How to clean a sex toy

How To Clean Your Sex Toys

Sarah Riccio

So you’ve invested in some sex toys, and now you’re wondering how to preserve them in order to enjoy a long, fruitful life together. Well, I’ve got news for you! Proper wash care is paramount to keeping your toys safe, long-lasting, and (on special occasions) suitable for sharing with others. 

Below, I’ve detailed all the tips and tricks you’ll ever need to effectively clean your sex toys. Let’s get started!

When Should I Wash My Sex Toys?

Before I tell you how to clean them, let’s talk about when you should do it. 

  • When It Arrives: I always recommend washing any sex toy you purchase as soon as you unbox it. Even if you’re not going to use it right away, it’s good practice to give your toys a thorough once-over wash to rid them of any bacteria or dust they may have picked up in transit.
  • Before Playtime: Clean your toys before getting down to business. You might be thinking, “But I washed them when they arrived and haven’t used them since!” Doesn’t matter. Your toys can collect dust, pet dander, and any other bacteria that might be hanging out in your bedside table.
  • After Playtime: No need to wash your toys the moment you’re done cumming; please feel free to bask in the afterglow for a bit. But when you’re ready, grab your toys and give them a complete clean. Whether you’re playing solo or with partners, it is very important to sanitize your toys after every use. Otherwise, you risk all kinds of bacterial buildup that can degrade your toys, disrupt your pH balance, irritate your skin, or even spread STIs.

How to clean the we-vibe chorus

How Should I Wash My Sex Toys?

Okay, here comes the (slightly) tricky part. The way you clean your sex toys totally depends on what materials you’re working with, so there isn’t one all-encompassing maintenance rule that works for every pleasure product. But don’t worry — I’ve laid it all out for you below.

  • Silicone: Silicone toys are easy to clean in that there are many ways to do it. You can wash them with mild soap and hot water, or spray them down with toy cleaner. You can also run them through a dishwasher with no detergent, but be sure to place them on the top rack to avoid super high heat. For an extra sterilizing clean, you can boil your silicone toys too (the ones that aren’t motorized or battery operated, that is!). 

  • Glass: The same rules that apply to silicone apply to glass… except when it comes to boiling. A rumbling boil has the potential to knock your toy around, causing little chips and cracks that would render it unusable. Personally, I like to use a toy cleaner and a damp cloth so I can keep a close eye on things. It is glass, after all. So handle with care!

  • Stainless Steel: As with silicone, you can wash stainless steel with mild soap and water, throw it in the top rack of the dishwasher (no detergent), spray it with toy cleaner, or boil it. But be warned! Stainless steel is a tremendous conductor of heat, and will get VERY hot, very quickly. If you boil your steel toy, give it some time to cool before touching it. 

  • Crystal: Clean your crystal toys in warm water with a body-safe, all-natural soap. It’s best to avoid hot temperatures, so don’t boil your crystals or put them in the dishwasher. 

  • Polished Wood: I know, I know. How can you possibly clean a wooden sex toy? Well, toys made of wood are sealed with a polish that makes them non-porous and easy to clean. So feel free to use a regular toy cleaner, or mild soap and warm water. 

  • Shop all hard material toys!

  • ABS Plastic: The best ways to clean ABS plastic are with warm water and mild soap, or toy cleaner. Boiling, dishwashing, or using high heat in general can potentially melt the material! 

  • Latex: Latex toys should be washed in warm water with a little bit of liquid soap (like two or three drops). But remember: latex is very easily damaged, so don’t scrub hard or use anything abrasive. To dry your latex toy, gently pat it with a soft cloth. 

  • Acrylic: You can wash your acrylic toys with mild soap or proper toy cleaner, but make sure the cleaning agent you use does not contain alcohol or acrylic! These materials can erode acrylic toys over time. 

  • Motorized & Battery Operated: When applicable, remove your toy’s batteries before cleaning. Once you’ve done that, follow the specific wash care instructions for your toy’s material. If the batteries are not removable, do not submerge your toy in water at all. Instead, just use a damp cloth, warm water, and mild detergent to clean the toy by hand. Personally, I like to spray the whole toy with sanitizing spray, and then wipe it down with a damp cloth. 

  • Now, this list doesn’t include the full roster of toy materials out there… but it does include the safest, most popular ones. Each one is non-porous, which essentially means that it doesn’t have tiny nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide out in. Not only does this keep your body safer, but it makes the whole sanitization process easier and more thorough! 

    More: Learn how to pick a vibrator

    Sex toy spray cleaner

    How Should I Store My Sex Toys?

    Once you’ve given your toys a good clean, it’s time to store them in a safe spot. Otherwise, you might just be inviting bacteria into your freshly washed sex-essories (yes, that’s a combo of sex & accessories). So let’s talk proper storage.

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Sunlight won’t make your toy any less clean, but extended exposure could cause discoloration over time. 

  • Don’t Lump ‘em Together: It might be tempting to toss all your goodies in the same dresser drawer but, if they aren’t individually stored, bacteria can easily spread from toy to toy. That’s partly why investing in a good storage case for each toy is so important (we’ll get to that next). 

  • Invest in Storage Case: Some sex toys come with their own storage case (which we love), but many do not. I heartily recommend investing in proper storage for your toys in order to keep them clean and protected. You can browse all toy storage options here

  • Keep It Dry: Damp, enclosed areas with poor ventilation can be a breeding ground for bacteria. I suggest you take your toys out to breathe once in a while, and keep them in a dry place (bathrooms are usually a no-go).

  • When Can I Share My Sex Toys?

    Yes, you can totally share sex toys. However, there are some very important guidelines to follow to share as safely and ethically as possible. 

  • Communicate: Before using a shared toy with a partner, check in to see how they feel about it. Even if the toy is completely clean and sterilized, some folks simply won’t be comfortable sharing toys, and that’s okay! Respecting boundaries is an important part of sharing pleasure. 

  • Non-porous Only: If your partners are down to share, make sure the toys are non-porous. As I mentioned, porous toys absorb and retain bacteria that can never be fully eliminated. Even if you clean it the heck out of it, sharing porous toys can spread infection and STIs (yes, you can get sexually transmitted diseases from sex toys!).

  • Clean, Clean, Clean: Always (and I mean always) wash your toys ahead of time. Even if they’re non-porous, they still need to be thoroughly cleaned before use, especially if you’re sharing them! 

  • Shop all Delicto toy cleaners!

    Hand washing a sex toy

    When Should I Retire My Sex Toys?

    In general, sex toys aren’t designed to last a lifetime, though proper maintenance can dramatically extend their shelf life. We at Delicto recommend inspecting your toys every 6 months or so. If you see any cracks, chips, scratches, or anything else that could make your toy porous, it’s time to recycle that bad boy. Additionally, if you notice that your motorized toy loses battery power faster than it once did, it’s probably on its way out. 

    It may seem obvious, but the durability of the materials is directly linked to your toy’s lifespan. Stainless steel, platinum-cured silicone, and medical-grade materials tend to last longer than plastic and latex but, again, every toy is different! To get a preliminary sense of your toy’s durability, take a look at the Manufacturer's warranty. A generous warranty is usually a good indicator of quality.

    Final Thoughts

    Well, now you know how to keep all your sex toys clean. So go forth and play safely! But before you do that, be sure to follow us on Instagram and TikTok for more reviews, tutorials, and sex education, or send me an email at info@delicto.com if you’d like a personal recommendation!