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Sex Toy Hygiene
How To Clean Sex Toys
Prevent Infections & STDs

For those who wonder if they can get STDs or infections from sex toys, the answer is yes. You can get an STD if you share your sex toys and you can get an infection from sharing your sex toys or even using them without properly cleaning them just by yourself.

The basic rule of thumb is that you do not want to do anything with a sex toy that you would not do with part of your body. Properly cleaning a sex toy or using separate condoms for each partner will help avoid spreading unwanted bacteria, mold. mildew, fungus or viruses - just as wearing a condom will during sex.

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

Copyright © Holistic Wisdom, Inc.


Although rare, some people have an allergic reaction to latex. If you or your partner has an allergic reaction to your toy, we recommend discontinuing use of that toy. If you cover it with a condom that is not made out of latex, it might prevent such a reaction.

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Vibrating RingPyrex Glass Dildo

Bacterial Infections

One of the most common ways to get a bacterial infection is to not clean your sex toys well.

You can also be exposed to harmful bacteria if you use it anally or close to the anus and then insert it into the vagina or near the urethra (pee tube).

Therefore, if you are going to use a sex toy for anal play put a condom over it or wash it well before using near the vagina area or mouth.

General Cleaning Tips

  • Keep your sex toys clean with mild soap and warm (not hot) water.

  • Never submerge the part of a sex toy that has batteries.

  • Never submerge electric non-waterproof vibrators.

  • Nylon harnesses are able to be washed along with your laundry.

  • Silicone & Pyrex Glass can be boiled up for 3 - 5 minutes, cleaned with a 10% bleach solution, or run through your dishwasher if they do not have electrical components.

  • Never use oil on latex products such as sex toys or condoms. Use only water based lubricants.

Sex Toy Materials


Silicone is one of the most popular materials for sex toys these days as it is a nonporous and an easy to clean material. There are sex toys that are made with silicone blends which can affect which lubricants you can use with them. It is always a safe rule to use a waterbased lubricant when in doubt. Silicone is a very smooth material and if it is 100% medical grade silicone, it is hypoallergenic. Silicone sex toys tend to be more expensive; it is also very durable and will last a very long time. While these sex toys tend to be more expensive, over the years, you actually save money from not having to replace them as often. Most other sex toys only last a couple of years at most, whereas, silicone sex toys can last many years.

Silicone sex toys can be boiled on the stove (3-5 minutes) to be sterilized. It can also be cleaned in the dishwasher if it does not have mechanical components. If there are no mechanical components to your sex toy, you can even put it in the dishwasher to disinfect. If the sex toy is not 100% silicone you should use sex toy cleaner to make sure that you do not damage your sex toy.

Realistics / Skin

Cyberskin™, Fauxskin™, Futurotic™, NeoSkin®, UltraSkin™, Soft Touch™ brands are also known as thermal plastic. These sex toys feel like skin and are very popular with people who want a realistic feel to their sex toys. The material warms when it is used and feels very much like skin on skin contact. The material is very porous and can tear easily so you must be careful with these sex toys and not be overly rough with them. Because of their pores they can harbor bacteria making them one of the more difficult sex toys to keep clean. They also require a special Cyberskin powder to keep them dry and realistic feeling when not in use.

The best thing you can use is a spray-on sex toy cleaner. Some say you can use a mild soap, but the problem with soap is that it goes into the pores and then froths up again once you put lubricant in it, if you have not gotten it all out; and getting it all out is a challenge. The spray-on toy cleaners go into the pores of the skin-like material and then is more easily rinsed out as it does not adhere like soap or get reactivated as easily. If you do use soap, avoid harsh soaps as they may damage your sex toy. To use the spray-on sex toy cleaner, spray it on generously, let it soak in for a few minutes, then rinse it off well and let it air dry. Making sure it dries adequately is very important because if you leave unwanted moisture in there it will increase the chances of mold, mildew, fungus and bacterial build up.

Once it is dry you can then sprinkle the Cyberskin powder on it, however, as typically those are made with corn starch, you can buy organic corn starch at your local health food store for a more pure form of it. Be sure to stay away from using talcum or baby powder as these have been linked to a possible cause of ovarian cancer.


There are different types of jelly sex toys. Some have phthalates (toxins that you want to avoid) and some do not. If it is phthalate free you can be sure it will be advertised as sex toy retailers will always want to let you know that to market such sex toys. You can of course always ask as well as we are happy to help you. Jelly toys are very flexible and while they are not smooth like silicone, once lubricated they can feel slick. They tend to come in translucent designs in very bright colors and are usually very eye catching. These sex toys are typically made from rubber, however you would have to access manufacturer information in order to be certain. If you have a jelly sex toy and you are not sure if it has phthalates in it you can always put a condom over them for added protection. As these sex toys are porous you will need to take care to clean them well.

Mild soap and water or sex toy cleaner.


Rubber is firmer than silicone or jelly toys and are low cost alternatives. Latex sex toys tend to wear out much faster than silicone and jelly sex toys but their lower price tags tend to make that comparable. People who may be allergic to latex should use caution. The allergic reactions you can have can be quite serious.

Rubber sex toys can be used with condoms to make clean up easy. They can be cleaned with mild soap and water or sex toy cleaner.


Plastic is hard and smooth. It is also a low cost material. Some plastics can contain phthalates and some do not. Make sure to look for labeling to determine if it is phthalate free. Plastic vibrators are not the most ideal sex toys for thrusting in and out as they can feel overly hard. They are however good for clitoral sex toys as they often give off an intense vibration.

Plastic can be wiped down with sex toy cleaner or rubbing alcohol.


Metal sex toys have become more popular over the years. You can choose from stainless steel, aluminum and even gold and silver. You will want to be careful that the sex toys that you purchase are pure metals and buy from a reputable sex toy store as they can be harmful if not crafted well.

Metal is nonporous so clean up is very easy. You can use a 10% bleach solution, boil them and use a mild soap and water. We do not recommend a dishwasher as some rinse agents are bad for some metals. You should also not use jewelry cleaners on them. Make sure that you dry your metal sex toy carefully as you do not want them to rust where there are cervices if there are any.


Vinyl is quite similar to rubber and is porous. They are light weight and easy to keep clean They come in a variety of forms and colors.

Mild soap and water or sex toy cleaner.

Pyrex Glass

Pyrex glass is a special grade of glass that is much stronger than normal glass and is what makes it safe to use as a sex toy. It is often used in kitchens as it is much more durable. It is nonporous and very easy to clean. It has a smooth and rigid surface. Take care not to use glass sex toys that have been painted. One company that you can be sure to trust is Phallix glass

The easiest is just to put it in the dishwasher although if you have kids or company remember you put it in there or you could have some fast 'splanin' to do!" Rinse well with warm water after any kind of cleaning. You can also use a 10% bleach solution or just use soap and water. Remember to not to use any type of abrasive cleaner so as not to scratch it and dull the surface.


These sex toys tend to be quite firm, however you may want to check to make sure they do not contain phthalates as some sex toys may have them.

Mild soap and water or sex toy cleaner.


When You Should Replace Your Adult Toys

Not all sex toys last forever, so how do you know when it's time to say good-bye?
  • Mechanical features slow or stop working, even after battery replacement

  • Cracks are visible in plastic, acrylic, or glass toys, or on the plastic pieces of other toys

  • Mold, fungus or mildew has formed on the material, or the material is deteriorating

  • Battery corrosion is seen inside the battery pack


Storing Your Sex Toys

How you store your sex toys is as important as how you clean them, and while we're not suggesting you need to invest in a temperature-controlled vault, there are some basic things you can do to prolong the life of any toy, as well as keep it clean and safe from harm. We created the Sneaky Sack™ to do just that which you can use to store your toys and more.

Below are some tips in making sure they are safely stored-

  • Always remove the batteries when you're done using any toy so they can't leak, run down, or otherwise corrupt the toy; both the batteries and the toy itself will last longer!

  • Be sure your toys are completely dry before storage to discourage mold and mildew.

  • Keep each item separate as some materials are not compatible with each one another and can cause melting and/or discoloration. Separation bags are great for this and we carry ones that have a special antibacterial coating in them. Learn more about Sugar Saks.

  • Sunlight and excessive heat can cause sex toys and condoms to melt or dry out, so make sure to store these items in a cool and dark place.

  • Very cold temperatures can also do damage to sex toys. Sex toys that are made with Pyrex glass, acrylics or silicone should be fine to freeze unless they have electrical components.

  • You should always clean your sex toys before putting them away to prevent bacteria build up.

Sex Toy Tips

How To Clean Your Sex Toy When You Are Unsure Of The Material

If you no longer have the toy packaging, you may not be sure what material your toy is made of; use warm water and a mild soap on a washcloth and let the product air dry.

Don't Wash Waterproof Toys In The Dishwasher

Only silicone and glass dildos that do not require batteries can be washed in the dishwasher or boiled. Do not submerge any sex toy that takes batteries, and never submerge electrical toys.

If You Can't Use Cleaners Or Antibacterial Soap Due To Allergies

If you have severe allergies, it would be best for you to only use silicone-based toys (they're hypoallergenic); if it does not use batteries, it can be boiled in hot water for cleaning and sterilizing, so no soap is necessary.

Why Use Condoms Over Sex Toys In A Monogamous Relationship?

Rubber, latex, jelly, and realistic materials are porous and harder to clean thoroughly, so using a condom will extend the life of the product. Plus, a condom will keep you both safe from bacteria if the toy is shared between you or switches orifices. An added bonus is if you use a lubricated condom, no additional lube is necessary!


Hiding Sex Toys

Keep it in Reach of the Bed

There's nothing worse than having to interrupt foreplay to walk across the room and unpack a toy from its secret spot deep in a drawer. If it's not close to the bed, it's not a good place to store your toys. The same goes for lubricant and massage oil. Keep ‘em handy, or plan ahead.

Keep Them In The Nightstand
This is the number one place people store their sex toys. It keeps them close by and out of site. If you have children, this however may be a bad place for them as kids tend to look through drawers for flashlights and other fun things to play with.

Shoe Boxes
Shoe boxes are not glamorous by any means, but they are discreet and fit nicely under the bed.

Hide Sex Toys


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