Bang for your Buck: 11 Tips on the Cleaning and Maintenance of your Sex Toys

Posted On: February 23, 2021

This article was first published for PinkLifestyle.com here.

We all love to keep it exciting when it comes to sex toys, but we also need to think about the care and maintenance of them to enjoy for as long as possible.

Sticking to these instructions will help you stay safe – after all, we expose the most sensitive and absorbent parts of our bodies to these toys, so it’s important that we talk about sex toy cleaning and maintenance.

Porous vs. Non-Porous Materials

The specifics of cleaning and maintaining your sex toys will differ based on the materials they’re made from whether the material it’s made from is porous or non-porous.

Porous materials are usually used to make soft and realistic sex toys – these materials include different rubber varieties or PVC. Due to their porous nature, these toys will be harder to clean, as bacteria and other microorganisms can reside in the pores, potentially causing infection if not cleaned properly.

Non-porous materials, such as silicone, hard plastic, glass or metal, don’t have these pores over their surface, which makes the cleaning much easier. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to clean them thoroughly.

The Basics of Cleaning

Coco de Mer Toy Cleaner 100ml
Coco de Mer Toy Cleaner 100ml

No matter what material your sex toys are made from, you should always be washing them before and after you use them. While it may seem like enough to wash them after use, think about where your toys are stored and any dust, lint or dirt they may come into contact with. It’s better to be safe than sorry and wash your toys before, too.

  1. Choose the right soap for your sex toys. Many soaps contain artificial fragrance, which can affect the pH of your genitalia, potentially making you more vulnerable to infections. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the soap you’re using is unscented.
  2. There are some sex toy cleaners available on the market – however, these aren’t fit for everyday use and should only be resorted to in situations when you can’t wash the toy normally.
  3. Consider whether your toy is waterproof. Toys without batteries, or waterproof toys, can be washed directly with water, while you’ll need to use a damp cloth for non-waterproof ones.

Cleaning by Material

Porous Materials

Since porous materials are more likely to harbour microorganisms, regular cleaning is even more important. You’ll also need to be more thorough with the cleaning and maintenance routine.

  1. You may want to use a condom over them to prevent any hazards associated with their porous nature and make it safer to share sex toys with a partner.
  2. These toys are also much more sensitive to temperature. If you expose them to very hot water, they may get warped or otherwise damaged.
  3. Clean them with warm water and soap and consider whether the toy is waterproof.
  4. If your toy is made from skin-like elastomer, only use a little bit of soap – using too much could damage the skin-like feel of the toy.
ROMP - Flip Silicone Rechargeable Body Massage Wand
ROMP – Flip Silicone Rechargeable Body Massage Wand

Non-Porous Materials

Cleaning non-porous toys is a  easier, as there is a lower risk of them harbouring bacteria which could cause an infection. However, there are also some specifics instructions depending on the material, which you’ll want to keep in mind.

  1. Silicone, borosilicate glass or metal toys are, in general, the easiest to clean. Simply wash them with warm or hot water and non-scented soap before and after each use.
  2. Non-motorized toys made from these materials can be boiled for 3-5 minutes, to thoroughly sanitize them.
  3. One non-porous material which you don’t want to expose to hot water is soda-lime glass. This one is very sensitive to heat and, similarly to non-porous toys, could get damaged if exposed to hot water.

Store your Toys Safely

A big factor to consider in sex toy maintenance is how you’re storing them when not using them. The proper storage can help make your toys last much longer

  1. Completely dry your sex toy before you use it. This will prevent any mold or musty smell from developing.
  2. Use some form of packaging to protect the toy from dust or lint. You can always use the packaging the toy came in. This is usually a box or a drawstring bag. If you don’t have the original packaging, you can store them in a plastic box, silk bag or any other case that will protect them from the elements.
  3. Store your sex toys away from any cosmetics or fragrance. These could stick on your sex toy and act as irritants.

Responsible care and maintenance of your sex toys will ensure the biggest bang for your buck. Enjoy your sex toys!

Sources:

Brennan, F. (2020, March 6). How to Clean Your Sex Toys—Everything You Need To Know. Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-love/a19932343/cleaning-sex-toys/

Everything You Need to Know Before Buying A New Vibrator. (2019, October 13). Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-love/a19904260/how-to-buy-a-vibrator/

Garis, M. G. (2020, October 9). 6 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Your Sex Toys, According to Sexologists. Well+Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/cleaning-sex-toys/

Lanquist, L. (2020, August 5). How to Clean and Store Sex Toys Properly So You Can Focus on the Fun. SELF. https://www.self.com/story/how-to-clean-your-sex-toys-so-you-can-use-them-safely

Sloan, L.. (2021, February 14). Bacterial Vaginosis Is a Nuisance but Is Treatable. Health. https://www.health.com/condition/sexual-health/bacterial-vaginosis-is-a-nuisance-but-is-treatable

Stieg, C. (2017, July 14). How To Clean Your Sex Toys — Because, Yes, You Have To Do That. Refinery29. https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/how-to-clean-sex-toys-tips

Underhill, A. (2021, February 14). The Essential Guide to Cleaning Your Sex Toys (Yes, There’s a Right Way to Do It!). Health.Com. https://www.health.com/condition/sexual-health/clean-your-sex-toys

What’s the best way to clean sex toys? | Health Promotion | Brown University. (2021). Brown University. https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/health/services/promotion/content/whats-best-way-clean-sex-toys

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than 10 years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore. She is also a Red Tent Women’s Circles Facilitator from Star of Ishtar.

Often cited in the media, Dr. Lee is the appointed Resident Sexologist for PinkLifestyle.com; as well appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

Eroscoaching Logo

Get sex tips straight in your mailbox!

Subscribe to your FREE Eros Insider