Cleaning your sex toys doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be part of your pleasure routine. Cleaning methods vary depending on the material your sex toy is made of, so we’ve compiled a handy guide with all the sex toy cleaning tips you need. Goodbye germs and unwanted crud; hello sparkling clean magic sex pleasure gadgets!
Good, Clean Fun
First things first: cleaning means something very different than sterilizing, and you’re going to want to do both at some point or another.
Cleaning is routine maintenance to make sure your toy is up to snuff, at least on the surfaces being used, the next time you use it. Sterilizing is a complete germ ass-kicking that renders your toys germ-free and clean enough to eat off of – if that’s what you’re into.
Is Your Toy Porous?
When getting to know your toy, this is one of the first questions you’ll want to ask it.
If you have a porous toy (for instance, one made out of TPR or elastomer) the best you’ll be able to do is sanitize it (read: surface clean).
Fun fact: the only porous toys that Vibrant carries are the Tenga eggs because porous toys are so much more likely to carry bacteria. So why do we carry the Tenga eggs, when our sole purpose is to be a body-safe sex toy company for every body? Because they’re disposable. So, if you or your partner has a penis and wants to enjoy some extra smoke during that one-time stroke, give them a try! And then you don’t even have to worry about the maintenance of the thing.
Back to the brass tacks. For non-porous toys, you’ll be able to both sanitize and sterilize, which are very different things. Basically, cleaning means removing surface dirt, sanitizing goes a bit deeper to remove some microorganisms, and sterilizing means removing all microorganisms from your toy.
To clean or sanitize your toys, you can wash them with hot water and soap. To truly sterilize your toys, you’re going to need to boil it, throw it in the dishwasher (by itself! on the sterilizing cycle!), soak it in a 10% bleach solution (a couple of capfuls in a sink full of water), or wipe thoroughly with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
Basically, you need an agent that will kill all of the microbes: heat, bleach, or alcohol.
But, not all toys work well with all these options. To determine which process to use, you’ll need to know what your toy is made of and consider if it has a motor or not. So, go check out the box, and then let’s get started.
Have a silicone sex toy? It’s one of the most common body-safe materials that sex toys are made of because it can be silky-soft and feel something like skin. Check out this pretty, pink Rabbit Vibrator by Pretty Love!
Silicone is nonporous, and depending on your usage (and whether or not the toy has a motor), you could boil it every couple of uses or use the bleach method to sterilize it. Or, if it has a motor, you can use an alcohol wipe.
For everyday cleaning, just wash in hot water with soap–but never use perfumed soap.
And remember, for your favorite silicone toys, use water-based lube! Silicone lube can break down silicone material over time.
Glass, Ceramic, Stone, or Wood
Just use the wipe down method coupled with a soft cloth for glass, ceramic, or stone. If you boil your glass toy to sterilize it, remember not to immerse it in cool water right after. Let it cool down to avoid shattering! Also, it’s always a good idea to seek out seamless glass toys, though they may be pricier, for a safer experience. A seamless toy will be nonporous; one that has seams won’t have that benefit.
With wood toys, keep in mind that the finish will vary between different manufacturers. Look for something finished with a medical-grade polymer, which will make it resistant to both moisture and bacteria. Avoid anything that says natural finish – most often used by indie manufacturers. For wood toys, it’s best to store in a protective pouch or bag that can fend off abrasions. And speaking of abrasions, avoid abrasive cleaners, textured sponges, and cleaning cloths, as they can ruin the finish. You’ll need to clean these toys gently with a cloth – and remember that they cannot be sanitized.
This B.1 Granite butt plug by Laid may very well tempt you into trying out a toy made with natural materials.
The easiest of the bunch, metal toys can be boiled, thrown in the top rack of your dishwasher, or soaked in 10% bleach solution (to avoid causing corrosion, just make sure that solution isn’t hot, and that you wash with soap and water right after).
And, you can also wash with hot water and soap for just a surface cleaning. Just look how pretty metal toys can be! Exhibit A: the Fun Wand by nJoy!
ABS Plastic and Elastomed (Not Elastomer)
ABS plastic is great because it can be sterilized, and is often more affordable than toys made of the other materials. ABS toys without motors can be bleached for sterilization. However, if your ABS plastic toy has a motor, no boiling or bleach! Just wipe down with some rubbing alcohol.
Check out this cute, suited Pro Penguin by Satisfyer.
For even more detail, we’ll hand it over to Dangerous Lilly who is the leading expert on toy cleaning and toy safety.
Quick recap: don’t boil or throw in the dishwasher anything that has a motor. Do sterilize whenever possible, but definitely in between partners, if you have an infection, and after using the toy anally. Always wash your toys with soap and water immediately after their alcohol or bleach baths.
If you need to switch it up between partners during play – try using a non-lubricated condom or one that specifically states it has water-based lube for easy, safe swapping! If you want more info, you can check out our comprehensive guide.
But What About Everyday Solo Use?
If you’re just using the toy solo, you can do a quick soap-and-water clean or use toy wipes (like Afterglow Toy Tissues!) in a pinch. They won’t disinfect (even if the claim to!), but they will lessen your risk of contact with bacteria, germs, etc. A toy-cleaning spray is another nice thing to have in your bag of tricks, especially for fun, on-the-go, spontaneous sex – particularly the kind of sex that is not conveniently located near a sink and some bleach. We like Sliquid Shine, which is antifungal and environmentally friendly!
Keep It Clean
Part of using body-safe toys means reducing the risk of infections from microbes and germs, transfer of STIs if sharing toys with partners, and ensuring that you’re putting only the safest, cleanest materials into your body. Get in the habit of cleaning your toys, and not only will your toys last longer, but you’ll lower your risk of infection.
Body safety is so important and a cornerstone of all the products that Vibrant sells. The sex toy world continues to be unregulated, so being an educated consumer is really the best way to protect yourself.
Vibrant’s Toys Are All Body-Safe
Vibrant has a variety of body-safe sex toys for every body; we’ve done the research so that you don’t have to. Check out our curated collection, and you can be sure that your selection will be body-safe. Or, chat with us, and we can help recommend the product that’s perfect for you. We’re available 9am-9pm EST daily on our website chat (just push the purple button at the bottom right!) or call us at 866-316-VIBE (8423).