Sex toys are tons of fun. They’re a way to spice up any sexual relationship, help to change the feeling of an orgasm and can bring couples closer as they learn what kind of sensations and vibrations make each other feel good. However, what won’t feel good are the consequences of not keeping those sex toys clean.
According to Dr. Laurie Mintz, professor of human sexuality and author of Becoming Cliterate, hygiene and care for toys is really important to preserve the life of the toy and to prevent bacteria build up. Otherwise, users significantly increase chances for discomfort and infections. Depending on the type and material of toy, care may be different, however, Mintz noted the basics start with warm water.
“For most toys, warm water and unscented soap does the trick,” she said. “But, just how you use that soap and water depends on if your toy is motorized (has a battery or motor) or not. If your toy is motorized, make sure to read the packaging to understand what can and cannot be wet. As a general rule, you cannot immerse motorized toys in water. Instead, you need to take out the batteries before cleaning or use only a damp cloth with soap. If your toy is not motorized, you can generally run the entire product under water,” she explained.
But for those of us who use their toys frequently and feel a little more intense cleaning is in order, there are ways to do so.
“If you want to do an occasional deep clean, you can also put non-motorized toys made of silicone, stainless steel, and Pyrex in the top shelf of the dishwasher without soap. You should never put glass toys in the dishwater or expose them to extreme temperatures. It’s also important to know that hard plastic, esastomer and jelly rubber toys, or in other words, toys made of porous materials, can still contain bacteria after washing with soap and water. So if you are sharing these toys, cover them with a condom before using,” Mintz said.
She also said to look for antibacterial sex toy cleaning spray (which also makes single-serve and couple’s sex toys).
“It is also the best I’ve found in terms of getting the toy squeaky clean without leaving residue,” she said. “Generally, you spray these on, leave on a few seconds, and then rinse them off.”
To help keep things clean when storing, Mintz also suggested looking for toys that come with their own storage containers.
“After washing your toys, you should dry them off completely and store them in the case or bag they came in. If you throw them in your bedside drawer without doing this, they can pick up other bacteria and all that washing might have been for naught. If you do this, you’d honestly be best advised to clean again before use,” she said.