Depending on where you purchased your sex toy, it may or may not include cleaning instructions. If you’re new to sex toys, you might not know the best way to clean or store your toys, but don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.
For body safe, non-porous sex toys made of silicone, glass, ABS plastic, or metal, cleaning is typically very easy. If the toy doesn’t have a motor, it can be hand-washed in warm water with some antibacterial soap. I personally recommend Dial’s foaming antibacterial soap, because the foam is great for getting into all the tight spots within the texture of a toy. You’ll also want to look out for soaps that are free of dyes and perfumes if you have sensitivities to those things.
If your toy is porous (meaning it is made of something like jelly, PCV, TPE, or TPR), then keeping your toys clean is going to be more challenging. These toys are porous, meaning that bacteria and mildew can grow in the pores of the toy over time. This can cause health problems such as infections, so it’s best to view these toys as temporary. You’re not going hang onto a jelly dildo for as long as you would a pure silicone one. My advice on porous toys overall? Ditch them entirely and invest in a low-cost silicone option.
If you own a Fleshlight, you’re advised by the company to rinse in water only and avoid soaps altogether.
If you have a wand vibrator, it’s best to avoid direct contact with water (unless it is a waterproof rechargeable model). Getting water in through the head of the wand can kill the motor. For things like the Magic Wand or Doxy wand, I suggest wiping down the head of the wand with baby wipes or a damp cloth. These toys are usually easy to just wipe off if you’re using them solo. If you are sharing a wand with someone, try using a non-lubricated condom over the head between turns.
Butt plugs and other anal toys may require a bit more deep cleaning, especially if you’re swapping from anal to vaginal use. If you’re sharing internal toys, I also recommend a deep clean for sanitizing in between uses.
Deep cleaning non-porous toys without a motor is easy. You basically have one of three options.
- Boil toys without a motor in a pot of water for 5 minutes. Remember that silicone, glass, and steel hold onto heat very well, so allow them to fully cool before touching them.
- Make a 10% bleach solution and soak your non-porous toys for ten minutes. I recommend hand-washing these toys both before the soak, to make sure anything needs scrubbing is scrubbed off, and after the soak so you’re not putting bleach directly in/on your body after the sanitizing.
- Put toys without a motor on the top rack of your dishwasher and run it on a “sanitize” cycle without any dishes or soap.
That’s all there is to it for a deep clean on non-porous toys. Unfortunately, porous toys cannot be properly sanitized and for that reason I recommend not using them if you plan on sharing toys at all. You can use a condom on TPR or TPE toys to avoid the spread of STIs, but keep in mind that even a condom will not protect you from the toxic oils that leech out of jelly sex toys.
“But wait…don’t I need to buy special toy cleaners?”
Nope! While lots of sex shops do offer sex toy cleaners, they’re not usually necessary if you’re using toys made of a safe material. Soap and water will cover most of your bases for everyday cleaning, but you can keep some toy cleaner on hand if you plan on sharing non-porous toys at a party and don’t have easy access to soap and water.
Storage & Maintenance
There are a few other maintenance tips that can help prolong the life of your sex toys, including using the correct type of lubricant for the sex toy material and making sure your toys are stored properly.
When it comes to lubrication, I always recommend a good water-based lube above all else. Water-based lube is safe for every type of activity and sex toy material, it is a great staple to have around for sexual activity or using sex toys. Just be sure to check your lube’s ingredients.
The following ingredients should be avoided if you have sensitivity issues with lube:
- Chlorhexidine Gluconate
- Propylene Glycol
If your toy is made of silicone, be sure you’re not using silicone lube on it, as that can cause silicone toys to swell and lose structural integrity over time. This includes the silicone lubricant often used in condoms. For that reason, I recommend using non-lubricated condoms with toys and then adding water-based lube.
Read my lube guide for more information when choosing the right lube for your needs.
Batteries and Rechargeable Toys
If your sex toy runs on batteries, be sure to remove those for storage. Letting the batteries sit in the toy can lead to corrosion over long periods of time and it’s generally best to remove them to prolong the life of the batteries.
If your toy is rechargeable with an internal battery, you should charge it when it’s completely dead or near dead. After the toy is fully charged, unplug it. Keeping rechargeable toys on their chargers can mess with the long-term battery life of your toys.
If your toy is non-porous, storing it is very simple. Toys like glass, silicone, or steel can all touch each other without an issue (it’s a myth that silicone toys can’t touch other silicone toys). What you do want to look out for, however, are porous toys touching other toys. Jelly, especially, can’t touch other toys in storage. They can melt and fuse together, as well as leak toxic oils onto other toys. Like I said, it’s best to ditch these altogether. If you must store them, do so in plastic bags, out of heat and sunlight.
Some toys come with a pouch or small bag or box to keep the toy in but lots don’t. Keeping your toys in your bedside drawer or a plastic bin is all you need to do to store them. If you’d like to keep them super clean and away from dirt, dust, or pet hair, you can also store non-porous toys in plastic bags, but usually a rinse of water to get any stray hairs or dust off is all you need to get them ready to use again regardless.
Do you have any questions about how to keep your sex toys clean or how to store them that weren’t answered above? Drop me a comment and I’ll let you know the best way to approach the care and keeping of your sex toys!
This guide was sponsored.
As always, all writing and opinions are my own.