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  • Writer's pictureLayla

Sex Toy Safety 101 - Cleaning

It’s essential to know how to properly clean your sex toys. Correctly caring for your toys helps prolong their life, as well as keeping you/your partner safe while using them. Different materials and types of toys require different care; if you don’t look after them properly you run the risk of causing the material to degrade, damaging yourself/your partner with an unsafe toy, or spreading infection.


If you use non-porous toys for solo play, and you didn’t have an infection the last time you used them; then a quick wash with warm water & a gentle soap or toy cleaner should be fine.

Dishwasher: A well-known way to wash toys; however there are a few not-so-well-known rules you need to follow to make sure your toys are properly cleaned and aren’t damaged. Only use your dishwasher to clean your toys if it has a ‘sanitise’ cycle available; sanitising means that you’re killing most living organisms, enough to make it safe to use. Before you use the dishwasher to clean your toy, give it a quick rinse with soap & water to wash off any dried lube/hairs/dust. Place the toy in the top drawer of the dishwasher and set the cycle to sanitise. Make sure you DO NOT have any detergent or dish-washing liquid in there while running the cycle.

Dish-washer friendly materials: silicone, glass, medical-grade stainless steel. DO NOT use the dishwasher for any vibrator, regardless of material type

10% Bleach Solution: A great way to sanitise non-porous toys between partners; which totally eliminates the risk of a yeast infection or STI being spread from one partner to another. Soak the toy in a 10% bleach solution for 5-10 minutes, then rinse well with water.

I’ve seen reputable stores telling clients not to clean their metal toys with bleach; you can, but you need to make sure you NEVER heat the bleach (which is bad for you, as well as your toys). Just soak your toy for 3 minutes in a 10% bleach solution then thoroughly rinse with a mild soap and water to wash off any traces of the bleach.

Bleach friendly materials: Silicone, glass, metal, Nobessence wooden toys

Boiling: My favourite way to clean toys as it’s so easy and totally sterilises the toy, making non-porous toys safe to share between partners. Give your toy a quick rinse with soap & water, put a pot full of water on the stove, bring to the boil and put your toys in for 5-10 minutes. If you’re boiling metal, just do one toy at a time and put a dishcloth at the bottom of the pot so the metals aren’t in direct contact, otherwise small damages can occur making it unsafe to use. Boiling is also a great way to stop your anal toys from smelling after prolonged use.

Boiling friendly materials: silicone, glass, metal

Toy Cleaner: There are lots of different toy cleaners out on the market nowadays; however, unless you frequently share toys with others and are wanting to use toys on multiple people in the same scene, they are a bit of an unnecessary expense. A lot of salespeople will try and market toy cleaner to those buying porous toys, using words like ‘anti-bacterial’. It doesn’t matter how good a cleaning product is, it is impossible to sanitise porous toys.

Wipe down method: The best way to clean vibrators so that they don’t get damaged. Get an old, soft toothbrush and slightly dampen it before using it to brush any dirt/dried lube out of the ridges & crevices on your toy. Dampen a washcloth with warm, soapy water & give your toy a good wipe-down. Make sure you allow it to properly dry before putting it away.

If you share your vibrators with people you aren’t fluid bonded with, using rubbing alcohol for a wipe-down before using warm water to wipe off any excess would be a more hygienic option.

Wipe-down friendly toys: All toys can be cleaned with the soap & water wipe-down method.

Rubbing alcohol friendly toys: ABS, glass, wood, metal. Check with the manufacturer before using rubbing alcohol on silicone.

Condoms: I’ve seen people use condoms on toys for a few different reasons; if they’re worried a toy hasn’t been properly sanitised since its last use, if they know it’s a porous toy that can not be fully cleaned or if they suspect the toy to contain toxins in it. If you’re using it for the first two reasons, just make sure the condom either has no lube or water-based lube in it; as some condoms use silicone-based lube which can damage silicone toys. If you’re using a condom because you’re worried about toxins, don’t use a latex-based one! Many porous toys are covered with oil (intended to help soften the toy) which breakdown latex. Instead, use a polyurethane condom.

Before you use a toy, even if the last time you played with it was yesterday, make sure to thoroughly inspect the toy. For glass, metal & wood make sure it hasn’t become cracked or dented/pitted. If it has, it needs to be thrown out as it is no longer body-safe. For silicone/jelly/Cyberskin you want to check for any discolouration which could indicate that bacteria/mildew is growing in the pores. Again, if you find any imperfections throw out the toy immediately.

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