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How to clean sex toys

The information provided herein does not constitute an expert or medical advice, nor intended to replace such advice.

Sexual Health

Sex toys can bring a lot of fun to your sex life, but once you’re done using them, it’s very important to know how to clean them properly. Keeping your sex toys clean can make them last longer and also protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other infections that can come from dirty sex toys. However, it’s important to learn exactly how you should clean each type of sex toy.

Read on to learn more about how to clean sex toys correctly.

How to clean sex toys

Sex toys have become an increasingly popular part of our sex lives in recent years. According to a study published by The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, more than half of all surveyed participants had used a sex toy at some point. But just like with any other type of sexual activity, there are certain steps that you need to follow to ensure sex toy safety.

The first thing you need to know is that not all sex toys should be cleaned using the same technique. The best way to clean your sex toys will largely depend on the material that they’re made of. Cleaning your sex toys properly won’t just help keep you safe from STDs and other infections, but it will also prolong the life of your toys. And since we all know that sex toys can be rather expensive, we know that you want to keep them in good shape for as long as possible!

Keep in mind that these tips aren’t meant to replace the manufacturer’s instructions, which you should still follow carefully. Make sure to avoid submerging battery-powered toys in water, and remove the batteries before cleaning your toys. After cleaning, you should store your toys in a clean pouch or bag, and keep them in a cool, dry, clean place until their next use.

Let’s talk about how you can clean your sex toys depending on their material.

Cleaning sex toys made of non porous materials

Non porous materials don’t absorb water and won’t harbor bacteria and other pathogens thanks to their smooth surface. These sex toys can usually be sterilized by using boiling water, as long as they don’t have electrical components.

According to Brown University, the most common materials in this category include silicone, glass, stainless steel, and hard plastics. Here are some tips to help you keep these sex toys clean:

  • Silicone toys: you can boil your silicone toys for 5-10 minutes, place them in the top rack of your dishwasher, or simply clean them using soap and water. Don’t boil toys that have electrical components, such as vibrators, since they will become damaged.
  • Glass toys: you can use warm water and soap to clean your glass toys. Unless they’re Pyrex toys, you should avoid subjecting glass to extreme temperatures or placing them in the dishwasher.
  • Hard plastics: these toys should only be cleaned using warm water and soap.
  • Stainless steel: place your stainless steel toys in the top rack of the dishwasher, boil them, or soak them in a water-chlorine solution that contains 10 percent chlorine for 10 minutes.

Cleaning sex toys made of porous materials

You should be extra careful when washing porous sex toys, since the tiny pores on their surface can retain fluids and allow bacteria to grow. As a result, it’s even more important to make sure that you clean these toys properly. Some of the most common porous materials used to make sex toys include:

  • Rubber: rubber sex toys can be difficult to clean, and in some cases, they can contain phtalates. Phthalates have been linked to problems such as developmental delays, fertility issues, breast cancer, obesity, and even birth defects, according to the Public Health Post. As a result, it’s recommended that you cover these toys with a condom every time you use them.
  • Cyberskin and vinyl: these toys can be washed using warm water only. After they’re dry, apply a thin layer of cornstarch to prevent them from getting sticky.
  • Nylon: toys made of nylon can be washed using warm water and mild antibacterial soap.
  • Leather: after using, wipe your leather sex toys or harnesses with a damp cloth and soap, or use a leather cleaning product. If your toy has metal parts, you can coat them with a layer of clear nail polish for further protection.

Is it safe to share sex toys?

Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid sharing sex toys, or only sharing them with a monogamous partner who has also tested negative for STIs recently.

As the NHS reminds us, it’s important to cover your sex toys with a new condom each time they’re used. This will help make cleanup easier, and it can also protect you against STDs if you’re sharing sex toys with a partner. In this case, you’ll need to change the condom to a new one when your partner uses the toy. Remember to always open a new condom and discard the old one, even if you’re not going to use it for penetrative sex.

Cleaning your sex toys properly and using them safely is just one way to prevent STDs. It’s also very important for you and your partner(s) to get tested for STDs regularly. Thanks to at-home testing, this is now easier and more accessible than ever. You can learn more about at-home STD tests at STDWatch.com.


A cross-sectional survey of sex toy use, characteristics of sex toy use hygiene behaviours, and vulvovaginal health outcomes in Canada - utpjournals.press

What’s the best way to clean sex toys? - brown.edu

Rules of Play - publichealthpost.org

Are sex toys safe? - nhs.uk





Dr. Andrea Pinto Lopez

Dr. Andrea Pinto Lopez

Mar 25, 2022

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