How to Clean Anal Toys (and What to Avoid)

Anal toys, by their very definition, spend a lot of time in one of the… less clean areas of the body. No shaming here — we’re all about having fun in whichever way feels good for you, as long as you do it safely.

That’s why we’re going to show you exactly how to clean your anal toys. Whether it’s a butt plug, dildo, anal beads, or prostate massager, the best way to keep your butt healthy and your toys long-lasting is to clean them correctly. Just follow the methods below and you’ll find a way that works for you.

Is Your Anal Toy Waterproof?

How you go about cleaning your anal toys will depend, first and foremost, on whether it’s waterproof or not. This is especially true if it contains electronic parts, like a vibrating butt plug or prostate massager.

If you’re not sure whether your anal toy is waterproof, the best way to check is either in the instruction or safety manuals that came with it. If you don’t have them anymore, or you can’t find the answer, look it up on an online sex toy store, which should state whether it’s waterproof or not.

It doesn’t end there, though! Not all waterproof toys are created equal — there are different levels of sex toy waterproofing:

  • Submersible — This means that your anal toy is completely waterproof and can be submerged underwater with no issues. You might also see this written as ‘100% waterproof’, ‘IPX7’ or ‘IPX8 waterproof’.
  • Splashproof — This means that your anal toy can survive a quick rinse under a faucet, but shouldn’t be submerged or taken into the bath or shower. It may also appear as ‘water resistant’, or ‘IPX5 (or lower) waterproof’.

What is Your Anal Toy Made From?

The other thing to think about when looking how to best clean your anal toys is the materials they contain.

We tend to divide sex toy materials into two categories: porous and non-porous.

Porous Materials

Sex toys, and anal toys especially, are commonly made with porous materials. Unfortunately, though, they’re not the safest materials to use.

‘Porous’ means that these materials contain microscopic holes across their surface that can trap harmful things like dirt, bacteria, fungi, viruses and more. Perhaps it goes without saying, but those things shouldn’t be put anywhere near your body, especially inside it. That’s why many people like to cover their porous anal toys with a condom before inserting them.

The holes in porous materials also make your toys very difficult to clean properly. Germs will remain inside the pores, and you won’t be able to heat them up to the high temperatures needed to sterilize them without destroying the material.

Porous materials you might encounter include:

  • PVC
  • Vinyl
  • Jelly
  • Rubber
  • Latex
  • Silicone ‘blends’ (i.e. materials that aren’t 100% silicone)

Non-Porous Materials

Non-porous materials, on the other hand, are body-safe and a breeze to clean. They don’t have these same pores, and instead have a smooth, sealed surface. That’s why, here at Bedbible, we do our best to recommend anal toys made from safe, non-porous materials.

The most common non-porous materials for sex toys are:

  • Silicone
  • ABS Plastic
  • Glass
  • Steel

Some, but not all, non-porous materials can be sterilized — but more on that below…

The Best Ways to Clean Anal Toys

Soap and Water

Good for: porous and non-porous materials, waterproof and splashproof toys.

The truth is that cleaning most anal toys is actually super easy! All you need is soap and water.

Take a mild, unscented soap (not that moisturizing, lavender-scented stuff) and lather up your anal toy with some water. You can use your hands or a gentle cloth, just be sure to to get into all the crevices and grooves. Once you’re done, rinse it off and pat dry with a clean towel.

You can use this method with electronic toys like anal vibrators and anal thrusters, as long as they’re waterproof or spashproof.

Avoid using tools like scrubbers or dish brushes, as they can damage the surface of your anal toy. In doing so, you’ll be creating scratches for germs to get stuck inside, which can harm you and make it harder to clean next time!

Sex Toy Cleaner

Good for: porous and non-porous materials, all waterproof and non-waterproof toys.

The easiest alternative to good old soap and water is a specially-formulated sex toy cleaner, like this one from Sliquid. Most are available as sprays, foams, gels or wipes.

To use them, simply follow the instructions on the packaging. Usually, this will involve applying them to your anal toy, leaving them for a specified time and then rinsing or wiping it off. If you can, it’s better to rinse rather than wipe, as this ensures that you’re removing the nasty stuff from the surface instead of just moving it around.

Boil Them

Good for: some non-porous materials, waterproof toys without electrical parts.

In addition to cleaning your anal toys in one of the ways above, you may have also heard about boiling them. Boiling sex toys is actually less about cleaning them, and more about disinfecting and sterilizing them.

There are several reasons why you might want to sterilize your anal toys, rather than just giving them a regular clean. These include if…

  • Multiple people are using the toy.
  • You’re concerned about STIs.
  • You haven’t used it in a very long time.
  • You didn’t buy it from a very trustworthy place and want to disinfect it before use.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple as “boil non-porous toys and don’t boil porous ones!”. You can’t boil porous materials without damaging them, but some non-porous materials, like hard plastic (ABS), will also simply melt in the high temperatures needed to sterilize them. And, of course, don’t boil any toys that contain electrical parts!

If you want to boil your anal toys, the process is fairly simple. Put a large (clean) pot of water to boil, with no soap or other additives, and then submerge your anal toys for 1-3 minutes. If you’re boiling steel or glass toys, place a washcloth in the pot first, or place them in a mesh laundry bag to protect both them and the pot as they bounce around.


Good for: some non-porous materials, waterproof toys without electrical parts.

Using a dishwasher is another valid option if you want to sterilize your anal toys. It does the same thing (and requires the same precautions) as boiling them in a pot, but with a bit less effort.

All you need to do is place your compatible anal toys on the top rack of your otherwise empty dishwasher. Don’t add any detergent or soap, as it can leave a residue that you don’t want anywhere near your genitals later.

If your dishwasher has a ‘sanitize’ function, you can select that and set it going. Otherwise, use a cycle that lasts for 5-10 minutes (they don’t need longer) and reaches at least 150ºF.

UV Storage Boxes

Good for: porous and non-porous materials, all waterproof and non-waterproof toys.

There’s a growing hype around UV storage boxes that kill bacteria and other germs on objects that are placed inside them. You can get them for phones, glasses, and now sex toys (like this one from B-Vibe) — but do they actually work?

Well, the biggest issue with UV sanitizers is that they can only ‘clean’ the parts of toys that the light can reach. Some anal toys have complex shapes and textures that can make it difficult for the light to reach the whole toy. The other issue is that it’s unclear how well these boxes work, and how much bacteria they actually kill.

If you want to use one, I would always recommend cleaning your toys with soap and water (or a sex toy cleaner) first. They can be an extra step in your cleaning process, but they shouldn’t replace a manual surface clean.

How to Keep Your Anal Toys Clean

So, your butt plugs and anal beads are sparkling clean and germ-free. But, how do you keep them that way?

For many people, storing sex toys means putting them in your nightstand or sock drawer, away from prying eyes and sticky fingers. However, just storing them loose can undo all of the hard work you put into cleaning them.

Ideally, your anal toys will come with a storage pouch, bag or box that you can keep them in. These keep them away from dust and dirt so they stay fresh for the next time you want them. You don’t always get that lucky, but they are available to buy pretty cheaply, and often come in different sizes, like these from Lovehoney. Avoid using things like Ziploc bags to store your sex toys in, as they aren’t at all breathable.

You should also try to store each toy separately, to avoid them bumping up against each other and damaging the material they’re made from. In anal toys made from PVC and other porous materials, keeping them stored together can even result in them melting and fusing together!

How Often Should You Clean Your Anal Toys

You should be cleaning your anal toys right after every use. I know it can be annoying, when all you really want to be doing is basking in that post-orgasm pleasure, but it is vitally important. Cleaning your anal toys promptly and thoroughly is the best way to keep them fresh and safe to use, and will help them last longer, too!

If you want, you can also give them a quick clean before you use them as well. If you’ve stored them correctly, they should remain clean, but giving them a quick rinse can get rid of anything they might have picked up in their downtime.