Keep It Clean, Keep It Safe: Essential Tips for Sanitizing Your Sex Toys!

Keep It Clean, Keep It Safe: Essential Tips for Sanitizing Your Sex Toys!

The thing about sex toys is, there is a world of difference between cleaning and sanitizing them. When you sanitize your sex toys, you aim to get rid of any kind of bacteria, with or without water. 

Meanwhile, cleaning mostly means getting rid of debris, fluids, and dirt on the toys. 

You can clean your porous sex toys, but you can never sanitize them. So, you need to know how to take proper care of your sex toys.

Not all sex toys are the same. You need to know the cleaning and sanitizing method for every kind of sex toy you own. Because the alternative is getting an STI, UTI, or any other long list of bacterial infections. 

Let’s learn how to care for, store, and sanitize your sex toys today. 

Why You Should Clean and Store Sex Toys Properly

Excessive as it may sound, you need to clean your sex toys before and after use. There is no compromising with this.

And why would you want to?

Sex can get messy. Your toys will get your sweat, blood, cum, and all sorts of body fluids. Playing with a sticky, unclean toy won’t feel good to you in any way. 

But the general ick factor aside, an unclean sex toy is a fast track to getting an STI, herpes, or HIV/AIDS. 

Suppose you lend your sex toy to someone with a sexually transmitted disease. Moments later, you use the toy on yourself. There’s a good chance the infection would be transmitted to you. 

If you are sharing your sex toy with a stranger, you need to clean it in between every sex act. Not to mention you should be wrapping the sex toy with a condom right away. 

But if you have been with your partner for a long time, it makes more sense to clean before and after every session. 

Keeping your sex toys clean isn’t only about avoiding STIs either. 

An unclean sex toy is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Especially if it’s a porous toy, the bacteria can make a home in the nooks and crannies of the toy. 

Your own fluids left on the toy can cause bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, or a UTI. Even switching the toy from your vagina to your butt can cause one of these infections. 

Using an unclean anal toy can increase the risk of contracting hepatitis, parasitic infections, and anal gonorrhea.

Even if you are not following all the steps to clean your sex toy before and after use, you should still wash it. If nothing else, use a sex toy cleaner

Additionally, don’t ever store two toys together. For one, if there is negligence in your cleaning, one toy could spread bacteria to the other. Two, some intimate toy materials can have a negative reaction to each other. 

If the toys touch each other for long, they might both end up melting together due to the chemicals bonding. 

So, keep the toys in their original box, separate storage cases, or bags. You can also even keep them in clean socks. 

Some toy owners keep all the toys in a single box but divide the toys by placing socks in between. Some might keep smaller toys inside separate socks and then place all the toys in a single box. 

How to Clean Sex Toys Based on the Material Type

1. Non-Porous Toys - Silicone, Glass, and Metal

Non-porous toys without electrical parts have a straightforward cleaning routine. If you want to know how to clean electric toys, scroll down to the third part. 

A quick fix is to throw your non-porous sex toys like silicone and stainless steel into the top rack of the dishwasher. Choose the “sanitize” setting

The dishwasher will go through a hot water cycle to kill the bacteria on your sex toy. But for this to work, the dishwasher should be able to reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit in the last cycle. So, make sure your dishwasher is certified as well. The setting is unavailable in an uncertified dishwasher. Otherwise, you might as well not bother using the dishwasher. 

If you have too many sex toys, the dishwasher is a good option. Otherwise, you can follow this method to clean each type of material:

  1. Silicone: For silicone sex toys, microporous might be a better term. It doesn’t hold on to bacteria, but it does hold on to odors. So, using a toy cleaner like the Dame Hand can help kill the smell. 

Overall, with non-motorized silicone toys, you can fill up a tub with warm water and soap and drop the toys in it. Let it soak for about 10 minutes and then wipe it dry with a washcloth. 

You can also boil the toys in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes to sanitize them. 

  1. Wood: Wipe your wood toy with a gentle toy cleaner and a soft cloth. 

  1. Stainless Steel: The steps for cleaning stainless steel sex toys are almost the same as silicone. You can boil it in warm water or drown it in soapy water for 10 minutes. 

You can also drop it into the dishwasher and turn on the sanitize setting. You can also scrub stainless steel toys without worrying about damaging the material. 

  1. Glass: Glass toys can be fragile. So, you want to make sure the water is lukewarm, instead of cold or hot while cleaning it. Give it the same soapy wipe as all the other toys.

Pyrex glass toys can also be cleaned in the dishwasher. In fact, you can dump Pyrex toys into a container filled with cold water and then bring them to a boil. But do not drown Pyrex toys in hot water off the bat. 

  1. Hard Plastic: Clean it with regular water and soap. Don’t let warm water touch the toy since it can melt the plastic. 

Overall, the general formula you need to follow with non-porous toys is washing them with water and soap.  

2. Porous Toys - Vinyl, Rubber, and TPE/TPR

Cleaning porous toys can be a headache. No matter how many times you wash them or use toy cleaners to sanitize them, it’s never 100% clean. 

If you do have porous toys, try not to use them for more than a couple of months. 

  1. Rubber: Rubber sex toys can’t ever be 100% clean. Your best bet is to dip a washcloth in warm water and antibacterial soap and wipe it. You should also put a condom on the toy before use. 

  1. TPE: You can only clean the surface of TPE toys. You can either use sex toy cleaners or mild soapy water. 

  1. Vinyl: Wash vinyl toys with warm water and nothing else. Not even soap. Let it air dry and then spray a small amount of cornstarch. This keeps the toy from retaining fluids. 

  1. Nylon: You can submerge nylon toys in cold water with antibacterial soap. 

  1. Leather: Leather sex toys usually mean harnesses, blindfolds, or even cuffs. They are never insertable. So, even though they are porous, as long as you maintain general cleaning with them, you should be safe.

You can wipe leather products with a soapy washcloth. After it is dry, you can also make it shine with a leather conditioner. 

Try to not buy insertable porous toys. They tend to be cheap, but they don’t last long. They also have too many health risks no matter how many times you clean them. 

3. Specialty Toys - Battery, Motor, Electric

Specialty toys like vibrators or massagers are too risky to dump into a tub of soapy water. Even if the label says the toy is 100% waterproof, it rarely ever is. 

The motor might not break after the first wash, but it will start deteriorating after its fifth encounter with water. 

If it’s a battery-powered toy, you want to remove the batteries first. 

Then, spritz the product with a toy cleaner. Like the one from the Swiss Navy is specifically good at getting silicone lube out of your toy. Wipe the cleaner off with a paper towel or a washcloth after a minute or two. Or as long as it is instructed on the label. 

Sex expert Sammi Cole also recommends rinsing the toy with warm water. Instead of rinsing it, you can also dip the washcloth in warm water and then squeeze out the excessive water. 

Use the washcloth to wipe the toy and then blot it with a dry paper towel again. Do this before and after every use. 

If the battery is non-removable, make it a point to put a condom on it during sex acts. You can’t submerge it in water, so sanitizing the sex toy is a bit more difficult. 

A toy cleaner is always a safe option since it dries quickly while sanitizing your sex toy. The other option is to wipe it with a damp washcloth

Sex educator and owner of Spectrum Boutique, Zoë Ligon suggests wrapping a condom on a toy like the Magic Wand if it’s made of porous material. 

But if it’s a silicone wand, you can unplug the head, and clean it with warm water and soap. Keep the head pointed down so the water doesn’t travel to the rest of the body of the wand. 

Let the sex toys dry first before you store them away. 

Final Thoughts

Sex toys require cleaning before and after use. In fact, you should be cleaning them between sex acts. It’s an impossible standard to maintain for even the most cautious of us. 

Homemade cleaning methods are better left for the weekends when you have time to deep clean. In the meantime, you should always have cleaning wipes and organic gentle cleaners in your bedside drawer. 

When you are too tired to sanitize your sex toys properly, toy cleaners are the best way to deal with the issue. Make sure the sanitizers you opt for are paraben-free, unscented, and have gentle chemicals. 

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