Part of being the owner of a large and beautiful collection of sex toys is 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 to clean your sex toys.

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!

First, you need to find out what type of toy you have (and what it is made of).

Using the below infographic, you can find the cleaning method best suited for your type of toy.

how to clean sex toys infographic

Table to determine the best cleaning method:

MaterialCleaning MethodStorage
ABS plasticWarm water and soap or sex toy cleanerLint-free fabric bag
Crystal, StoneWarm water and soapLint-free fabric bag or padded container
Glass, Pyrex, Silicone, Stainless SteelMotorized: warm water and soap or sex toy cleaner
Nonmotorized: boiling water or sanitize in dishwasher
Glass and Pyrex: lint-free fabric bag or padded container
Silicone or stainless steel: clean container
Jelly Rubber, Elastomer, Latex, Cyberskin, PVCRoom temperature water and a soapy washclothIndividually in a lint-free fabric bag or nonplastic container
LeatherSpot clean with a damp, soapy clothCool, dry place (avoid storing in plastic)

What you need for cleaning

Here is a shortlist of the tools and things you need to clean your sex toys properly:

For Surface Cleaning:

  • You will need water. Either room temperature or warm (pre-boiled, not from the tap).
  • Use soap: Liquid hand soap or castile soap is preferred. While antibacterial soap is acceptable, it is not necessary. It’s important to avoid using harsh soaps like dish soap.
  • Have paper towels or clean washcloths on hand for air-drying toys after cleaning.

For Deep Cleaning:

  • Prepare a pot for boiling water: You can effectively disinfect various toys by first surface-cleaning them and then submerging them in boiling water for just a few minutes.
  • Gather bleach and a spray bottle (or another container for a bleach solution): Boiling and using a bleach solution will eliminate most, though not all, pathogens on your toys.
  • Consider using a dishwasher: Ensure your dishwasher has appropriate settings for disinfection. If not, it’s advisable to use boiling water or a bleach solution.
  • Keep paper towels or clean washcloths ready for air-drying toys after cleaning.

Optional:

  • Consider sex-toy wipes or cleaning sprays, though in most cases, plain soap and water are sufficient for cleaning purposes.

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.

PorousNon-Porous
PVCSilicone
TPE/TPRABS Plastic
Other Soft PlasticsGlass
JellySteel
VinylWood (when sealed with body-safe sealant)
RubberPorcelain
Latex
Silicone ‘blends’ (that aren’t 100% silicone)
Most crystals

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

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.

The quick guide to cleaning a dildo:

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.

What is Your Dildo Made Out Of?

Not all dildos are created equal! The important part is not if you have a suction cup dildo, a realistic dildo or a non-phallic dildo, but what materials it’s made from.

There are a ton of different materials out there, like glass dildos, metal dildos and silicone dildos. The material that yours is made from will affect how you should approach cleaning it.

Your dildo’s material will fall into one of two categories: porous or non-porous

Porous materials are, in short, bad, and aren’t particularly safe for your body. They contain microscopic holes that can harbour dirt and germs like bacteria, fungi and more, which are definitely not things that should be going anywhere near your genitals.

Some porous dildos even contain toxic substances that can do some serious damage to your body, like phthalates, which have been linked to cancer.

The tiny holes in porous materials mean that even your best dildo cleaning efforts won’t be that effective.

You’re also limited in the ways that you can clean them, as they can’t be exposed to high temperatures or they’ll break down.

Some of the porous materials you’re most likely to come across include:

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

When you’re searching for your new dildo, you should always try to go for a non-porous material, like silicone, glass, stainless steel, or even wood (as long it’s been sealed with a body-safe sealant).

These are completely microscopic-hole-free, and can be cleaned and sterilized in a number of different ways, which we’ll go over next!

Methods to clean a dildo

Soap and Water

Luckily for most of us, finding out how to clean a dildo properly doesn’t require anything more than what you already have in your bathroom.

The easiest way to clean a dildo is with good old soap and water. Take a mild and unscented soap and lather up your dildo with it. Once you’ve got into all the grooves and crevices (especially if you have a beaded dildo, textured dildo or a curved dildo), rinse it off thoroughly with water, pat dry with a clean towel and you’re done!

However, don’t reach for that super creamy, lovely lavender hand soap just yet.

You should really avoid using scented soaps, or ones with additives like moisturizers or exfoliants in them, as they can affect the pH balance of your genitals (especially if you have a vagina). This can lead to problems like bacterial or yeast infections – and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that those aren’t worth the trip to the Dollar Store you saved.

Of course, if your dildo isn’t waterproof, you should keep it away from water, which can be the case if it is a vibrating dildo or a thrusting dildo.

As an alternative, you can apply some soap to a damp cloth and wipe down your dildo well, before wiping it again with a clean cloth and drying it thoroughly.

Sex Toy Cleaner

The other way to clean a dildo that you may have heard of is by using a sex toy cleaner. These come in many different forms, including sprays, gels, foams and even wipes.

If you’re lucky, your new dildo may come with its own little packet of branded sex toy cleaner, but as a general rule, dildos can be cleaned with any good quality sex toy cleaner.

Some of our favorites include Lovehoney’s Fresh Toy Cleaner, and the organic Sliquid Shine Intimate Toy Cleaner.

Using one is pretty similar to using soap and water.

All you need to do it apply it to your dildo, leave it on for as long is it says on the packaging, and then rinse or wipe off the excess.

There is but one potential hitch: there’s some debate as to how effective sex toy cleaners can be if they’re not rinsed off properly.

They may not catch absolutely all the nasty stuff, so it can be a good idea to use them as a ‘sometimes’ solution to cleaning your dildo, alongside washing them thoroughly with soap and water.

The Dishwasher!

It’s time for the namesake of this blog post: how to clean your dildo in the dishwasher!

Let me preface this by saying that you can only put dildos in the dishwasher that are made of non-porous materials and do not contain any electrical parts!

Subjecting a dildo made of PVC, jelly or any other porous material to the high temperatures of a dishwasher will destroy it, no questions asked. You should also avoid putting natural stone dildos into the dishwasher, as they can contain tiny fissures that may cause them to explode!

To clean your dildos in the dishwasher, place them on the top rack of your otherwise empty dishwasher. Don’t add any detergent or soap, as it can leave a residue and harm your genitals.

If your dishwasher has a ‘sanitize’ function, select that to make sure that all bacteria remaining on your dildos are killed. Otherwise, use a cycle that lasts for 5-10 minutes and reaches at least 150ºF – though not longer, as your dildos aren’t dishes and don’t need it.

Sex Toy Soup

Sounds gross, I know, but this soup is definitely not for consumption.

‘Sex toy soup’ is a phrase used a lot to describe the method of boiling your sex toys in a pot of water to clean them. This is a quick and easy alternative to putting them in the dishwasher, and achieves the same goal of sanitizing them.

Simply boil a large pot of water (in a clean pot), with no soap or other additives, and then submerge your dildos for 1-3 minutes. If you’re boiling dildos made from stainless steel or borosilicate glass, you can place a washcloth in the pot first, or place them in a mesh laundry bag to protect them and the pot as they bounce around in the boiling water.

This can be a great solution for sanitizing some kinds of dildos, but you should be sure to take the same precautions and avoid boiling some materials as with the dishwasher method.

How NOT to Clean a Dildo

It doesn’t take much Googling to find a lot of contradictory, or just plain confusing advice on how to clean a dildo or any other sex toy. You can find a huge number of articles recommending all kinds of ways to clean and disinfect sex toys, but don’t be fooled – many of them are inadvisable, or even down right dangerous!

Here’s a simple rule to keep in mind: don’t use anything to clean a sex toy that you wouldn’t put inside your body.

That includes, but is definitely not limited to, bleach, alcohol, Windex, hydrogen peroxide, or any scrubbing products with abrasives in them. All of these could cause some serious damage to your skin and/or your insides, and you should keep them well away from your dildos.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dildo?

I know that the last thing you feel like doing after a satisfying session with your dildo is hauling off to the bathroom to clean it, but it really is a necessary evil.

Cleaning your dildo right after you use it, not after an hour or two, is the easiest way to ensure that it stays fresh, hygienic and ready for its next use.

It can also be a good idea to give your dildo a quick clean before you use it, too. Nothing too fancy – just a rinse to get rid of anything you may have missed before or that your dildo has picked up in the meantime.

How to Store Your Dildo

An often overlooked part of keeping any sex toy clean is by storing it correctly.

First off, please don’t just throw it in your nightstand or sock draw! Without anything protecting or isolating it, your dildo will pick up every speck of dirt, dust, hair and more, which will all end up in your genitals when you go to use it next. Gross.

Storing multiple dildos together also poses a problem, as they can damage each other as they collide around. In the case of PVC, TPR and other plastic dildos, storing them together can even lead to the sticking together and becoming permanently ruined.

However, storing your dildos doesn’t have to be an expensive or labor-intensive process. Here are some ideas…

Bags

The first is to put them in individual bags made of silky or satiny material. Thankfully, many dildos come packaged with one of these, which makes things a lot easier, but you can also salvage them from other products around your house. For example, one of mine was originally a drawstring bag for my boyfriend’s electric razor!

If that fails, they can also be bought from most sex toy stores. Lovehoney stock several sizes of their satin drawstring bag, all for under $5, as well as this fancier lace bag that’s perfect for gifting.

In a pinch, you can stick a vibrator in a clean sock or something similar to keep it away from germs, but it’s not a great long-term solution. The fibers and lint from those kinds of materials can stick to your vibrator, which is really what you’re trying to avoid.

Boxes

You can also store your sex toys in boxes or cases. If you’re into organization and want to keep them all together and orderly, this can be a good option. You can opt for smaller stackable plastic boxes, or one large case with compartments, like a toolbox!

One big advantage of storing your sex toys this way is that many boxes and cases can be locked – perfect for keeping your treasures away from prying eyes and sticky fingers.

There are also several brands that produce specially-designed sex toy storage cases. Some of my favorites include this inexpensive lockable case with antibacterial lining, the Joyboxx, which has a combination lock, ventilation holes and an easy-open top compartment for fuss-free access to your toys, and the Tallulah from Liberator, which is beautiful and looks right at home in full view!

If you really want to push the boat out, you can even find storage cases with UV light, like this one from B-Vibe. These are designed to kill bacteria on your sex toys! I wouldn’t recommend this as a replacement for cleaning your vibrators by hand, though – think of it as a supplement to your usual cleaning routine.

Learning how to clean a dildo the right way may feel a little overwhelming or annoying at first, but aren’t so many things that are ultimately good for us?

If you find ways to incorporate cleaning your dildo into your post-sex or masturbation routines, soon enough you won’t even think twice about giving them a quick scrub with a little soap and water. And your sex toys, and your genitals, will be grateful.

How to Clean a Vibrator

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!

Is your vibrator waterproof?

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.

What is Your Vibrator Made Out Of?

How to clean a vibrator will depend on a few different things, not least of which being what it’s made from.

In the sex toy world, there are two main categories of materials that we like to sort every toy into: porous and non-porous. Porous materials, like PVC, rubber, TPE and more, have microscopic holes in them that hide dirt and germs and make them unhygienic.

We generally don’t recommend buying sex toys made from porous materials – they’re very difficult to clean properly, degrade pretty quickly and can, in some cases, even contain toxic chemicals that can do a lot of damage to your body.

Non-porous materials, on the other hand, are the perfect candidates for sex toys. They don’t have any holes, making them much more body-safe and a breeze to clean, requiring just a quick wipe or scrub. Non-porous sex toys are usually made of one of the following materials:

  • Silicone
  • Glass
  • Stainless steel
  • Wood (sealed with a body-safe finish)

Soap and Water

If you thought that learning how to clean a vibrator properly would require buying lots of specialized lotions and potions, then think again. You probably already have what you need in your bathroom cupboard, or at least at your local dollar store.

The easiest and possibly most effective way to clean a vibrator is plain old soap and water. Opt for a mild and unscented hand or dish soap, and lather it on your sex toy with some water for a few moments before rinsing it off, and you’re all good to go!

However, you should avoid scented soaps, or ones with moisturizers in them, as they can affect the pH balance of your genitals (especially if you have a vagina) and lead to problems like bacterial or yeast infections. In fact, if you’re prone to those kinds of issues, you might even experience this using milder soaps – in which case, you might want to check our other suggestions below.

And, of course, if your vibrator isn’t waterproof, you should keep it away from water. Instead, use a damp cloth with some soap applied to it and give it a good wipe down before wiping again with a clean cloth and drying thoroughly.

Or keep reading for an alternative…

Sex Toy Cleaner

The other popular way to clean a vibrator is using a specially-formulated sex toy cleaner. These generally come as sprays, though there are also foaming cleaners and even wipes available.

Lots of sex toy companies make their own cleaning solutions for their products, but that doesn’t mean that you have to buy a specialized cleaner for each different toy that you get.

Just find one that you like and you can use it with almost every toy you’ll encounter.

Some of our favorites are the Before & After Foam Antibacterial Toy Cleaner, Lovehoney’s Fresh Biodegradable Wipes and the organic Sliquid Shine Intimate Toy Cleaner.

Sex toy cleaners

Using a sex toy cleaner is easy! Simply apply it liberally to your vibrator, leave it on for the length of time specified on the bottle, and then rinse or wipe off the excess and dry with a clean towel.

For non-waterproof toys, sex toy wipes are a great alternative, as they don’t require any water and only apply moisture where you wipe them. When cleaning these types of toys, be careful to avoid any electrical parts and remember to dry them well.

The only issue with sex toy cleaning solutions is that they often don’t catch absolutely everything (especially wipes!). If it’s possible, you should also wash them with soap and water when you can, and save the ready-made cleaners as an occasional time-saver.

Steer Clear of These!

There is a lot advice around the internet about how to clean a vibrator or any other sex toy, and a lot of it is contradictory or just plain confusing. There are all kinds of articles recommending all kinds of ways to sanitize sex toys, and many of them are inadvisable, even dangerous!

Here’s a simple rule I live by, and encourage you to do as well: don’t use anything to clean a sex toy that you wouldn’t put inside your body.

That includes, but is definitely not limited to, bleach, alcohol, Windex, hydrogen peroxide, or any scrubbing products with abrasives in them. All of these could cause some serious damage to your skin and/or your insides, and you should keep them well away from your vibrators.

You should also avoid putting your vibrators in boiling water to clean them. You may have of the infamous ‘sex toy soup’, where you place silicone toys into boiling water for a few minutes to sanitize them, but this isn’t a good idea when it comes to vibrators.

Hot water and electrical motors just don’t mix, and you may well break your vibrator by exposing it to too much heat. For this reason, you also shouldn’t try to clean your vibrator in the dishwasher.

When Should You Clean Your Vibrator?

How to clean a vibrator – time

It can be so tempting after sex to just cuddle in bed, or even drift off to sleep, but the reality is that your vibrator needs to be cleaned as soon as you’re finished doing the deed. Not an hour or two afterwards, but as soon as you can.

This may seem a little demanding, but it’s simply the easiest way to make sure that your vibrator stays clean, hygienic and ready-to-use.

My pro tip would be to just take it to the bathroom with you when you go to pee after sex, because you really should be doing that too (especially if you have a vagina)! That way, you can save a trip and start two good habits at the same time.

You may have also heard that you should clean your vibrator before you use it, too. And yes, in an ideal world, you could give it a quick rinse before getting down to business, which should take care of anything you missed before or anything that your vibrator has picked up in the meantime.

However, don’t panic if you get caught up in the moment and don’t manage to do this every time. If you’re storing your vibrator correctly, you can get away with skipping this step sometimes. Just scroll down to see the best ways to store sex toys safely and hygienically.

Why Should You Clean Your Vibrator?

How to clean a vibrator st 1

If you’ve read any of our content here at Bedbible before, then you’ll know that we’ll never miss an opportunity to remind you to clean your sex toys!

This is for a few different reasons. The first is that taking time to clean your vibrators, dildos and everything else simply makes them last longer! Cleaning slows the degradation of your sex toys’ materials, so that they’ll provide you with pleasure for many years in the future.

The second, and less fun reason is that not cleaning your vibrators can lead to some pretty nasty problems. Leaving your vibrator be after using it can cause an overgrowth of bacteria and viruses that can potentially lead to a whole host of conditions, including:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Yeast infections
  • UTIs – especially if you’re switching between anal and vaginal play without cleaning in-between
  • STDs like HPV or herpes

These potential hazards are present with whichever kind of vibrator you’re using, whether it’s an external clit vibrator, an internal anal vibrator or anything in-between, so it’s incredibly important that you figure out how to clean a vibrator and come up with a good cleaning routine for all of your buzzy and rumbly friends.

Fortunately, we’re here to help!

Are You Storing Your Vibrator Correctly?

How to clean a vibrator – storage

The last, and often most overlooked step of how to clean a vibrator (or, more accurately, keep it clean) is keeping them stored the right way.

Nope, just throwing them back in your nightstand or sock draw unfortunately isn’t enough. Loose vibrators rattling around somewhere like that can and will pick up all kinds of dirt, dust, hairs and more from their environment, and all that can transfer to your intimate areas when you next use them.

There are a few different ways to go about storing your vibrators and other sex toys, so you can choose which one is right for you based on your budget and the amount of room you’re prepared to devote to them.

Bags

The first is to put them in individual bags made of silky or satiny material. Thankfully, many sex toys come packaged with one of these, which makes things a lot easier, but you can also salvage them from other products around your house. For example, one of mine was originally a drawstring bag for my boyfriend’s electric razor!

If that fails, they can also be bought from most sex toy stores. Lovehoney stock several sizes of their satin drawstring bag, all for under $5, as well as this fancier lace bag that’s perfect for gifting.

In a pinch, you can stick a vibrator in a clean sock or something similar to keep it away from germs, but it’s not a great long-term solution. The fibers and lint from those kinds of materials can stick to your vibrator, which is really what you’re trying to avoid.

Boxes

You can also store your sex toys in boxes or cases. If you’re into organization and want to keep them all together and orderly, this can be a good option, whether you opt for smaller stackable plastic boxes, or one large case with compartments, like a toolbox!

One big advantage of storing your sex toys this way is that many boxes and cases can be locked – perfect for keeping your treasures away from prying eyes and sticky fingers.

There are also several brands that produce specially-designed sex toy storage cases. Some of my favorites include this inexpensive lockable case with antibacterial lining, the Joyboxx, which has a combination lock, ventilation holes and an easy-open top compartment for fuss-free access to your toys, the Tallulah from Liberator, which is beautiful and looks right at home in full view!

If you really want to push the boat out, you can even find storage cases that use UV light to kill bacteria on your sex toys! I wouldn’t recommend this as a replacement for cleaning your vibrators by hand, though – think of it as a supplement to your usual cleaning routine.

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

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 quick guide:

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 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.

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.

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.
SpareParts also make the incredibly popular Joque Unisex Harness

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.

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.

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!

Your (Realistic) Guide to Sterilizing Sex Toys

Cleaning your sex toys is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your toys!

But, is simply cleaning them enough?

Don’t they need to be sterilized?

Well, that’s what I’m here to help with. I’m going to break down exactly what it means to sterilize your sex toys, explain if and when to do it, and explain exactly how it’s done.

Why Sterilize Sex Toys?

I’m gonna be real with you — you don’t have to be sterilizing your sex toys every time you use them. You don’t even have to be sterilizing them once a week, or even once a month!

You want to know the number of times I’ve sterilized my sex toys? Zero. Literally never.

That’s because I only ever buy and use sex toys made from 100% body-safe, non-porous materials.

I clean them thoroughly with soap and water every time I use them, and I store them in protective storage bags or boxes to stop them coming into contact with germs and dirt.

With all that being said, there are some situations where you may want to sterilize your sex toys. This could be if…

  • Multiple people are using a 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.

Cleaning vs Sterilizing

So, what actually is the difference between cleaning sex toys and sterilizing them?

Sex toys can be easily cleaned with some water and mild soap, though how you do it depends on the toy. A simple dildo, for example, can be submerged in water and given a thorough cleaning. On the other hand, some toys are not waterproof, and wiping them down with a little soap on a damp cloth is a better option.

Sterilization is a deeper, more intense process. It actually disinfects your sex toys, making sure all bacteria and germs are killed by heating the toys to a high temperature.

It’s one way to make sure that your sex toys are 100% safe to use, but it’s also much more time-consuming and labor-intensive than just cleaning them. Plus, if you regularly clean your sex toys, you shouldn’t have to disinfect them with every use.

Which Sex Toys Are Sterilizable?

Please, I beg you, don’t just throw any old sex toys in the dishwasher in the hopes of disinfecting them!

Disinfecting and sanitizing sex toys requires very high temperatures and water — not things that every sex toy can handle. Here’s how to tell if your sex toy can be sterilized…

What Type of Sex Toy Do You Have?

This may go without saying, but you can’t boil sex toys with electrical parts in them. That means vibrators, thrusting dildos, automatic masturbators and anything else that can be charged, plugged in or uses batteries. There is one exception to this rule though: if you can remove the electrical element. Some sex toys have bullet vibrators that can be removed, leaving just the non-electrical parts.

You also won’t be able to sterilize very large or bulky sex toys, like sex dolls or sex machines. Some of these kinds of products do come with parts that are removable for cleaning, but not all.

If you’re in doubt, check the instruction manual or website of your sex toy — there’s often guidance on whether or not it can be deep cleaned in this way.

What is Your Sex Toy Made From?

Most of the time, we divide sex toy materials into two categories: porous and non-porous.

Porous materials are, in general, something to be avoided where possible. They contain microscopic holes that can harbour bad stuff like bacteria, fungi and more, which should stay far away from your body. These holes also make them incredibly difficult to properly clean, and as they hold onto germs and will break down with high temperatures. Non-porous materials, on the other hand, don’t have these holes, and are totally body-safe.

However, when it comes to sterilizing sex toys, it’s not quite so simple as “boil non-porous toys and don’t boil porous ones!”. There are some non-porous materials, like hard plastic (ABS), are body-safe but will simply melt in the high temperatures needed to sterilize them.

Here’s a guide to which sex toy materials can and can’t be sterilized:

SterilizableNon-Sterilizable
100% SiliconeABS Plastic
Stainless SteelPVC
Borosilicate GlassTPE/TPR*
Vinyl
Jelly
Rubber
Latex
Silicone ‘Blends’
* (including proprietary materials like Superskin and Fanta Flesh)

Sex toys that are made from crystal, stone or wood can be a bit iffy when it comes to sterilization. Some are sealed with a material that makes them non-porous, but it’s often hard to be 100% sure. I would recommend erring on the side of caution and not boiling these materials.

So, How Do I Sterilize My Sex Toys?

Once you’ve figured out which of your sex toys are safe to be sterilized, you can go ahead with the process. There are two main ways to sterilize sex toys that are safe and effective when done correctly.

Boil Them

Take a large, clean pot of water and allow it to boil. You don’t need to add any soap or other additives — just hot water will do the trick. Once it’s boiling, submerge your sterilization-safe sex toys for 1-3 minutes. If you’re boiling toys made from glass or metal, place them in a mesh laundry bag or add a washcloth to the pot first to protect them as they bounce around.

Stick Them in the Dishwasher

Sterilizing your sex toys in the dishwasher may seem a little intimidating, but it’s pretty simple. Place them on the top rack of your otherwise empty dishwasher, and use a cycle that lasts for 5-10 minutes (and not any longer, they don’t need it!) and reaches at least 150ºF. If your dishwasher has a ‘sanitize’ function, you can select that. Also, don’t add any detergent or soap, as it can leave a residue and harm your genitals.

How NOT to Sterilize Sex Toys

There’s lots of bad (and straight-up dangerous) guidance out there on how you can sterilize your sex toys! As a general rule, I would avoid any other techniques other than the two above.

Keep in mind that whatever you put on your sex toy will likely end up inside you. Even if you rinse off the surface, it’s hard to truly remove every residue — and some substances can cause damage even in very small amounts.

While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some ways NOT to disinfect your sex toys:

  • Bleach (or a bleach solution)
  • Alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Windex

What About UV Sanitizers?

You may have heard the growing hype around sex toy storage cases that use UV light to kill germs and sterilize your toys. While these products certainly seem cool, there are some downsides.

First off, it’s unlikely that they’re really able to sanitize every part of your sex toys, since they can only clean areas where the light can reach. Plus, they’re expensive, and very niche. A thorough clean with water and mild soap, and storing your toy in a protective pouch or box is perfectly adequate.

Cleaning Sex Toys With a Dishwasher: Does It Actually Work?

Yes, cleaning sex toys with a dishwasher does work (and it’s actually quite simple!).

After your toy has been cleaned off, you simply place your sex toy(s) in the dishwasher, turn it to “sanitize”, and run it through the cycle.

Easy enough, right?

Well, while this method might work fine for you, there’s also a chance that you’ll completely ruin your sex toy…

No good!

Keep reading to learn:

  • How to tell if your toy is dishwasher-safe
  • If using the dishwasher is worth it, &
  • Methods for effectively clean any type of sex toy!

Different Types of Toys

There are many different types of sex toys. Consequently, there are many different types of materials used to make these toys. When trying to figure out whether you can clean your favorite toys in the dishwasher, you’ll first need to determine what materials your toy is made of. The sections below will help you categorize your toy.

Non-Porous

Non-porous materials are dishwasher-safe. The term “non-porous” means that these materials don’t have pores in them (unlike porous toys). Since they don’t have any pores for bacteria to hide in, they can be sanitized and even completely sterilized with the right methods! This makes them ideal materials for internal-use sex toys like dildos or anal beads.

For better or for worse, there aren’t many non-porous sex toy materials. This somewhat limits your options when shopping, but it also makes it easy to remember which materials are non-porous! Your sex toy is non-porous if it’s made from:

  • Medical-grade silicone
  • Metal (such as stainless steel) – look for brands like nJoy
  • Borosilicate glass – look for brands like Icicles
  • ABS plastic

Porous

If your sex toy is made from any material other than the ones that are listed above, chances are, it’s porous! Common porous sex toy materials include TPE, PVC, “Jelly”, leather, and “silicone blends”. Porous materials are generally cheaper, making them popular for budget-friendly sex toys. However, these savings come at a price: you can’t sanitize or sterilize porous materials!

Not all is lost though: porous toys can still be safe to use. If safety is your top concern then we’d recommend using a condom with your porous sex toys. This will help protect you from any bacteria hiding within the pores of the material. To use (or not use) a condom is up to you, but you should always try to avoid toys with phthalates. If it’s not labeled “phthalate-free”, it’s not body-safe!

A Dishwasher-safe Sex Toy Will Be…

Non-porous

Completely waterproof

Free of electrical components

Common Toy Types You Can Clean in the Dishwasher

“Waterproof” Vs. “Splashproof”

The dishwasher method only works with non-porous materials. If you’ve determined that your toy is non-porous, you’ll next need to figure out its water resistance level. There are three common levels: not waterproof, “splashproof”, and “waterproof”. The first level is self-explanatory, but the latter two can be confusing!

Splashproof toys can be briefly exposed to water. However, they’re not designed for complete immersion and will likely fail if held underwater. These toys aren’t even shower-safe: keep them out of the dishwasher!

Waterproof toys are just that: waterproof! Since they’re are designed to be used underwater, meaning they’re just as effective in the bathtub as they are in bed. Some shower toys are manually operated, meaning they don’t rely on internal electronics (like a regular dildo). Those types of toys can be washed in the dishwasher! 

However, if your toy contains internal electronics (like a vibrating dildo), you should keep it out of the dishwasher. Sure, the silicone exterior might survive the heat of the dishwasher, but the internal electrical components likely won’t fare as well. Skip the dishwasher, and try one of the methods mentioned below instead.

Using the Dishwasher

  1. Make sure your toy(s) are dishwasher-safe.
  2. Remove any other items that are currently in your dishwasher (you’ll be washing the sex toys alone).
  3. Skip adding soap, since this will leave unnecessary and potentially harmful residue.
  4. Place your toys on the top rack in your dishwasher.
  5. Set the dishwasher to “Sanitize” (or similar mode with water temperatures exceeding 150º F).
  6. Remove your toy(s) after 10 minutes.
  7. Make sure your toys are properly dried before storing them away.

Alternatives to Cleaning Sex Toys With a Dishwasher

Realized the dishwasher won’t work?

Not to worry—there are plenty of other options!

Let’s start simple first, beginning with a method that works on pretty much any toy (regardless of the type of material used!).

Washing Your Toys by Hand

Handwashing is the basis of dildo cleaning. Requiring only some warm water, a bit of antibacterial soap, and about 2-3 minutes, there’s no excuse to skip this step. Both porous and nonporous toys can be hand washed! Even if you’re going to use the dishwasher, it’s important to always handwash your sex toy(s) first. We recommend washing your toy once using soap and water, then again using only water. This will remove any soap residue, leaving your toy clean!

Toy cleaners are an alternative to using antibacterial soap. Which method you use is a matter of personal preference. However, if you opt for the toy cleaner, make sure to read the instructions first. The label should tell you the recommended application method for that particular product!

Boiling

Boiling is a method that only works with non-porous, non-electronic sex toys. Metal and glass toys will nearly always be fine to boil, but some silicone toys may not be. It depends: is your toy made of 100% silicone or a “silicone blend”? If it’s the latter then you should avoid boiling it since the toy may melt! 

After hand washing a toy, you can boil it to sterilize the surface. Simply boil a pot of water, insert the toy into the boiling water, and leave it in there for a minimum of three minutes!

Using UV Lights

Ultraviolet Light sanitization is an expensive option that’s likely not worth your money. It requires purchasing a dedicated UV light sanitation box large enough to house your toy. Unfortunately, the UV box can only sanitize the parts of the toy reached by the light. As such, this method may not be effective in sanitizing more textured toys. Considering the additional cost and low effectiveness, we’d recommend sticking to the boiling method instead.

Cleaning Vs. Sterilizing Vs. Sanitizing

So far, we’ve gone over three different terms: cleaning, sanitizing, and sterilizing. Do they all mean the same thing? Of course not! Here’s a quick reference guide to help you tell the differences.

question mark icon
  • Cleaning refers to the physical removal of liquids, oils, dirt, and other foreign materials.
  • Sanitizing is a process that removes most—but not all—of the bacteria present on a sex toy. It does not include the physical removal of foreign substances.
  • Sterilizing a toy completely removes all bacteria and viruses from the surface. Like sanitizing, it does not include the physical removal of foreign substances.

Still Not Sure Whether You Should Be Cleaning Sex Toys With a Dishwasher?

Well, the dishwasher is actually for “sanitizing” your toys, not cleaning them! If your dishwasher doesn’t have a “sanitize” mode then you don’t need to worry, as putting your toys in there won’t do much. However, if it can “sanitize” then it might be a possibility, but if you’re unsure what type of material your toy is made from, just stick to handwashing. While this won’t completely remove all foreign substances from your toy, handwashing alone is normally sufficient (assuming you do it on a routine basis). 

It’s better to play it safe than to end up sorry!

Can You Boil Silicone Sex Toys Without Damaging Them?

“Can you boil silicone sex toys?” This is a common question for people trying to find an effective way to sterilize their sex toys. Well, the simple answer is yes: you can! Unlike other sex toy materials (such as TPE) that are easily damaged by heat, medical grade silicone is essentially invulnerable to heat. You would be able to melt it eventually (at 2577.2 °F), but practically speaking, it’s a non-issue. However, just because silicone is heat-resistant doesn’t mean your silicone sex toy is. Make sure to read below before shoving your toy into a pot: you don’t want to damage it, after all!

Why People Boil Their Silicone Sex Toys

You might think that boiling a silicone sex toy would help it get clean. This is partially true, though not entirely accurate. Actually, you’ll need to clean your toy before boiling it! Otherwise, boiling it may not achieve the desired results. Sterilizing the surface won’t do much good if there are still foreign substances stuck to the toy! If microorganisms can survive by hiding, you could get a bacterial infection even if you boiled your toy. Always make sure the surface has been sufficiently cleaned before boiling your silicone sex toy.

Sanitization Vs. Sterilization

The purpose of boiling silicone is to “sterilize” it, not to clean it. When you sterilize a toy, you’re killing 100% of the microorganisms (bacteria and viruses) on the surface of the toy. This process eliminates the possibility of bacterial infections directly after sterilization. However, if your toy is stored improperly then bacteria could grow on the toy, making proper storage an important element of the process.

Sanitization is similar to sterilization, but it’s not as effective. Whereas sterilization kills all the bacteria and viruses, sanitization only kills most of the bacteria. Sanitization does not kill viruses. Just like with sterilization, proper storage is crucial to preventing a repopulation of bacteria on your toy.

Silicone Vs. Silicone Blends

We know you can boil silicone, but can you boil silicone blends? You might be able to boil a select few with positive results, though we wouldn’t recommend it. The issue with boiling a “silicone blend” is you don’t know what it’s blended with. Chances are, it’s a porous material (like PVC or TPE) with a much lower boiling point! While the silicone might not melt, the other materials in the blend very well could.

Can You Boil Silicone Vibrators?

If you’re still wondering “can you boil silicone vibrators?”, chances are, you haven’t tried it yet. This is good news: Don’t!

Remember how—with silicone blends—the silicone itself wouldn’t get damaged but the other materials could? It’s the same thing with silicone sex toys containing electronical components.

While boiling your silicone sex toy won’t damage the silicone exterior, it likely will damage the internal components of the toy. This means your favorite vibrating, pulsing, or thrusting toy won’t be able to do its job anymore! 

The “Safe to Boil” Silicone Sex Toy Checklist

  • Made from 100% silicone
  • Doesn’t contain electronic components
  • Has already been surface cleaned

How to Clean a Silicone Sex Toy

The Cleaning Process

Cleaning your silicone sex toy is a prerequisite to boiling it. Fortunately, you can clean your toy easily using only water and antibacterial soap! First, wash the toy off with water and soap, making sure to reach every part of the toy. Next, wash the surface again using only water. Once all the soap residue has been removed, you can either store or sterilize your silicone sex toy.

The cleaning process above works for both non-porous and porous sex toys. Non-porous materials (like silicone, glass, or stainless steel) don’t have any pores for bacteria to hide in, which means they can also be sterilized. Porous materials (such as PVC) have many microscopic holes for bacteria to hide in, which is why they can’t be sterilized, only cleaned.

The Sterilization Process

To sterilize your silicone sex toy, you’ll first need to find a pot big enough to submerge the toy in.

Once you’ve found one, fill it most of the way with water and bring this up to a boiling temperature. Submerge your sex toy in the boiling water for a minimum of three minutes before removing it.

The Drying Process

If you don’t properly dry your toy before storing it away, all your cleaning and sterilization efforts will have been wasted!

Bacteria rely on moisture to live, so removing the moisture will prevent bacteria from growing on your toy.

Some toys have select drying machines made specifically for them. If yours doesn’t, don’t fret! Simply follow the steps below.

  1. Pat your sex toy dry with a paper towel.
  2. Leave your toy out to finish air-drying (you can use a fan to expedite this process!).
  3. Store your toy in a clean, moisture-free environment.

What If I Don’t Clean My Silicone Sex Toy?

CLEAN YOUR SEX TOYS! It doesn’t matter if they’re silicone or not, all reusable sex toys need to be cleaned. Sex toys are exposed to many different contaminants, including sweat, oils, lubricants, and bodily fluids. These all cover the toy with moisture, which provides a perfect place for bacteria to hide & prosper. Even a toy left unused can collect dust and dirt!

If you decide to forgo skipping your sex toys then you should expect to get an infection. This could be in the form of bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection, or a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). If your toy is used anally, you also risk contracting E. coli, Salmonella, parasites, hepatitis, and other bacterial infections. Furthermore, uncleaned sex toys that are shared between multiple partners can give you STDs. 

The main benefit of using a silicone sex toy is that it’s non-porous and can be sterilized. However, if you’re not bothering to clean it then it can still harbor bacteria, which defeats the purpose of specifically buying a silicone sex toy. Be smart, and clean your sex toys after every use!

What If I Don’t Boil My Silicone Sex Toy?

While the chance of getting an infection is slightly higher, you’re not required to boil your silicone sex toys. As long as you’re cleaning it after every use using antibacterial soap, your toy should be safe to use! If boiling simply isn’t a possibility but you want to be extra safe, consider using a condom for added protection.

Is It Okay to Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Sex Toys?

Cleaning your sex toys is important, especially if you share your sex toy or it’s used on multiple areas of the body.

A Bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Is it okay to use hydrogen peroxide to clean sex toys?

But, is it okay to use hydrogen peroxide to clean sex toys?

The answer to that is yes and no.

The reason being is that sex toys are made from a variety of materials, some of which need to be cleaned with a material-safe product.

Therefore, we are going to discuss what you should and should not use to clean your sex toys and the reasons why.

Can You Clean Sex Toys with Alcohol?

Alcohol is a product that is used to clean and sterilize many things; from your body prior to getting blood drawn to thermometers and surfaces.

But, can you clean sex toys with alcohol?

Just like hydrogen peroxide, yes, you can clean some sex toys with alcohol and some, you cannot. Read further to find out why.

What Are Your Sex Toys Made Of?

How you cleanse your sex toys depends entirely on the material from which your sex toys are made.

And, if you are currently the owner of a tried and true, battery-operated plaything and have since thrown out its original packaging, it may be time to purchase a new sex toy so you know exactly what your adult toy is made of.

Therefore, some sex toys can be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, depending on their material. So, what are your sex toys made of?

ABS (Plastic)

ABS is the technical term for hard plastic. You will find this type of material in many sex toys including vibrators, massagers and bullets. Plastic is non-porous but can crack with age or being dropped.

TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber) TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) and SEBS (Styrene Ethylene Butylene Styrene)

TPR, TPE and SEBS are materials found in the vast majority of sex toys that are soft and rubbery. Those sex toys are jelly-like, with clear or bright colors. Additionally, some can look like flesh tone and be named something with the word “skin” in the title. These sex toy materials are extremely porous, can dry out, crack or start to peel.

Plus, some of these toys contain Phthalates, a material known to cause cancer. Although some manufactures now use TPR and TPE that are Phthalate-free, that doesn’t lessen the risks of spreading bacteria via porous materials.

PVC

PVC, yes, like the white plastic pipes used in plumbing, is used to make sex toys. PVC has a bit of rubber added to soften the sex toy and may include toxic chemicals that can cause burns, irritation and cancer. PVC is also a porous material.

Latex

Latex sex toys are soft and flexible. However, latex breaks down easily, especially if used with any other lubricant aside from water-based solutions. Latex is also porous and can cause allergic reactions in some people, of which can be deadly to those with latex allergies.

Cyber Skin, Real Skin

Many sex toys are labeled with Cyber Skin, real Skin, Real Feel and other names to distract you from the fact that they are made from TPR, TPE or SEBS. These materials break down quickly and are extremely porous.

Borosilicate Glass, Lime Glass

Glass sex toys are made from the same type of glass you find in Pyrex dishes. Glass sex toys are non-porous and a great hypoallergenic alternative to other materials. Sex toys made of glass are beautiful as well.

Wood

When I think of wooden sex toys the first thing that pops into my mind is my partner “down there” with a magnifying glass and tweezers searching for splinters. But wooden toys are extremely smooth, coated with safe resins and are non-porous. However, prolonged use can wear down the coating and create a porous, unsafe sex toy.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel sex toys may look like BDSM, pain-inducing gadgets but they are actually safe, non-porous sex toys that are perfectly acceptable playthings for couples and solo sex toy users. Stainless steel can also be heated and cooled, providing exciting sensations.

Silicone

Silicone is a soft, flexible material that is body-safe and hypoallergenic. Silicone is also non-porous and doesn’t crack, peel or dry out as long as it is cared for properly. However, some silicone sex toys can be pricier and not budget-friendly for some people.

Silicone Mixes

Silicone mixes like SEBS silicone or Real-Feel silicone are not silicone. These sex toy materials are mostly porous, as mentioned above and contain very little to no silicone at all.

Safe Ways to Clean Sex Toys

Hand holding a bar of soap with bubbles. Is it okay to use hydrogen peroxide to clean sex toys?
You Can Wash Most Sex Toys with Soap and Water

Now that I have given you the lowdown on the materials with which sex toys are made, what are the safe ways to clean sex toys and is it okay to clean sex toys with hydrogen peroxide?

Sure, standing at the sink and giving your dildo a good scrubbing is something that conjures up awkward images. However, cleaning your sex toys, no matter what they are made from, is extremely important.

You see, we have all sorts of good and bad bacteria in and around our naughty bits. And because of that, we can easily get an infection such as Vaginosis (think fish market), urinary tract infections, yeast infections (makes me itch just thinking about it) and sexually transmitted disease, especially if you share your sex toys with a partner.

Therefore, here are the safe ways to clean sex toys including answering the question if it is okay to clean sex toys with hydrogen peroxide. These cleaning tips are listed by the materials from which your sex toys are made.

  • TPR, TPE, SEBS, PVC, silicone mixes and skin-type sex toys should not be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, rather, they should be cleaned with good, old-fashion soap and warm water. Be sure and rinse well and dry your sex toys afterward. And, if you have a skin-like product, use the restoration powder after washing and drying in order to keep the toy from degrading. You can also use available sex toy cleansers although you should always rinse the product off, even if the directions say otherwise.  And, one word of warning; never, ever share sex toys made of these materials.
  • Latex sex toys are extremely delicate. Therefore, this type of sex toy should also be washed with soap and warm water then dried completely before storing. Avoid hydrogen peroxide and toy cleansers as they contain harsh chemicals that can break down latex very quickly.
  • Wood sex toys are safe to clean using soap and warm water as well as sex toy cleansers and hydrogen peroxide. But (and this is a very big but), always inspect your wooden sex toys for wear. The reason being is that if the coating wears down, your wooden sex toy is no longer sealed and suddenly becomes an extremely porous product.
  • ABS plastic sex toys are easy to clean using soap and warm water, sex toy cleansers, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol as the material is completely non-porous. However, be sure and rise well as not to leave any chemical residue behind.
  • Silicone sex toys should be washed with soap and warm water as well. Additionally, sex toys cleansers work well on this material. Just be sure and rinse all cleansing products from your silicone sex toy, as not to expose yourself to those harsh, cleaning chemicals. And to answer the question in regard to using hydrogen peroxide to clean your silicone sex toy, no, you should not.
  • Stainless steel and glass sex toys can be cleaned with a variety of different things including hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. Additionally, you can cleanse stainless steel and glass sex toys with sex toy cleansers, soap and water as well as boiling them.

Protect Your Naughty Bits: Keep Those Sex Toys Clean and Safe!

Protect your naughty bits by keeping those sex toys clean! Why? Because sex toys made of porous materials that have microscopic pores which can harbor bacteria and viruses. Thus, without proper cleaning, your sex toy can give you yeast and bacterial infections as well as spreading STDs, if you share your sex toys with a partner.

Further, if you cleanse your sex toy improperly, for instance, using hydrogen peroxide on a sex toy made from a soft material (yes, even silicone!), it can break down the material. That causes larger pores, cracks and destruction of the materials which can harbor infection-causing bacteria and viruses

Finally, it’s best to use soap and water or a sex toy cleanser for all of your sex toys although you can clean stainless steel, PVC plastic and glass sex toys with hydrogen peroxide. That way, you can ensure your playthings remain safe and last for many steamy encounters to come.