How to Clean a Strap On

By Isabelle Uren / June 23, 2022

After you’ve got down and dirty, it’s time to get good and clean! If most likely already mastered how to use your strap-on, but when the fun is over and you are coming out of your post orgasmic haze, it’s time to figure out how to clean your strap on! In this post, we’ll see how to clean every type of strap-on and even how to clean your harness, so you are never in doubt about how to keep your strap-on clean and ready for action!

No matter if you have a strap on kit or you bought your strap-on dildo and harness separately, you will need to clean the two parts in different ways. First up we’ll cover cleaning the dildo part of your strap-on and then we’ll go through keeping your harness clean.

Since you strap-ons are shared between two people, it’s even more important to keep things clean, so we’ll also cover hygiene best practice!

How to Clean a Strap On Dildo With No Electrical Parts

If your strap on doesn’t have any internal motors, it will be waterproof and easy to wash! There are some different techniques depending on whether your strap on dildo is made from a porous or non-porous material. So the first step is to identify which category your dildo falls into.

Non-Porous Materials

  • 100% Silicone
  • ABS plastic and some other hard plastics
  • Glass
  • Stainless steel
  • Some sealed woods

Porous Materials

  • Jelly
  • Rubber
  • PVC
  • TPR/TPE
  • Latex
  • Own brand realistic skin-like materials (e.g. Fanta Flesh, SuperSkin, etc.)

How to Clean a Non-Porous Strap-on

We always recommend shopping for a strap-on made of a non-porous material as they don’t have any tiny pores for bacteria or germs to hide out in. Silicone strap-ons are the most popular as they are body safe, and are more realistic and flexible than other non-porous materials. As long as your non-porous strap is waterproof and doesn’t have any internal electrics, you also sterilize it for a deep clean! Here are five ways to sanitize (clean) or sterilise your strap-on.

Lovehoney Fresh Toy and Body Wipes

Sex Toy Wipes

This is the least effective method of cleaning a strap-on but sex toy wipes can be a good option when you are in a pinch or for play on the go. I wouldn’t rely on them for your only cleaning method though as they don’t rinse away everything that’s on the toy.

Soap and Water

Good old soap and water! This classic but effective method is great for keeping your strap-on clean. Opt for a fragrance-free soap that won’t be irritating if it accidentally comes into contact with your genitals. Using warm water and soap, make sure to soap up every part of your strap-on, getting into any nooks and crannies. Then rinse the toy clean, ensuring no soap is left on the toy.

Lovehoney Fresh Toy Cleaner

Sex Toy Cleaner

Different sex toy cleaners will have different directions, so always check the label for specific instructions. Most sex toy cleaners come in either spray or foam form and need to be rinsed off afterwards. I would recommend checking the ingredients for anything you are allergic to and going for a fragrance-free option.

The Dishwasher

Another way to deep clean your non-porous, non electrical strap-on is in the dishwasher! Obviously you want to do this in a clean, empty dishwasher and not with your other dishes! It’s also important that you DON’T add soap. If your dishwasher has a sanitize function, use that but if not, you can use a short 5-10 minute wash with a temperature at least 150ºF.

Boil Your Strap-On

Boiling your dildo is a great way to sterilize it completely. Make sure your pan is big enough and then submerge your dildo in boiling water. Let your sex toy soup simmer on a low boil for around 5 minutes. If your strap-on is made from glass or metal, you can place a cloth in the bottom of the pan to stop it from banging against the sides. While it’s not necessary to boil your strap on before every use, it’s good to do it after every few uses.

What if My Strap-on Is Made of Porous Materials?

If your strap-on is made from porous materials, you need to be more careful when cleaning it. Porous materials have tiny holes (pores) that make it impossible to clean fully and germs and mold can grow in these holes over time. Porous materials also degrade much more quickly, so you cannot boil a porous strap-on or put it in the dishwasher.

Stick to Using Soap and Water or a Sex Toy Cleaner

You will want to wash your porous toys with a mild, fragrance-free soap or a sex toy cleaner and warm (not hot) water. Give it a thorough wash and dry it, but be careful not to rub it too vigorously or use a rough towel as this can also damage the material.

Also, you should consider replacing your porous strap-on more often, as you cannot fully clean or sterilize it. If possible, replace it with a non-porous strap-on, as they are much better for you!

Cleaning a Waterproof Strap-On With Electrical Parts

Unfortunately, if your strap-on has electrical parts, like a vibrating strap-on, you cannot boil it or put it in the dishwasher. The extreme heat can damage the mechanics and you definitely don’t want that. Having broken one of my favorite sex toys before, I can tell you now, it’s heartbreaking!

Here you have some of the same options as above:

  • Sex Toy Wipes — Don’t rely on wipes as your only cleaning method, but it’s ok to use them every now and again if you cannot clean you strap-on fully.
  • Soap and Water — Lather up your strap-on with some mild soap and give a good wash in warm water
  • Sex Toy Cleaner — Follow the directions on your sex toy cleaner

What If Your Strap-On Isn’t Waterproof?

If your strap-on isn’t waterproof, you will need to try and prevent any water from getting into the electrical components while also ensuring it gets a good clean.

Take a damp cloth and some mild soap or sex cleaner. Wipe down the toy with damp cloth and soap or sex toy cleaner. You don’t wan to use too much soap as it will be difficult to remove. Then either rinse the soap/cleaner out of the cloth or use a fresh damp cloth to remove all of the soap or sex toy cleaner.

How to Clean Your Harness

Know you know how to keep you dildo in tip top condition, let’s look at how to clean the different types of harnesses. Although your harness won’t get quite as dirty as a dildo, they do soak up all sorts of bodily fluids from both you and your partner, so it’s equally as important to keep it clean between uses.

Here are the different types of harnesses and how to clean them:

The SpareParts Tomboi was the test winner in our round up of the best underwear harnesses

Underwear Style Harnesses

Underwear style harnesses are the easiest to keep clean as they are pretty much like regular underwear. You have two options when it comes to cleaning underwear style harnesses:

  1. Chuck it in the washing machine! Just make sure to follow the washing instructions that came with the harness as different fabrics have different recommended temperatures. I would personally avoid putting it in the tumble dryer as that can weaken the fabric over time.
  2. Hand wash it. If you use your strap-on more often than you do laundry, you can hand wash it using a suitable laundry detergent and hang it to dry.

Nylon Strap Style Harness

Most nylon strap style harnesses are also machine washable, but you should check the manufacturers instructions first. You might also need to remove some pieces, such as O rings, before putting it the washing machine.

SpareParts also make the incredibly popular Joque Unisex Harness
This leather harness from Dominix Deluxe really looks the part —perfect for your BDSM strap-on play!

Leather Harnesses

Leather harness are the most difficult to care for. As they are porous, it’s a good idea to avoid using a leather harness with multiple partners. Again, you should always check the manufacturers guidelines as they are specific to your harness.

  1. Use a damp cloth and saddle soap to thoroughly wipe the whole harness down. Make sure to remove all of the soap.
  2. Pat down the harness with a towel and leave it air dry.
  3. Use a leather conditioner to replace the moisture lost in the cleaning process and keep the leather supple.