If you have sex toys, and I hope you do, keeping them clean should be your number one priority.
Sex toys are not at all like the lived-in favorite pair of jeans you might wear multiple times between washings.
When it comes to sex toys, we’re talking about objects that go in and around your vagina and booty — you absolutely have to clean them after use.
Yes, every single time.
A quick rinse after doing the deed will NOT suffice and unless you’re down for a raging vaginal infection, you must oblige. Trust us!
As you’ll discover, it’s important to keep your sex toys clean for a number of reasons but it’s also vital that you clean them the right way.
How To Clean Your Sex Toys [Infographic Flow Chart]
For a quick yet comprehensive visual exploration of how to clean sex toys, we created an infographic flow chart that summarizes everything you need to know.
Click on the image to enlarge, and please include attribution to Women’s Health Interactive if you use this graphic.
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Why It’s Important To Clean Your Sex Toys — Properly!
So you finally got that special toy you’ve had your eye on for months.
You take it out of the packaging and you’re so excited you run to your room to give it a whirl — but wait!
Before you do anything, you must CLEAN IT.
Yes, I know it’s brand new. And it’s never been used before, hopefully.
There could be remnants of the packaging material or even residue from the manufacturing process left behind on the surface of the toy, and I guarantee your vagina is not gonna want to make friends with any of that.
But it doesn’t stop there. You also have to clean your sex toys after using them. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
And if you don’t — you a nasty girl!
Look, you have to be super diligent if you want to keep bacteria and viruses away from your most special spot — even if you’re the only person using your toys.
Let’s talk about why this is so important.
Can You Get An Infection From Sex Toys?
YES! You can absolutely get an infection from using sex toys.
Because sex toys go into, out of, and against genital surfaces, they collect bacteria and viruses that not only lead to infection but can also lead to STI’s and STDs.
Especially if you’re using sex toys with a partner or partners.
That said, it’s important to understand that different viruses have a longer or shorter lifespan outside of the body.
Hepatitis B and C are bloodborne diseases that can live for days outside of the human body. Hep B can live on the surface of a sex toy for up to a week, while Hep C can live for as long as 4 days.
HIV, on the other hand, is another bloodborne virus but one that doesn’t survive well outside the human body; the risk of transmission via a sex toy’s surface is significantly reduced after several hours.
Similarly, you can contract bacterial vaginosis (BV) or candida (yeast) when sharing sex toys with someone else without cleaning them between partners.
How Important Is Sex Toy Cleaner?
There are so many good sex toy cleaners on the market that you should definitely be able to find one you like.
But before you select one, you must find the right product for your specific toy because sex toys are made from a variety of materials, and what you use to clean an anal sex toy made from metal might not work for a silicone pocket pussy.
Likewise, you don’t want to go about cleaning your sex toys the wrong way. You cannot just give your sex toys a quick rinse, splash some bleach on there, or pour hand sanitizer all over them and hope for the best.
C’mon now, everybody!
Using the right product to clean your adult toys will keep you safe and maintain the integrity of your most precious sex toys.
If you’re a fan of science, the video below compares bacterial growth on sex toys after washing them with various things including dish soap, mild soap, sex toy cleaner, and even a UV machine. Check it out:
What Can I Use Instead Of Sex Toy Cleaner?
Picture this: You’re on a spontaneous romantic weekend and you brought some fun toys to play with…BUT you forgot your sex toy cleaner at home.
You know nothing would ruin your weekend more than a bad case of bacterial vaginosis.
So, what’s a girl to do?
First, if your toy is motorized, remove any batteries or unplug it. (And if you brought a toy that has to be plugged in, you’re hardcore — so much respect.)
Next, take a clean cloth and dampen it with warm water and mild soap.
Give your toy a good, thorough cleaning, wipe it down with a rinsed and damp cloth to remove any soap residue, then let it air dry.
When you’re done, store your toy in a cool, dry place — preferably in its own carrying bag or case if you have it on hand.
That said, while a mild soap — the same type you’d use on your hands or body — is a safe cleaner for sex toys, there are several things you should NOT use to wash them:
- Undiluted bleach
- Household cleaners
- Hand sanitizer
How To Clean Your Sex Toys
Ready to start cleaning right now? Jump straight to our recipe cards for step-by-step instructions for cleaning your sex toys:
When selecting what to use to clean your sex toy, the decision will come down to the toy’s material and its design — particularly if it’s motorized or waterproof.
The material of your sex toy matters here. If you use the wrong cleaner on a certain surface, you could ruin your sex toy entirely and that would be a big bummer…these things can be really expensive.
Before you do anything, take note of what your toy is made of.
Is your sex toy porous? Porous materials, which should be avoided, include:
- Jelly rubber
It’s important to note that porous toys can never be thoroughly cleaned or disinfected.
Is your sex toy non-porous? Nonporous materials include:
- ABS Plastic
- Stainless steel
Nonporous materials are by far the safest for sex toys, as they can be cleaned thoroughly and sanitized and they won’t harbor bacteria as easily as those with porous surfaces.
The answer to the above questions can make or break the cleanliness of your sex toy, not to mention the wrong product or cleaning method could kill your sex toy — period!
The next thing to consider is the design of your sex toy.
If it’s motorized, you generally won’t want to submerge it in water unless it’s 100% waterproof.
If your sex toy isn’t waterproof, avoid dunking it in water or rinsing it under a running faucet.
For toys that are not waterproof, you’ll need to use a wrung-out, damp cloth to remove any soap or sex toy cleaner residue, instead.
Mild soap — the gentle kind you’d use to wash your hands or body — is a safe option for cleaning sex toys.
Many sex toy cleaners are designed to be safe for use on all non-porous toys while being gentle on the skin but always read the label first to be sure — particularly if a cleaner uses an ingredient you may be allergic to.
You can also take a look at our full review of the best sex toy cleaners available — we provide a list of products that are safe across a variety of toy materials.
Now that we’ve got the basics for sex toy cleaning down pat, it’s time to cover the step-by-step instructions for cleaning your sex toys.
We at Women’s Health Interactive care about you, as do I, your humble curator of all things relating to sex toy cleanliness.
We especially care about your sexual health — so we’re bringing down the hammer. Cleaning your sex toys is mandatory!
We don’t want you walking around with a yeast infection or catching an STI or STD.
We want you out there living your best life with your favorite sex toy by your side — thriving!