How To Clean Sex Toys PROPERLY (From Dildos to Vibrators)

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When thinking about sex toys, a lot of saucy things come to mind. But I bet that “god, I wanna clean you up so good” isn’t taking center stage in that mess of lusty ideas. But it should.

how to clean various sex toys

You see, cleaning sex toys is incredibly important. To keep your toys intact and your health safe, you simply must clean your dildos, vibrators, and whathaveyou.

Sex toy hygiene, however, is easier said than done.

But fear not! This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to clean sex toys, be they dildos, fleshlights, or vibrators.

First, we’ll cover basic tips that are applicable to all forms of sex toys. After that, we’ll jump into the more detailed stuff regarding every common sex toy material.


Cleaning Sex Toys: General Tips

While I do recommend that you read the more thorough sections below, you’ll still get some good, general takeaways here.

#1 Clean your Toys Before Using Them for the First Time

Regardless of the kind of toy or material, you should always clean it prior to using it for the first time. 

Exactly how you do this will depend on what the toy is made out of, but the cleaning ought to be thorough all the same.

Any toy can harbor harmful bacteria if not cleaned properly, making it a carrier of nasty diseases like chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, and more.

You should also inspect the toy for imperfections as soon as you get it. Scan for any bump or tear that isn’t supposed to be there.

Any crack can either hold bacteria or injure the soft tissues on your insides.

Once the toy is cleaned and dry, feel free to smell it. If there’s still a funky scent, odds are that the toy will bring you more health risks than it’s worth.


#2 Check if your Toy Is Water-Resistant

Some sex toys, like vibrators, have parts that really shouldn’t get wet. Before you do any sex toy cleaning, see whether your toy is water-resistant.

To check this, you can refer to either the instruction manual that came with the toy or google the toy (or its manufacturer if you want to ask them directly).

There are a couple of terms that toy manufacturers like to throw around in terms of water resistance. These are usually:

  • Water-resistant: can be splashed with water for a while without any problems
  • Waterproof: can be in water indefinitely without harmful effects
  • Splashproof: can get a little wet, but not recommended 
  • Dishwasher-safe: can be cleaned in a dishwasher (washing sex toys in dishwashers is a little tricky, and I cover it a little further down in this text)

#3 Use Mild Antibacterial Soap For (Almost) All Materials

For practically any toy, some mild antibacterial soap will do a decent job cleaning them.

It needn’t be harsh, since that may damage the toy if it’s made of more delicate materials (like skin imitations). Stick to unscented soap, too, since it’s usually milder.

The only exception from the soap cleaning should be Superskin, the material used to make Fleshlights. It doesn’t react well to soap at all, so go with warm water instead.

Pay special attention to any nooks on the toy (ridges in the texture, places where 2 materials meet, etc.). These spots are a haven for bacteria, so make sure they don’t go unaddressed.

The soap will clean your toy, but it won’t sanitize it. It’s fine if you don’t have a yeast/bacterial infection and don’t intend on sharing your toys. 

But if you want to sanitize your toys, try boiling, bleaching, or washing it in the dishwasher if the toy’s material can handle it.


#4 Boil Toys That Are Resistant to High Temperatures

For some materials, boiling is a quick and thorough way to get rid of any bacteria or nasty odors. These materials are stainless steel, glass (borosilicate, to be more precise), and 100% silicone.

Simply boil your toy for 5-10 minutes, and you’re set. 

Just take a few precautions when boiling metal and glass toys. You see, they retain heat really well.

So make sure your toy cools down before using it. If you’re boiling more than one metal toy at once, toss in a dish towel with them to avoid them scraping one another. 


#5 Keep the Toy in a Dry, Safe Place

For materials like hard ABS plastic (the stuff that Legos are made of) or silicone, storage is pretty simple.

They are non-reactive, so there should be no need for any special precautions. Silicone attracts hair and dust, though, so consider putting it in a plastic or cloth bag.

Toys made of questionable materials need to be stored separately, as they might react with each other.

Nine times out of ten, though, the original packaging works just fine as a storage option. If you don’t have that, a cloth/satin/silk bag will do.

Alternatively, you can just cram them in socks and store them away.


how to clean vibrators

#6 Clean Your Motorized Toys Differently

If your toy has electronic parts, odds are that chucking them in the sink is a bad idea. While some toys of this type are waterproof (like Dame Eva 2 vibrator), most will require a different approach.

Non-waterproof toys are best cleaned with a piece of wet cloth. Soak it with a bit of warm water and some mild antibacterial soap and wipe the toy thoroughly.

Be careful to not get moisture into any openings that lead to electronic parts. Of course, you should remove the batteries and/or unplug the toy before the cleanup. After some patting with a dry towel, the toy ought to be nice and clean.

Waterproof vibrators are even easier to clean. Simply run your toy through warm water and mild soap, massaging it to remove any filth. Pat it with a towel to dry it. 

Do not boilyour motorized toys unless the manufacturer specifies it can be done.


How to Clean Sex Toys: Material Types

Here, we’ll talk about the most used materials for sex toys and how to clean them properly.

Silicone

Porous: no | Toxic: no  

Soap: yes | Boiling: yes | Bleach: yes | Alcohol: yes

Silicone toys are among the easiest to clean and maintain. It’s non-porous (well, technically it’s micro-porous), non-toxic, and it doesn’t react to other materials.

The exception here is silicone-based lube, though some high-end silicone toys can deal with it. Do a patch test on your toy and see how it reacts.

That means that you don’t have to do a lot of work to keep silicone toys clean.

In most cases, a simple rubdown with warm water and a mild soap keeps a silicone dildo clean.

If you want to be more thorough, you can use a 10% bleach solution (leave the toy in it for few minutes) or rubbing alcohol, as long as you rinse it really well so that there are no residues left.

Cleaning Silicone Anal Toys

Since you know how to clean silicone sex toys, we might as well cover how to clean those meant for anal use. 

Besides the usual scrub-down, you might want to boil it every few uses (feel free to add a splash of vinegar). Silicone is micro-porous, so it can still retain some scent, and boiling it remedies that.

If the toy is pure silicone, then boiling it for around 5 minutes should rid it of the smell.


ABS Plastic

Porous: no | Toxic: no

Soap: yes | Boiling: no | Bleach: yes | Alcohol: yes/no

ABS plastic is a great material, much like silicone. It is just about as easy to clean – so a little rubbing in warm water and mild, scent-free, antibacterial soap is all you need.

If you prefer, you can just wipe it down with rubbing alcohol on a rag.

That said, you should not use alcohol if your toy is coated in polyurethane. Polyurethane is a strong water-repellant and gives the toy that shiny look.

That coating could degrade after the use of alcohol, leaving your toy ruined.

Also, don’t boil ABS plastic sex toys! The material will deform under that kind of heat (ABS plastic starts melting at 221 degrees Fahrenheit), destroying the toy in the process.


how to clean glass toys

Glass/Ceramic

Porous: no | Toxic: no

Soap: yes | Boiling: yes (if the glass is borosilicate and annealed) | Bleach: yes | Alcohol: yes

If you want to get a glass sex toy, try to get one made of borosilicate glass. These kinds of glass don’t crack as easily.

Also, consider buying a toy with annealed glass. Annealed glass is more heat-resistant, so you can boil it.

Whether it’s glass or ceramic, you should inspect the toy as soon as you get it. If it has any cracks or chips, don’t use it. These imperfections can cut you or store bacteria.

But if the toy is good, it will be smooth and non-porous, so cleaning won’t be difficult. There are three ways to clean these materials:

  1. Wash with warm water and soap. Rinse well, wipe it, and let it air dry. Don’t get the water too hot or the toy will retain the heat.
  2. Fill a bowl with water and a little bit of bleach (around 1:10 ratio of bleach to water respectively). Leave your toy in the mix for 10-15 minutes. Take it out and rinse thoroughly, and don’t forget to wear gloves. Then, wash with mild antibacterial soap and rinse again.
  3. Boil it if it’s quality glass (ceramic should be fine either way). Put a washcloth in the water to prevent scraping on the toy. Once out of the water, don’t touch the toy until it cools down.

metal and silicone butt plugs

Metal

Porous: no | Toxic: no

Soap: yes | Boiling: yes | Bleach: yes | Alcohol: yes

Being non-porous and toxin-free, the right kind of metal sex toy is a piece of cake to clean. Soap, alcohol, boiling – all of it works.

“The right kind” is the important part, though. So which metals work best for sex toys?

Best Metals for Sex Toys

These are the metals you want:

  • Stainless steel – smooth, doesn’t rust, usually isn’t magnetic, no perfect chrome finish;
  • Surgical steel – basically higher-end stainless steel, even more, resistant to corrosion;
  • Aluminum – same as stainless steel, but a little lighter (perfectly safe if anodized).

A lot of crummy toy manufactures will try to pass other kinds of metal for the ones above. 

If you are not sure about the quality of your toys, do not use the bleach solution method. Bleach has strong corrosive properties, in other words – your toys may rust. 


How To Deal With Thermoplastic Materials

Porous: yes | Toxic: no

Soap: yes | Boiling: no | Bleach: no | Alcohol: no

When talking about thermoplastics, the most common materials you’ll see in sex toys are TPR and TPE (thermoplastic rubber and thermoplastic elastomer respectively).

The Porousness Problem

The tricky thing about thermoplastics is that they’re almost always porous. So they’ll catch more and more dirt over time. 

Cleaning them is usually a chore, and you’ll only be able to clean the surface. Rubbing porous toys really well helps keep the toy safe for longer, but that just postpones the inevitable. The deep pores will stay rife with bacteria.

This is true even if advertised otherwise, sadly. As such, I can’t really recommend using them unless you’re absolutely positive that your toy is non-porous.


Cleaning Thermoplastic Toys

If you have a porous thermoplastic toy, you can make use of it for a while (no more than 6 months if you use it for insertion). Wash it with warm water and mild soap thoroughly to remove the most filth you can. 

ALWAYS dry these toys completely before storing them away to get rid of as much bacteria and residue as possible.

Discoloration on the toy is a good indicator that it’s gone bad. So keep an eye on any changes and get rid of the toy as soon as you notice anything. The same goes if you feel any itching or burning while/after using it.

You can use a condom to keep safer. Do make sure it’s made of polyurethane, though. TPs treated with mineral oil can degrade latex condoms so they can’t protect you. 


PVC

Porous: yes | Toxic: yes

Soap: yes | Boiling: no | Bleach: no | Alcohol: yes

PVC is very porous, so its tiny cracks will store bacteria, mold, and potentially harmful chemicals from cleaning products.

Even worse, a lot of them contain phthalates, which are reportedly carcinogenic.

All in all, PVC isn’t a good material to be putting in your delicate body parts. Even if it says “phthalate-free” on the box, that’s no guarantee since there’s little legislation preventing companies from just lying about it. 

All the same, if you do have such a sex toy, the best you can do is a surface-level cleanup. Dip it into warm water with mild, non-scented, antibacterial soap.

You can use alcohol, too. Massage the soapy water into the toy and rinse. Wipe it with a towel and leave it to air dry.


Jelly/Rubber/Latex

Porous: yes | Toxic: yes

Soap: yes | Boiling: no | Bleach: no | Alcohol: no

Much like PVC, jelly, latex, and rubber are pretty bad picks for sex toy materials. They’re porous, they smell, and they have a nasty chemical taste.

And since jelly is basically rubber with phthalates (if not mineral oil, to which some people are allergic) it’s especially harmful.

There is little you can do when it comes to cleaning. Wash it really well with warm water and mild antibacterial soap, wipe it thoroughly with a towel and let it air dry.

Now,

Natural Latex Rubber is not toxic as it is not treated with oils, but it is still a highly porous material.


Wood

Porous: no | Toxic: no

Soap: yes | Boiling: no | Bleach: no | Alcohol: no

Wooden sex toys can be coated with different finishes. Some last longer than others, and it’s important for you to know which one yours has.

If it’s polyurethane, for example, the coating will last a long time. On the other hand, some wax and oil finishes wear off in time.

Be sure to inspect your toy every once in a while to see if the coating is degrading somewhere.

As far as wooden sex toy cleaning goes, the good old water-mild antibacterial soap method works like a charm.

No alcohol or bleach, though! Abrasive cleaners are also a no-no, as well as rough cloth for wiping.


“Skin” Materials

Porous: yes | Toxic: potentially

Soap: yes | Boiling: no | Bleach: no | Alcohol: yes

This category includes a wide range of pretty similar materials. NeoSkin, UR3, Soft Touch, Cyberskin, UltraSkin are some of them. They’re used in all sorts of toys, from cock rings to dildos, but masturbation sleeves are the most famous ones.

Two things are vital here: the cleaning product and the drying method. 

You should use mild, antibacterial soap since the material is porous. You don’t want harsh leftover chemicals or bacteria rubbing against your junk. You can also use alcohol since it doesn’t leave residues.

It’s imperative to completely dry the toy before storage as it can grow mold. Air drying after wiping with a towel or paper wipes is the best way to do that.

Don’t try blowdrying it since the material is really sensitive to heat.

Once the toy is dry, pour some cornstarch on it to prevent the material from getting sticky.


Cleaning Fleshlights

Soap: no | Boiling: no | Bleach: no | Alcohol: yes (a little!)

Fleshlights are often trickier to wash since their insides can easily attract mildew and leftover bodily fluids. They aren’t impossible to clean, though: it just takes a little more effort.

The most important bit is to rinse out any cum or other bodily leftovers. Doing so is easy enough for the plastic part, but not so easy with the fuckable piece. Many have complex textures where grime can easily hide.

Before you start cleaning, separate the skin-like bit from the plastic container. A simple wash with some mild soap will take care of the container.

Next, run water through the skin material straight from the tap for around 30 seconds. If that isn’t an option for you, fill up a small tub with water, and submerge the sleeve.

Run your finger through the inside to force any gooey stuff out. You can turn the sleeve inside out to make it easier, but that’ll put a strain on the material, shortening its lifespan.

After that, pour a little amount of 70% isopropyl alcohol solution into the sleeve (you can pour it around the entrance, too). Squeeze the bottom end with your hand to trap it inside. Next, squeeze the other end and shake like you’re making a cocktail for 30 seconds. Then, pour the alcohol out.

Wipe the inside of the sleeve with a paper wipe or towel. After that, you can let it air dry (no blow dryers!). If you intend to put the toy on the radiator, make sure it isn’t hot. Otherwise, the toy might get deformed.

Check our Fleshlight Cleaning Guide for more in-depth information.


various anal sex toys dildos

Questions People Often Ask About Cleaning Sex Toys

Can you put your dildo in the dishwasher?

The best answer to this is: yes, but only some dildos, and it’s a bit of a gamble. Borosilicate glass can go into the dishwasher, for example, but other kinds of glass won’t take the heat. 

Silicone, borosilicate, and metal are the only ones that you should consider tossing in the dishwasher (unmotorized, of course).

Any cycle other than “sanitize” (or if your dishwasher doesn’t have that setting) will do a poor job of cleaning your toy. The best scenario for the dildo dishwasher cleanup would be if you’re washing more toys at once. 

Moreover, the dishwasher will likely use too much electricity to make cleaning a single toy worth it – and no, you can’t put it in with your dishes. Don’t put in any dishwasher detergent or bleach, either.


Can you keep a toy clean with a condom?

A condom won’t keep your toy clean forever, but it can help prolong its lifespan. Try to get lube-free condoms to avoid any chemical reactions. If you can’t do that, then see if you can find condoms with water-based lube. 

Latex condoms aren’t a great idea with porous materials (like PVC). That’s because these toys often contain oil that can break down latex. Polyurethane condoms work better in those cases.


Are sex toy cleaning products good?

Brand toy cleaners are good at cleaning the surface of a toy, about as good as soap. That said, they can’t reach the cracks of a porous material. They’re useful for a quick once-over.

You can clean your toys just as well – and better – with DIY sex toy cleaner solutions, i.e. water, antibacterial soap, bleach, or 70% isopropyl alcohol.


How often should I clean my sex toys?

You should clean your sex toys after every use. If you use the toy anally, make sure to boil it every once in a while, too (if it can be boiled) to rid it of any butt smells.


Wrapping It Up

Hopefully, you got enough useful takeaways on how to clean sex toys from this guide.

As you can see for yourself, sex toy cleanup isn’t all that hard. Nine times out of ten, it’s as easy as washing your hands.

So you really don’t have any excuse to be slovenly with your toys.

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