic container, to keep it clean and not contaminated with anything. This is also very helpful if you have a pet, to keep their hair and dander off of your sex toys. Silicone toys should be in a cotton pouch, or something else that is breathable, to avoid them developing an odd smell or unpleasant odor. You also do not want to store your toys in a humid place such as a bathroom.

Now that you know how to clean sex toys, go spend a few minutes to do so! After all, clean and safe sexy time is always more beneficial than dirty or polluted playtime.


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