How to clean sex toys 101

How to Clean & Store Your Sex Toys 101

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Everybody knows how messy a bit of self-love can get, making cleaning up a very important part of the fun.

Knowing how to wash your toys is a crucial step to staying healthy, clear of irritations, and keeping your precious little helpers alive through countless more orgasms.

First of all, you should never clean up with brushes or rags for scrubbing.

Instead, you should use your clean hands at all times because rags and brushes you could eat away at your toys over time. Something that could make your toys way less body-safe in the process by turning your non-porous toys into … well, porous toys. 

The way you’ll clean your sex toys will be completely dependent on the material of the toy itself.

To add to the confusion, different types of toys require different approaches as well. So read on for some more context-sensitive advice!

Silicone, Glass & Stainless Steel Sex Toys

how to clean silicone, glass and stainless steel sex toys

The great non-porous & body-safe trio.

These are the ideal toys not only for their safe composition but also for their ability to retain temperature as well as being very easy to clean & fully sanitize.

Please note that there are plenty of fake “body-safe” toys out there.

So if you’re not buying from a reputable site or company, your toy might not be made of body-safe silicone or metals. The best way to avoid this is to avoid buying your sex toys from sites like Amazon, Ebay, and Wish. But even then, some sketchy sex toy makers still manage to weasel their way into more reputable sites.

So if you want to stay safe, I highly suggest you look through our sex toy lists and guides as we always recommend body-safe toys and reputable retailers.

Otherwise, a good way to test if silicone is genuine is to do a flame spot test as popularized by the legendary Dangerous Lilly.

And yes, not all metal toys are made of Stainless steel.

The other few rare body-safe metals you’ll find are Aluminum & titanium, but anything else will definitely put you at risk.

How to clean?

If the toys have no motors or if they can easily be removed, clean up can be as easy as boiling them for 5 minutes.  This will ensure that no bacteria survive the attack.

This method is especially useful if you plan on sharing the toy between partners or your own very different cavities as it will fully sanitize your toys.

If you don’t need to sanitize your toys since you won’t be sharing them in any way and you just need a quick wash, scent-free mild soap along with a good rinse will do the trick!

For the toys with motors, mild hand soaps work well too. Just don’t submerge your toys if they’re not 100% waterproof.

Alternatively, if you want to fully sanitize them, spraying a 10% bleach water solution all over your toys followed by a good rinse will do the trick as well! Just be careful with liquids that might seep through into motors, or battery compartments.

As you can see, if you plan on sharing your vibrating toys between partners or your own orifices, you can still do so safely and cleanly.


Jelly, Hard Plastic, Skin Imitations, and Others

how to clean plastic, jelly and skin imitations toys

These are the “trickier” materials.

With these, if you’re not careful, they can easily become a threat to your health & general well-being. So think about getting something safer and easier to clean as soon as you can afford it ( especially if you’re the proud owner of a vagina )!

If you need inspiration, take the time to look at our top toys guide as we always include great budget body-safe options. 

Still, there are some plastic materials & Skin Imitations that are still considered safe ( in some situations ).

Toys made of ABS plastic are generally safe to use without any risks. They’re commonly found in clit vibes and some vaginal vibrators as well.

And while you shouldn’t use TPR, TPE, and Elastomer toys ( to name a few ) vaginally because of their porous nature, they are generally safe to use in masturbators/strokers.

Most importantly, you should note that these toys should never be shared.

Being porous, most of these toys are impossible to fully sanitize so you could put yourself or someone else at risk if you plan on sharing.

If your toy is made of anything else than ABS plastic, regular latex condoms won’t do the trick either as the oils used to soften these toys break down regular condoms over time. In that case, the only condoms that are going to work are polyurethane or nitrile condoms.

Heck, if you REALLY want to use those toys vaginally AT ALL, please use the above-mentioned condoms.  

How to clean?

Since most of these materials are porous, they will never be entirely sanitized. ABS plastic toys are going to be the tidiest but anything else with a bit of squish will always accumulate residue and bacteria, no matter how much you clean them. 

Still, if you have to clean them, mild soap followed by a good rinse should do the trick in most cases. Sex toy cleaners should work just fine as well. Just rinse your toys, spray all over, give it a minute or two to act followed by another rinse.

In any case, most of these toys must be replaced over time as they’ll start deteriorating after a certain number of uses.

When it comes to masturbators/strokers the instructions vary wildly from model to model, so I highly suggest you read our masturbator toy guide as we cover most of the popular brands & models out there!


Dealing with Odors

Even body-safe materials can still sometimes retain some unwanted odors, especially ( but not exclusively ) when using anal toys!

If the toy is made of silicone, glass, or stainless steel, you can just boil them with a bit of vinegar instead of using straight plain water. If that isn’t enough, soaking the toy in undiluted room temperature vinegar for a few hours should do the trick.

If the toy has a vibrator that you can’t remove, cover the silicone parts in coconut oil and let it sit for a few hours before washing again. If the toy is 100% waterproof, you can also use the room temperature vinegar method above.

For toys that are not body-safe, I’m afraid that nothing can be done and you should really start thinking about switching over to something safer!


How to Store your Sex Toys

how to store sex toys

When storing your clean sex toys, you have to make sure your storage space is clean and dust-free. This is why I usually recommend using good old plastic storage bins!

If you don’t have the space for bins and just want a nice and tidy way of storing your toys in your nightstand, we’re also big fans of the Liberator storage bags as they all come with double zippers. A simple feature that allows you to use a small luggage lock and keep roommates, kids, or animals ( I’m looking at you, dogs ) out of your business.

For something a bit more traditional, Sugar Saks is a solid choice as well. But if you don’t care so much about dedicated gear, large microfiber bags are another good option.

Looking for something a bit more secure? Many folks have had luck using Lockable Toolboxes as well as Safes to keep their sex toys away from family and roomies. Plus, they don’t scream “that’s where I keep the good stuff” at anybody who might be snooping.

Just remember that, before storing your toys, you should always make sure that they are entirely clean and dry as trapped moisture ( or worst! ) can lead to bad odors and mold.

Some toy materials should never touch.

Silicone, glass, ABS & body-safe metal toys should be absolutely fine if they are touching. But most other sex toy materials are rather unstable so they should be kept apart from each other & your other toys.  

While not as dramatic, I also would keep Dual-Density silicone dildos apart from other silicone toys as they can make them a touch sticky or slightly deformed. Of course, this will easily wash off, but keeping them separated will save you some cleaning.

This is simply because of different density silicone interacting with each other, but it’s nothing you should really worry about healthwise. 

If you are using a single box for all your toys, just put the unstable & dual-density toys in their own individual storage bags.


What About Sex Toy Cleaners?

Back when I first started working in sex shops, they always drilled us about the importance of using toy cleaners. You probably even had a clueless sex shop clerk perpetuate that myth to you as well!

Hell, maybe it even was poor old clueless me… and I’m sorry for that.

In retrospect, this was pretty much just a sales tactic in order for us to upsell as they are not really needed at all when you have access to a sink and some dish soap.

To add insult to injury, toy cleaners are more like the dry shampoo of the toy world. They do work well in a pinch, but you’ll still eventually want to fully sanitize your toys.

But in SOME cases I still find them to be quite useful:

  1. If you’re traveling and don’t know if there’s going to be unscented/mild soaps at your hotel, a small bottle of toy cleaner can be quite the lifesaver.
  2. When you’ve just had an intense orgasm that has left you unable to proceed with the usual clean-up. A bedside wipe and bottle can definitely help in a pinch. Once you’re ready for your post-coitus pee, just rinse your toy as you wash your hands, and it should be ready for round two or a more thorough clean-up once you’ve got all your wits about you.  Plus, it still beats leaving your love juices out to dry.
  3. Just taking a short break between sessions and plan on reusing your toy ASAP? Just wipe that thing off and spray it. When you’re ready to go again, just rinse it off and go crazy.
  4. Want an easy way to freshen up before or after a one-night stand? Just spray, wipe off, and have yourself a less sticky and smelly walk of s̶h̶a̶m̶e̶ / Victory!

While most toy cleaners are made equal and the brand rarely matters (as long as they are unscented, and don’t leave a residue), I still have a soft spot for Pjur Med Clean.

The Reason Pjur Med Clean is my top choice is that, on top of doing its job and being very discreet at that ( no mentions of sex or toys on the label ), it also cleans silicone lube stains pretty well. Just spray the cleaner over a stain and wash off normally! And since silicone is my favorite lube to use and my least favorite to clean, I’m not going to complain.

Plus, it comes from a reputable brand, which isn’t always the case with these cleaners.