How To Clean Sex Toys: A Comprehensive Guide for Hygiene

Sex toys can go a long way in enhancing your intimacy. From vibrators to cock rings, there’s plenty to choose from. No matter what types of toys you use, you should regularly clean and maintain them. Toys can carry harmful bacteria without regular cleaning and even lead to infections. In this Doublelist guide, we’ll give you in-depth advice on how to clean sex toys depending on their materials. These include latex, silicone, synthetic skin, soft plastic, leather, glass, crystal, suede, and nylon. 


Why Should You Learn How To Clean Sex Toys?

Learning how to clean sex toys is not only essential for keeping your intimate areas safe from infection. It can also prolong the life of your toys and even create a better experience. 

  • Hygiene and Health. Proper cleaning helps remove bodily fluids, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can lead to infections, irritations, and health issues. By keeping your sex toys clean, you reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting infections. This includes yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and urinary tract infections.

  • Preventing Allergic Reactions. Some individuals might have allergies or sensitivities to certain materials used in sex toys. Cleaning helps remove any residual chemicals or irritants that could trigger allergic reactions or skin sensitivities.

  • Prolonging Lifespan. Regular cleaning and maintenance can extend the lifespan of your sex toys. Proper care prevents the deterioration of the materials, preserving their texture, appearance, and overall usability.

  • Comfort and Enjoyment. Clean sex toys provide a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. They are more aesthetically pleasing, have no lingering odors, and don't distract from your intimate moments.

  • Preventing Odor. Dirty sex toys can develop unpleasant odors over time, which can be off-putting and affect the overall experience.

  • Avoiding Cross-Contamination. Thorough cleaning between uses prevents cross-contamination of bodily fluids and reduces the risk of spreading infections or diseases. This is especially important if you have sex with multiple partners or are a lesbian couple that shares toys. 

How To Clean Sex Toys: How Often Should You?

Are you looking for cleaning tips and wondering how to clean sex toys? You may not know how often you need to do so. There’s no definitive answer for how often you need to clean your toys. It depends on how often you use them and whether you share them with a partner. Here’s a general guide on when you should clean them: 

  • Before First Use. It's important to clean a new sex toy before using it for the first time. Even if it comes in a sealed package, there could be residues from manufacturing or packaging.

  • Before and After Each Use. It's a good practice to clean your sex toys both before and after each use. Cleaning before use removes any dust, lint, or bacteria from storage. Cleaning after use helps prevent the buildup of bodily fluids and bacteria.

  • Between Partners. If you're sharing sex toys with partners or using them during sexual encounters, cleaning the toys between uses is essential. Using condoms or other barrier methods can provide an additional layer of protection.

  • Non-Porous vs. Porous Materials. The material of your sex toy also matters. Non-porous materials like silicone, glass, and stainless steel are easier to clean and less likely to harbor bacteria. Porous materials like rubber, TPE, or PVC need cleaning more regularly. 

  • Vibrating Parts and Waterproof Toys. If your sex toy has vibrating parts or is waterproof, follow the manufacturer's care instructions for cleaning these components. Some toys might need extra attention to prevent water or cleaning solutions from damaging the internal mechanisms.

  • Storage. Proper storage between uses is important. Keep your sex toys in a clean, dry place. Consider using storage bags or containers to prevent dust and debris from accumulating.


How To Properly Clean Sex Toys Depending on Their Material

Different sex toy materials require different cleaning methods to ensure they remain safe, hygienic, and in good condition. You need to know the material of your sex toy to learn how to properly clean sex toys. Check the packaging or small print to find out. 

Here’s a guide on how to clean sex toys depending on their material type. 

How To Clean Sex Toys Made of Latex

Latex sex toys need cleaning regularly to maintain their hygiene and durability. Before cleaning, examine the toy for any tears, rips, or signs of deterioration. Here’s how to clean sex toys made of latex:

  • Gentle Cleaning. Wash the toy with warm water and mild soap. Gently rub the surface to remove any bodily fluids or lubricants. Avoid using dangerous chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can degrade the latex. Try using a UV light cleaner to clean bodily fluids thoroughly. 

  • Thorough Rinsing. Rinse the toy thoroughly with warm water to remove all soap residue. Any remaining soap can cause skin irritation.

  • Drying. Pat the toy dry with a clean, lint-free towel. Ensure it's completely dry before storing it to prevent mold or bacterial growth.

  • Storage. Store latex toys in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Keep them separate from other toys to prevent cross-contamination. 

  • Talcum Powder. Some people use talcum powder or cornstarch on latex toys to maintain their texture and prevent sticking. If you choose to use powder, ensure it's talcum-free and designed for use on intimate products.

  • Latex-Safe Lubricants. If you're using lubricants with your latex toys, choose water-based or silicone-based lubes that are latex-safe. Oil-based lubes can degrade latex, leading to deterioration and breakage.

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How To Clean Silicone Sex Toys

Silicone is a popular material for sex toys because of its porous nature and flexibility. Unlike latex sex toys, you can boil sillicone, making it easier to clean. However, it’s important to read over the instructions from the manufacturer. Here’s how to clean silicone sex toys:

  • Boiling. Most silicone toys can withstand boiling for a few minutes to sterilize them. Check the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure your toy will be safe.

  • Toy Cleaners. Silicone-safe sex toy cleaners are available on the market. These are specifically for cleaning and disinfecting silicone toys without damaging them. Follow the product instructions for proper use.

  • Avoid High Heat and Extreme Cold. While silicone toys can handle some temperature variation, avoiding exposure to extreme heat or cold for extended periods is best. Don't freeze or microwave silicone toys.

  • Air Drying. Pat the toy dry with a clean, lint-free towel or allow it to air dry completely before storing it. Moisture can lead to mold growth if not properly dried.

  • Use Silicone-Based Lubricants. Silicone sex toys are compatible with water and silicone lubricants. However, if you're using a silicone-based lubricant, do a spot test on a small area of the toy. This ensures it doesn't react negatively with the material.

  • Regular Inspection. Periodically check the toy for any changes in texture, appearance, or odor. It may be time to replace the toy if you notice any deterioration.

  • Condoms and Barrier Methods. Using condoms on silicone toys can make cleaning easier and provide a barrier between the toy and bodily fluids.

How To Clean a Sex Toy Made of Leather

Plenty of BDSM sex toys, including whips and restraints, are made of leather. Leather has a distinct look, feel, and smell that can add an extra layer of excitement to intimate activities. If you own leather toys, you must be careful when cleaning. Since leather is a porous material, water or harsh cleaning chemicals can damage it. Here’s how to clean a sex toy made of leather:

  • Check the Manufacturer's Instructions. Always start by checking if the manufacturer provides specific cleaning instructions for your leather sex toy. Following their recommendations is essential to prevent damaging the leather.

  • Remove Excess Debris. Before cleaning, gently remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the surface of the leather toy. Use a soft, dry cloth or a soft brush.

  • Perform a Patch Test. Test the chosen cleaner on the toy's small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn't cause any discoloration or damage.

  • Clean with Mild Leather Cleaner. Apply a small amount of mild leather cleaner or saddle soap to a soft, damp cloth. Gently rub the cloth on the surface of the leather toy using light pressure. Avoid oversaturating the leather with moisture.

  • Spot Cleaning. If specific areas need extra attention, focus the cleaning on those spots while being cautious not to spread moisture excessively.

  • Rinse and Dry. Wipe off any remaining cleaner with a clean, damp cloth to remove traces of the cleaning solution. Again, avoid over-wetting the leather. Allow the leather toy to air dry at room temperature. Do not use direct heat sources such as hairdryers, radiators, or sunlight, as these can damage the leather.

  • Buff and Dry. Use a clean, dry cloth to gently buff the leather surface, removing any excess conditioner and enhancing the shine.

How To Clean Sex Toys Made of Glass

Cleaning glass sex toys is relatively straightforward. Glass is a non-porous and smooth material. This means it doesn't trap bacteria or fluids as easily as other materials. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to clean sex toys made of glass:

  • Prepare the Toy. Before you begin cleaning, make sure the glass sex toy is not too cold. This is especially important if you store it in a cool place. Let it adjust to room temperature to prevent sudden temperature changes.

  • Rinse. Use warm water to rinse the glass toy to remove any bodily fluids, lubricants, or other residues. Avoid hot water, as extreme temperature changes could damage the glass.

  • Apply Soap or Cleaner. Apply a small amount of mild, fragrance-free soap or specialized sex toy cleaner. You can apply it to your hands or directly onto the toy's surface. You can also use a mixture of water and mild dish soap.

  • Gently Clean. Gently rub the anti-bacterial soap or cleaner on the toy's surface, covering all areas. Use your fingers or a soft cloth to clean the toy. Pay extra attention to any textured or ridged areas.

  • Rinse Thoroughly. Thoroughly rinse the toy under warm water to remove all traces of soap or cleaner. Make sure no residue remains on the surface.

  • Disinfect. If you want to add an extra layer of sanitation, you can use a mild disinfectant. A solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water is commonly recommended for glass toys. Spray or wipe the toy with the solution, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse it thoroughly.

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How To Clean Sex Toys Made of Soft Plastic

Cleaning sex toys made of soft plastic requires careful attention to ensure that the material remains clean and hygienic. Soft plastic can be porous and may have a tendency to trap bacteria and residues, so proper cleaning is essential. Here’s how to clean sex toys made of softer plastic:

  • Unplug the Toy. Ensure that the sex toy doesn’t have power and that you detach any removable components before cleaning.

  • Rinse Off Excess Fluids. Rinse the soft plastic toy under warm water to remove any bodily fluids or lubricants. Use gentle water pressure to avoid damaging the toy.

  • Apply Soap or Cleaner. Apply a small amount of mild, unscented soap or specialized sex toy cleaner. You can apply it to your hands or directly onto the toy's surface.

  • Clean Gently. Gently lather the soap or cleaner on the toy's surface, ensuring you cover all areas. This includes textured or ridged parts. Be cautious not to submerge any electronic components or openings that could allow water to enter.

  • Rinse Thoroughly. Rinse the toy thoroughly under warm water to remove all traces of soap or cleaner. Make sure no residue remains on the surface.

  • Dry the Toy. Gently pat the toy dry using a clean cloth or towel. Ensure that you remove alll moisture to prevent mold growth.

  • Battery Compartment. If your toy has a battery compartment, ensure it's completely dry before reinserting batteries or connecting it to power.

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