How to Clean Sex Toys: The Ultimate Guide
By Rachel Worthington / June 28, 2022
Part of being the owner of a large and beautiful collection of sex toys is, perhaps unfortunately, learning how to clean them all.
In an ideal world, I would love to be able to snap my fingers and have the dildo-cleaning fairies take care of it all. However, back here on Earth, I’ll settle with doing it myself. And the good news is: it’s really not that hard.
We’ve written a lot about how to take care of different sex toys, but in this post we’ve collected all our advice together into one ultimate sex toy cleaning guide! No matter what kinds of sex toys you have, here’s how to best clean and take care of it.
Cleaning your sex toys after every use is so, so important. Not only does it stop bacteria, viruses, fungi and other germs from coming into contact with your genitals (and the rest of your body), but it also extends the life of your toys. A good-quality, well-taken-care-of toy can give you many years of pleasure!
What are Your Sex Toys Made From?
I have good news for you: most sex toy cleaning techniques are the same, no matter what kind of sex toys you own!
That’s because how you clean your sex toys actually depends much more on the materials they’re made out of. Whether you have a vibrator, a butt plug, or a Fleshlight — take a look at what your sex toy is actually made from (not just what you think it might be), and go from there.
In general, we split sex toy materials into two categories: porous and non-porous.
|Other Soft Plastics||Glass|
|Vinyl||Wood (when sealed with body-safe sealant)|
|Silicone ‘blends’ (that aren’t 100% silicone)|
Here at Bedbible, we recommend you stick to non-porous materials wherever possible. They’re safe to be used in your body, and much easier to clean.
Porous materials, on the other hand, aren’t so body-safe. They have microscopic holes all over the surface that can trap dirt and germs like bacteria, fungi and more — stuff you don’t really want anywhere near your genitals! Some are even contain toxic substances, like phthalates, which have been linked to cancer.
It’s important to note, though, that not all porous materials are evil. Many can be used externally without damaging your body, in penis strokers and nipple toys, for instance. Just be aware that they are a lower quality material that requires thorough cleaning, and will most likely degrade quicker than sex toys made from non-porous materials.
How to Clean a Dildo
Read our full guide on how to clean a dildo here.
Dildos are one of the easiest sex toys to clean! Still, it’s important that you clean them properly and thoroughly, since they’re going inside you.
Most dildos can be cleaned with some simple soap and water. Take a mild, unscented soap and lather up your dildo using some warm water. Make sure to get into all the textures and crevices!
Avoid soaps with fragrances, moisturizers or essential oils, as these can leave a residue on your dildo that you don’t want to end up inside of you (if you want to avoid a bacterial or yeast infection). Similarly, avoid soaps with exfoliants, as they’ll scratch the surface of your dildo and create hiding places for germs.
If you prefer, you can use a toy cleaner instead. There are lots of different ones available, but one of our favorites is the Fresh Toy Cleaner spray from Lovehoney.
Silicone, steel and glass dildos can also be sterilized by boiling them or putting them in the dishwasher, as long as they don’t contain any electrical parts. If you’re curious, check out our blog post for all the details.
How to Clean a Vibrator
Read our full guide on how to clean a vibrator here.
Vibrators might seem a little more complicated to clean than, say, a dildo. However, they’re a breeze once you know what you’re dealing with!
Before you do anything, you should find out whether your vibrator is waterproof or not. Here’s a guide to what the different terms around sex toy waterproofing mean:
- Submersible = Your sex toy can be submerged under water and is completely waterproof. Also sometimes written as ‘100% waterproof’, ‘IPX7’ or ‘IPX8 waterproof’.
- Splashproof = Your sex toy can survive a quick rinse under the faucet or shower, but shouldn’t be submerged completely. Also sometimes written as ‘water resistant’, or ‘IPX5 (or lower) waterproof’.
- Not Waterproof = Your sex toy shouldn’t be exposed to water at all. These aren’t so common, but do exist, especially with wired or corded vibrators.
Submersible vibrators can be cleaned with same soap and water method as dildos, or with a sex toy cleaner. Splashproof vibrators can, too, as long as you’re careful to limit their contact with water (and avoid any charging ports).
If your vibrator is not waterproof, then stick to wiping it down with a damp cloth with a little soap on it. Alternatively, you can use toy cleaner wipes, like these from Lovehoney.
How to Clean Anal Toys
Read the full guide on cleaning anal toys here.
Anal toys, like butt plugs, anal beads or prostate massagers, come into contact with one of the… less fresh areas of your body. That means they need extra special care to keep them clean and safe to use.
First off, check what material your anal toy is made from, and whether it’s waterproof. Then, you can use the soap and water method, or the wipe-down method. Be sure to get into every single crevice!
If you want to be extra safe, consider covering your anal toy with a condom before using it. Your clean-up will be way easier, and you’ll protect both the toy and yourself!
Some anal toys can be sterilized, which can be a good idea if you want to share them with another person. Of course, you can only do it if the toy doesn’t contain any electronic parts.
How to Clean a Strap-On
Read the full guide on strap-on cleaning here.
It doesn’t matter who is wearing the strap-on, or who it’s being used on — it still needs a good clean afterwards, just like any sex toy!
The first thing to do is to separate the dildo and the harness. The dildo can be cleaned in the same way as a regular dildo, keeping in mind the materials it’s made from. If you have a strapless strap-on, you can follow the instructions for dildo or vibrator cleaning, depending on whether it vibrates or not.
How you clean your harness depends on which type of harness it is. Underwear-style harnesses are easy — just stick them in the washing machine like you would regular underwear (but avoid the dryer), or hand-wash them with some laundry detergent. Nylon harnesses are usually also machine-washable, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Leather harnesses are a bit more complex. You can wipe them down with a damp cloth and some saddle soap, and then apply some leather conditioner to keep it soft and supple.
How to Clean a Fleshlight
Read the full guide on how to clean a Fleshlight here.
Cleaning a male masturbator sex toy, like a Fleshlight, isn’t the easiest, or fastest, thing in the world. Still, a moist, dark environment like a masturbator sleeve is the perfect place for bacteria and mold to grow, so it’s super important that you learn how to clean it properly!
Plus, Fleshlights, and most other strokers, are made from porous materials like TPE. That means they can harbor all kinds of germs if you’re not careful to clean it after every use.
To clean a Fleshlight, you should remove the sleeve from its case and rinse it through with warm water and mild soap, or a sex toy cleaner like Fleshlight’s own Fleshwash. Make sure to lather up every part of the sleeve (you can even turn it inside out to get into all the crevices), then rinse off all the soap.
Drying your Fleshlight or pocket pussy thoroughly before putting it back in the case is also vital. You can leave it in on a towel in a well-ventilated area for a few hours, or use a Fleshlight drying accessory like the Fleshlight Air or the Hang Dry.
To keep your Fleshlight sleeve feeling soft and realistic, and prevent it from tearing, you can also use renewing powder. Just sprinkle it inside and out until it’s coated in a thin layer, and you’ll feel the difference immediately!
How to Clean a Sex Doll
Read the full sex doll care guide here.
As you might imagine, cleaning a sex doll is a bit more of a project than a Fleshlight. The most practical way, if you can lift your doll, is in the bathtub.
Run a warm (not hot) bath with some mild, unscented soap or bubble bath, and place your love doll in it. Make sure the head and neck stays above the water, and gently lather up the body. Alternatively, give your sex doll a sponge bath with soap and water, making sure to rinse it off well when you’re done.
If your sex doll has a vagina, we recommend getting a removable one so that you can clean it just like you would a Fleshlight. However, if it’s not removable, you’ll need to use a sponge, soap and a vaginal irrigator to clean it out thoroughly.
If your sex doll has a penis, you can clean it in the same way as a dildo! However, if it’s attached, you may find it easier to wipe it down rather than trying to get it under the faucet.
How to Keep Your Sex Toy Clean
Cleaning your sex toys is one thing, but what about where you put them afterwards?
Storing your sex toys correctly, away from dirt and germs, will keep them clean and fresh for you until the next time you want to use them.
Although it’s many people’s go-to way to store their toys, throwing your sex toys straight into a nightstand or sock drawer isn’t actually the best idea. With nothing to protect them, your dildo, vibrator or butt plug will pick up all kinds of dirt, dust, hair and more — all of which will end up on your genitals!
Many toys come with storage pouches provided to keep them clean, but if not, you can also buy them pretty cheaply. It’s best to store each toy in its own bag, as toys kept together can rub together and damage each other, or even stick together!
To keep your toys safe and out of reach of prying eyes and sticky fingers, opt for a storage box, like this lockable ventilated sex toy storage box, or any large toolbox. There are even storage cases that come equipped with germ-killing UV lights, like this one from b-Vibe, for an extra bit of protection!