Sex is a wonderful thing. It relieves stress, boosts self-esteem and provides a decent amount of exercise. Yet, sex, whether with a partner or yourself, can become repetitive, and sex toys are a great way to spice things up.
However, sex toys need to be used and cleaned properly in order to ensure your downstairs stays healthy. Sex toys can pick up the natural bacteria and fungi present in your reproductive systems. These generally don’t pose a threat to you, but transfer between different people or use of a toy in other areas of the body may cause infection.
In addition, if you or your partner happen to have an STD or some sort of infection, like a yeast infection or a UTI, those germs can live in the porous materials used in the production of many sex toys and can later be transferred or can be reintroduced to your healed body if you’re indulging alone.
Because of this, cleaning your sex toys is as important as practicing safe sex. We know that thinking about cleaning is the last thing you want to do after an epic orgasm, but it will keep you healthier down there in the long run.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- The difference between porous and non-porous materials
- How often sex toys should be cleaned
- The best way to clean sex toys by material
Keep reading to learn more about how to safely clean your sex toys.
Porous vs. Non-Porous
The first step in cleaning your sex toys is determining whether they are made from a porous material or a non-porous material. The latter have microscopic holes that allow for microorganisms, like fungi, bacteria and other dirt, to live in your toys even after they’ve been wiped down, meaning you’ll need to give toys made from porous materials a more thorough cleaning.
A few examples of porous materials include elastomer (rubber), latex and Cyberskin. Non-porous materials from which sex toys are frequently made include borosilicate glass (like Pyrex), silicone, ABS plastic and metals.
How Often Should Sex Toys Be Cleaned
No matter the material your sex toys are made from, you should wash it and dry it after each and every use. This will prevent any germs from lingering on the surface and will extend the life of your toys.
In addition, you may consider cleaning your toy before each use as well. Depending on your storage situation, your toys may pick up dust and dirt from sitting around your bedroom, necessitating a brief cleaning before use.
Now that you know why you should clean your sex toys, let’s run through how to clean sex toys depending on the material from which they’re made.
1. For Motorized Silicone, Borosilicate Glass and Stainless Steel
Sex toys made from silicone, borosilicate glass or stainless steel are the most common non-porous sex toys. These toys can be cleaned using a gentle antibacterial soap that you wouldn’t be afraid to use on your skin. This Dettol Antibacterial pH-Balanced Body Wash is a good choice. Gently rub the soap onto the toy, and then wipe it clean using a damp cloth. Be careful not to get the motor wet as water can damage the sensitive electronics.
2. For Non-Motorized Silicone, Borosilicate Glass and Stainless Steel
Any toy that is completely encased in silicone, borosilicate glass (or Pyrex) or stainless steel and doesn’t have a motor is best cleaned in high temperatures. One of the most popular ways to clean such sex toys is to run them through the dishwasher without soap. Alternatively, you can boil them for eight to 10 minutes in a saucepan, like the one linked below. Just be careful not to clean toys with metal plating in such a way as the metal can come off or become damaged by steam.
3. For Elastomer, Latex and Soda-Lime Glass
Elastomer and latex are both porous materials. Soda-lime glass isn’t, but all three can be damaged by exposure to high heat. For that reason, it’s best to clean these toys using only lukewarm water. If the toy is motorized, soak a washcloth in warm, soapy water and ring it out before wiping down your toy. If the toy is not motorized, rinse the toy off under running warm water before cleaning it down with a soap-filled washcloth.
4. For Cyberskin and Vinyl
Cyberskin is a soft and porous material often used in dildos. The material allows for life-like play, but it’s hard to keep clean as many soaps can damage it. Both Cyberskin and vinyl toys should be regularly wiped down with a clean cloth soaked in warm water. Then, let the toys air dry before sprinkling them with a little cornstarch. Without the last step, Cyberskin tends to get sticky, making for unpleasant play the next time you try to use that particular toy.
5. For Leather
Much like leather shoes or your leather couch, leather sex toys require special finesse when being cleaned. You never want to soak leather toys in water as it will completely damage the material. Instead, wipe them down with a damp and slightly soapy cloth or use a leather cleaner, like this one from Chemical Guys. Leather cleaners will take care of any lingering germs and will likely condition your toys at the same time, keeping them in tip-top shape for as long as possible.
6. For Hard Plastic, TPR and Jelly Rubber
These are some of the most porous materials from which sex toys are made. Because of this, hard plastic, TPR and jelly rubber toys can still contain germs even after they are cleaned with antibacterial soap and water. So, the best practice is to cover these toys in a condom during use, especially if you and your partner will both be using the toys. Condoms can also be used with most other sex toys, too, if you want to be extra safe about bacteria spread.
7. Alternatively, Use a Built-For-Purpose Cleaner
If you’re feeling lazy or prefer not to head straight to the bathroom after playtime, consider investing in a built-for-purpose sex toy cleaner. While such cleaners don’t offer as thorough a clean as some of the other methods mentioned in this article, they will usually dispense of any harmful germs. The Babeland Toy Cleaner is a particularly popular choice. Simply spray the cleaner on your toy and then wipe it off after a few seconds.
8. Store Your Toys Properly
After you’ve taken the time to properly clean your sex toys, you don’t want to throw them in your dirty bedroom drawer without protection. Most sex toys come with their own bag or case which you can keep for storing them in between uses. Alternatively, purchase a lockable case online, like the Bomber Case. Such cases are usually slim enough to fit in your bedside table’s drawers yet still offer the protection of a clean environment and a combination lock.
9. Go the Extra Mile
If you don’t have the original case to store your toys in, why not upgrade your storage options? The Uvee Pro UV Light Sanitizer Box not only keeps dust and dirt away from your toys while they are in your bedroom drawers, but it also sanitizes them using a UV light at the same time. Built for your smartphone, this box can only hold smaller toys, but larger boxes are available if needed. Plus, when you aren’t using the Uvee Pro for cleaning your sex toys, it can be used to clean your earbuds, smartphone and watches.