By: Riley Fortier, M.Ed.
Why do you need to clean your toys?
Improper (or nonexistent) cleaning of your sex toys can lead to health issues. You should clean your toys before AND after each use, since they toy can still come into contact with dust and bacteria while it was stored. Cleaning your toys regularly also lessens the chance of contracting STIs or other infections, as the bacteria can cling to your toys surfaces.
I know it can be annoying to get up to clean your toys after some alone time (or partnered) time. A tip is to try to make it a habit. Once you’re finished having sex, pee, shower, do whatever else your post-sex ritual is, but also add in cleaning your toy to that!
Cleaning your toys also extends their lifetime and prevents them from being damaged.
What can you use to clean your toys?
Generally, a mild, unscented soap and warm water will do the trick. This will work best for sex toys that are 100% medical grade silicone, stainless steel, or glass. Then let them air dry. There are also certain rags/cloths that are dust-free that could be used, but air drying is the easiest and cheapest! Then store your toys in a water-proof bag or on the top of a clean nightstand.
There are some toy cleaners that are on the market that you can use too, but it’s not cost effective.
Okay, but what about the old dishwasher trick?
Only SOME SILICONE, NON-ELECTRIC toys are able to be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher or boiled in water for 5-10 minutes. But PLEASE carefully read the care instructions on your toy before you try this. The care instructions will let you know exactly how your toy can be cleaned. This Groove Dildo (pictured on the right) is dishwasher safe.
- Not checking if your toy is water-safe or water-resistant. If there is a battery/power function, make sure to not get that part wet or submerged in water.
- Using scented soaps, household cleaning products, or bleach. Scented soaps can throw off the pH balance of a vulva and cause irritation, and household cleaning products or bleach are NOT body safe.
- Cleaning a porous toy like you would a hard toy. Porous insertable toys are made of rubber, latex, jelly, or skin-like material. With these toys, it’s best to use a condom on them every time to keep them clean, as you cannot wash them with soap and water like hard toys because they will disintegrate over time or trap bacteria.
- Storing toys uncovered in a dirty drawer. Toys should be stored on a clean nightstand or in a water-proof bag. (There are toy bags that you can purchase for this exact purpose). Storing a toy, even a regularly cleaned toy, in a random drawer can cause bacteria growth.