All of the experts agreed that most sex toys can be cleaned with mild antibacterial soap and warm water. (Be sure to wash them for at least 20 seconds, just like washing your hands! And remember to dry them with a clean towel.) Mintz recommends this for both a motorized or non-motorized silicone, stainless steel, or glass toy. Finn said this technique will usually do the trick for nonporous toys.
What about sex toy cleaners?
While a soapy washcloth and water works in many cases, you can also buy specialized sex toy cleaner. This is Mintz’s preferred method, and she advises people to look for a water-based cleaner that’s both alcohol and paraben-free. She recommends – and uses herself – LELO’s Toy Cleaning Spray. For those looking to compare options, Babeland has a toy cleaner as well.
“READ. THE. INGREDIENTS of any toy cleaner,” said Fretz, who compared cleaning an adult toy to eating anything delicious: You want to know exactly what’s going in your body.
“If you can’t pronounce most of the words listed, you should double check the liquid you’re using to clean your toys that go inside your body are not harmful. Also make sure your cleaner is compatible with the material of your sex toy,” she said. This information is usually available on the toy company or merchant’s website.
Also, do not put toy cleaners directly on genitals. Avoid bleaches and toxic cleaners. Remember, the vulva is extremely absorbent and you don’t want bleach anywhere near there.
“Just like in Broad City, you’ll want to avoid putting anything in the dishwasher that isn’t dishwasher safe, which is all vibrators and many plastics,” said Fretz. “Same goes for boiling toys, which can melt and warm most materials.”
Some nonporous material, like a pure silicone toy, can be boiled – as long as it’s a waterproof toy and there’s not a motor inside that can be destroyed by the heat, according to Finn. “Boil these toys for 1-3 minutes, making sure that they’re completely submerged and you’re keeping an eye on ’em.”
If you’re considering washing your toys in the dishwasher, know that dish soap can leave a residue – which is why Finn doesn’t recommend it. Non-motorized toys made of silicone, glass, or stainless steel can be placed in the dishwasher without soap for 5 to 10 minutes, according to Mintz.
What about cleaning sex toys with UV light?
If you’re looking for a gadget to help you with your cleaning process, there are two UV sterilizers on the market: UVee and b-Vibe UV Sterilizer Pouch. Finn calls both products amazing, but here’s a caveat: While they disinfect, they don’t clean.
Finn recommends you still wash or wipe down your toy with a damp cloth after use, because while UV light kills bacteria, it won’t get rid of, say, bodily fluids or dust.
Can I clean sex toys with wipes?
Yes, you can, but they’re really best used in combination with other methods. “Post play wipes are great intermediate cleaning if you don’t have a cleaner or running water on hand,” said Fretz, “but you’ll want to fully disinfect it with an anti-bacterial cleaner or soap and water as soon as you can.”
How often should I clean my sex toys?
After every use, without question. If you don’t do this, bacteria left behind can multiply exponentially, said Fretz. Since genital tissue is sensitive (and for those with a vulva and vagina, extremely absorbent), not routinely cleaning sex toys after every use could result in yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and bacterial vaginosis flareups.