Sex toys and vibrators should be cleaned regularly to ensure safe, hygienic use. Want to learn how to clean them properly? Read this short guide and find out.
Why is it important to clean intimate toys?
The answer is simple. Without proper cleaning, bacteria and germs can accumulate and remain on the surface of toys after they’re used. If you don’t remove the bacteria and germs, they can re-enter the body, causing problems like vaginal or urinary tract infections. STIs can also be spread by shared toys.
To prevent that from happening, it’s important to disinfect your toys every time you use them. And remember to give them special care if you're using them with a partner. You’ll also want to clean them thoroughly before using them for the very first time.
A question of material
Bacteria and germs generally multiply more slowly on silicone or ABS plastic accessories, which are often of better quality than common plastics or rubber.
In general, non-porous materials - silicone, glass, ceramic, stainless steel, etc. - are easier to disinfect than porous materials such as rubber or vinyl.
How do I clean a silicone toy?
Most silicone toys can be cleaned with a clean washcloth, lukewarm water and a mild soap containing no perfume, oil or detergent. If required, you can also use a menstrual cup cleanser with a pH adapted to intimate mucous membranes.
Simply follow these four steps for effective cleaning:
- Rince the toy with water
- Gently rub cleanser on the toy with a washcloth
- Rince the toy again thoroughly to remove any product
- Let it air dry
For toys without motors or electronic components, bacteria can also be eliminated by bathing in boiling water for three to five minutes.
How do I proceed with other materials?
Like silicone toys, glass, ceramic and stainless steel accessories have non-porous surfaces. You can therefore use similar methods to clean and disinfect them. When cleaning, make sure they are not cracked or chipped - and remember that their temperature will rise considerably if you immerse them in boiling water.
For most porous materials, cleaning with water and mild soap is the safest solution, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Extra care is needed, however, as bacteria, fungi and mildew are more likely to lodge below the surface.
What about specialized products for cleaning sex toys?
Cleansers designed for intimate accessories effectively disinfect non-porous surfaces. Available in spray, pump or wipe form, these pH-neutral antibacterial and antifungal solutions offer lightning-fast cleaning. Simply apply to the entire surface of the toy, wait about five seconds, then rinse with lukewarm water.
Whichever formula you choose, make sure it contains no alcohol, dyes or whitening ingredients.
Special precautions to take with motorized toys...
Vibrating toys feature a motor that’s powered by batteries or a wall charger. While those motors are generally well protected so cleaning them with lukewarm water won't harm their operation, it’s important to read the cleaning instructions supplied with the product to avoid unpleasant surprises. Always ensure you remove any batteries, and don't leave the toy submerged under water for too long.
Storing toys after cleaning...
First, dry them thoroughly. Storing toys that are wet can encourage the growth of bacteria and negate the effects of your cleaning. And it's best to let toys air-dry rather than use a towel, which could harbour bacteria itself. If that isn't possible, make sure you use a dry cloth that won't leave any foam or residue on the surface, and then pat the accessory dry. When you’re finished, slip it into a clean cloth bag before storing.
Choosing the right lubricant: an essential precaution
In addition to proper cleaning, using a quality lubricant can help extend the life of your intimate toys. Try to use water-based products that won't weaken the accessory, unlike oil- or petroleum jelly-based lubricants.
The use of water-based lubricants is particularly important for silicone toys, but this type of formula is also suitable for other materials.