It’s always time for a bit of cleaning — and that includes your sex toys. You should clean them more than one a year, of course, but this is as good a time as any to get into the habit if you aren’t already. Cleaning them helps them last longer and is obviously more healthy for you, too — but there are a few things know to before you get started.
Why should you clean your sex toys?
Here’s the thing: You never want anything dirty near your intimate areas and devices designed to be used there get dirty with use. Logically, it just makes sense you wouldn’t put them back down there until you cleaned them off.
“There are so many nasty things that can stay and grow on used sex toys (bacteria, viruses, dirt, dust, etc.),” Bedbible.com’s Rachel Worthington said
“I can’t stress how important it is to clean your sex toys after each use,” added Dr. Jenni Skyler, resident sexologist at Adam & Eve. “Besides helping your toys last longer, this prevents the spread of infection.”
When and how should you clean the toys?
You should clean your toys after every use. Period.
Worthington said that most of the time, thoroughly cleaning the surface of the toy is enough. Non-porous ones, like those made of silicone, glass, or metal, and porous ones like things made of PVC and jelly, can all benefit from simple soap and water. That’s it. Use a mild, unscented hand or dish soap and warm water. Get in the nooks and crannies of the toys with your fingers or a cloth and take extra time on toys made of porous material. Preventing an infection can be that easy.
Skyler noted, too, “Most toys include cleaning instructions, and there are numerous toy cleansers available.” Try to snap a picture of the cleaning instructions on the box a toy comes in before you toss it.
As for specialised cleansers, Worthington said, you can get sprays, foaming washes, and even wipes designed for cleaning your toys. Apply them, wait for however long the packaging tells you to, and then rinse it all off. Don’t put liquid on any electrical parts, of course, and use caution while doing this.
“The only issue is that they don’t always catch everything, and can instead just move some of the germs around, so you should also use soap and water if you can,” she said.
You can also boil your silicone, glass, and metal toys for a short period of time to get a deeper clean. Worthington said you can even send toys made of non-porous material through a dishwasher cycle if you put them on the top rack.
The most important cleaning advice, though, is this: Never use anything to clean your toys that you wouldn’t put inside your body. Don’t use bleach, alcohol, glass cleaner, hydrogen peroxide, or any abrasive scrubbing product.
Why is this important?
It might seem like common sense to give your toys a wash after use, but we live busy lives. Adam & Eve conducted a survey of 1,000 American adults in 2020 and found that 58% said they cleaned their toys after each use while 33% said they never clean theirs. About 10% said they clean theirs every once in a while. What’s more, when Adam & Eve asked those same questions four years prior, in 2016, 63% of respondents said they cleaned theirs after every use, nearly 28% said they never did, and 9% said they did every once in a while. The percentages of people who clean their toys every time went down from 2016 to 2020, as did the amount of people who said they did it every once in a while. The percentage of people who said they never cleaned theirs went up over those four years.
Become one of the few, the proud, the consistent sex toy cleaners. Your wallet will thank you, as will your body.