How to Clean Sex Toys: A Step-by-Step Guide (With Pictures)

how to clean sex toys

Using sex toys can be one of the easiest and sexiest ways to spice up your sex life.

But whether you’re using them alone for masturbation or with a partner for a touch of extra spice, it’s essential to regularly clean and store your sex toys properly to ensure that you’re not putting yourself or your partner at risk.

But what sex toy materials need to be cleaned? And what’s the best way to clean your sex toys?

Below, we’re diving into our ultimate guide on properly cleaning sex toys.

Cleaning Sex Toys – A Step By Step Guide

Step 1: Don’t catch the clap

cleaning sex toys step

Even if you’re not actually having sex with another person, there are still risks when using sex toys. Sharing your toys with another person can still lead to STIs and unplanned pregnancy if you don’t clean them properly.

And I don’t think we need to explain why those can be bad. Use your imagination!

Step 2: Before your first use

how to clean sex toys step

Even before you insert a vibrator or dildo into any of your holes (or stick dick into a pocket pussy or ass), you should know that they can already be dirty.

From factory to bedroom drawer, sex toys undergo a lot of handling. So it’s best to clean them before using, even if they’re coming straight out of a box.

Step 3: Read the instructions

sex toy cleaning step

We know you’re raring to get your new toy out of the box and start using it. But before you toss the packaging aside, it’s good to read what the manufacturer has to say about properly cleaning and storing their sex toys.

We promise it’ll only take a minute or two, and then you can have as much fun as you want with your new toy!

Step 4: Know what your sex toys are made from

how to clean sex toys step

Not all sex toys are created equal. Dildos, vibrators, Fleshlights, whips, BDSM gear… They’re all made from different materials requiring specific care and maintenance. So you’ll need to clean them accordingly.

Non-porous materials, like glass, silicon, and stainless steel can easily be wiped clean or boiled, while porous materials and electric sex toys need more delicate care.

Please, don’t go boiling your new vibrator, or else it’ll be back to giving yourself a Han Solo.

Step 5: In soap we trust

sex toy hygiene guide step

There are many ways to clean sex toys (soap, boiling, dishwasher, wipes). But using antibacterial soap and water is the best and easiest way to keep your sex toys clean before and after use.

You can even bring your sex toys into the tub or shower with you and give them a scrubbing while you clean your undercarriage. Just don’t get distracted!

Step 6: Baby wipes to the rescue

how to clean sex toys step

Baby wipes are great to keep in your bedside drawer for quick cleanups in the middle of fooling around.

However, they generally don’t kill all bacteria, which means you still need to give your toys a thorough scrub with soap and water from time to time.

Step 7: Condoms aren’t just for sex

sex toy cleaning step

Even if you don’t have anybody to play with, condoms are a great way to keep your sex toys clean. By using a condom on your vibrators or dildos, you’ll prevent them from becoming contaminated with bodily fluids and bacteria.

Alternately, for the dudes out there using a fake pussy, wearing a condom prevents you from needing to clean up the sticky mess when you’re done.

Simply, remove the condom when you’re done and toss it into the trash!

Step 8: Don’t bleach your sex toys

how to clean sex toys step

Avoid household cleaners, like bleach and ammonia, which will kill any germs or bacteria on your toys, but can damage your toys AND reproductive organs!

Your toys might get clean, but it’ll burn like hell if you get these products into your urethra or on any other parts of your privates.

So yes, you can clean some sex toys with bleach… But we strongly suggest you don’t!

Step 9: Store them properly

sex toy cleaning step

Keeping your beloved sex toys clean and dry is just as important as cleaning them.

Please don’t toss them into your bedside drawer when you’re done with them, where they’re likely to get covered in dirt, dog fur, and all sorts of other things you don’t want near your junk.

Some retailers even sell UV sex toy chests designed to clean your toys while keeping them stored safely.

These devices look just like miniature tanning beds for sex toys… Just imagine your dildos are going to the salon to get a base tan before their next vacation. Only, instead of going to the beach, you’ll be taking them to pleasure town.

How To Clean Sex Toys – Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning sex toys prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
  • Wiping them with hot, soapy water (preferably antibacterial soap) is the safest and most effective method for cleaning sex toys.
  • Sex toys made from hard plastic, silicone, glass, or stainless steel are the safest and easiest to clean.
  • Many sex toy manufacturers sell sprays, cleaners, and wipes designed specifically for cleaning sex toys.
  • Heat-treated glass, stainless steel, and silicone sex toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher using its disinfectant setting.
  • Submerging them in boiling water is an effective method for cleaning some sex toys, as long as they’re not electronic or made from a material that will melt.
  • Disinfectant wipes, bleach, and household cleaners may deteriorate sex toy materials and aren’t safe for internal use.
  • Baby wipes do not contain germ-killing disinfectants.
  • You should clean sex toys before or after use, especially if exposed to blood, semen, or vaginal fluid.
  • Hepatitis, HSV, and other viruses can live on sex toy surfaces for days or weeks.
  • Sperm can live outside the body for as long as 30 minutes.
  • The US sex toy industry is mostly unregulated, which means not all sex toys are made from body-safe materials.
  • Sex toys made from rubber may contain phthalates and other unsafe chemicals. You should always use a condom when using these types of sex toys.
  • You should always store sex toys in a clean, dry area, separate from other household items.

Why Should I Clean My Sex Toys?

Whether you’re using male or female sex toys, cleaning them ensures that you won’t introduce viruses, bacteria, or foreign debris into your or your partner’s body.

When you don’t clean your toys, saliva, vaginal fluids, semen, and other bodily fluids are left on them, which may fester, exposing you to the risk of infection.

Most of the bacteria and viruses that cause STIs will die when exposed to air. However, some viruses, such as hepatitis, can live outside the body for days, weeks, and even months.

Sharing toys with other partners exposes you to contracting sexually transmitted infections, including herpes, HPV, syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, and more.

Using a dildo or vibrator for vaginal play after using it for anal play also exposes you and your partners to potentially harmful bacteria, which may lead to yeast and other infections.

And finally, cleaning sex toys ensures that they won’t be contaminated with sperm, which is vital for anyone who wants to avoid unplanned pregnancies.

  • Hepatitis A is primarily spread through contact with the feces of an infected individual. It can survive for up to four hours on a person’s hands, several days in feces, and up to a month in water.
  • Hepatitis B can survive for a week outside the human body.
  • Hepatitis C can survive for up to 4 days outside the human body.
  • HSV, the virus responsible for herpes, can live between a few hours and up to 8 weeks on a dry, inanimate surface.
  • Sperm can live for anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes outside the body.

With these facts in mind, whether you’re playing with a partner or playing solo and not having intercourse with anyone, safe sex practices, which include properly cleaning and storing your toys, should always be put into practice.

What Sex Toy Material Can You Clean?

You can clean any sex toy material.

However, depending on the toy’s material, you’ll want to avoid cleaning it with certain products or practices.

For example, while you can clean a heat-treated glass dildo by submerging it in boiling water, if your toy is made from plastic, using this cleaning method will likely melt it. It’ll still get cleaned, but it won’t be usable.

So what sex materials can you clean with which methods?

Cleaning non-porous materials

Hard plastics, silicone, glass, and stainless steel are all non-porous materials.

A non-porous surface is hard and has no openings or pores where bacteria and viruses can hide.

Sex toys made from non-porous materials are impervious to water, making them much easier to clean after use.

Generally, you can effectively clean a non-porous sex toy with nothing more than soap and water.

Cleaning porous materials

A porous material is any solid surface containing void space between its atomic structure.

These voids provide bacteria and viruses the perfect hideouts to hang out, making them more challenging to clean properly.

Sex toys made from vinyl, rubber, nylon, leather, or Cyberskin are non-porous, which means you’ll need to take extra precautions when cleaning and storing these types of toys.

Soap and water are generally effective at cleaning these types of toys. However, you should take further steps to disinfect and sterilize to ensure optimal safety.


  • Properly cleaning your sex toys is part of safe sex.
  • Not cleaning your sex toys can lead to infections, especially if you’re using your sex toys with multiple partners or for anal play.
  • Always refer to your sex toys’ manufacturers’ instructions for properly cleaning tips.

Body Safety – Are Your Sex Toys Made From Body-Safe Materials?

Aside from the risk of viral or bacterial contamination, it’s essential to always choose sex toys that are made from body-safe materials.

Unfortunately, the sex toy industry in the United States and abroad is still mostly unregulated.

Therefore, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers often sell products that aren’t safe for internal use.

For example, the composition of sex toys made from rubber is often unknown, which means they may contain phthalates and other chemicals that may harm your sexual and reproductive health.

So if you’re using a rubber sex toy or are unsure what your toys are made from, we strongly encourage you to use a condom.

What are the best sex toy materials?

When choosing the best materials for your sex toys, it’s best to select products made from non-porous materials, which are easier to clean.

Dildos, vibrators, and other sex toys made of glass, stainless steel, hard plastic, or silicone are the safest sex toy materials and the easiest to maintain.


  • Sex toy manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers are not regulated by any government bodies, which means it’s your responsibility to know what your toys are made from.
  • Not all sex toys are safe for internal use. Some sex toys, especially if made from rubber, may contain phthalates, which can be harmful.
  • Non-porous materials are the safest and easiest to clean.

Cleaning Your Sex Toys

Below, we look at some of the best practices for cleaning sex toys based on the materials they’re made from.

Can I wash sex toys with soap and water?

Yes, sex toys can be safely cleaned using soapy water and a cloth. We recommend using antibacterial soap and simply wiping down your toy, ensuring that you’ve covered the entire surface.

Then, simply dry using a clean towel and store in a dry location until its subsequent use.

If your toy contains batteries or electronics, be careful not to get these parts wet or submerge them in water.

If your toy is not waterproof, you could end up damaging it.

What about using sex toy cleaners?

In most cases, soap and water are the best tools for cleaning sex toys.

However, there are many sex toy-specific sprays and wipes available from trusted brands like LELO, Lovehoney, Adam & Eve, and Fleshlight.

Just make sure that the sex toy wipes or cleaners that you buy are suitable for the types of toys that you’re cleaning.

Can I wash sex toys in the dishwasher?

Yes, sex toys made from materials such as heat-treated glass, silicone, or stainless steel can be placed and cleaned in your dishwasher.

This is especially helpful if your dishwasher has a disinfectant setting. Otherwise, you’re better off using soap and water or a sex toy cleaner.

It’s also good to know that only heat-treated glass sex toys should be exposed to high temperatures, such as those inside a dishwasher.

Regular glass sex toys may crack, split, or shatter if exposed to high heat.

What about cleaning sex toys with boiling water?

Submerging your sex toys in boiling water for just a few minutes can be enough to clean and sterilize their surfaces.

You can safely clean heat-treated glass, stainless steel, and silicone sex toys by using boiling water. Just make sure to allow enough time to cool off before using.

On the other hand, materials such as plastic, Cyberskin, leather, nylon, vinyl, or rubber may melt if cleaned in this way.

Additionally, never clean electric or battery-powered toys by submerging them entirely into boiling water unless the manufacturer’s instructions say it’s OK.

Plastic, Cyberskin, leather, nylon, vinyl, or rubber sex toys are best cleaned using antibacterial soap and water.

What about cleaning sex toys with UV light?

UV sex toy sterilizers are one of the most effective methods for cleaning and sterilizing your toys. These devices kill all viruses or bacteria on your toys as long as the surface is exposed to UV rays.

UV sex toy cleaners generally come in the form of a chest or boys, which resembles a small tanning bed for your sex toys.

These devices are the ideal place to store and clean sex toys simultaneously.

Plus, they’re safe to use on virtually all sex toy materials, no matter what they’re made from.

Can I clean sex toys with wipes?

Yes, wipes can be a suitable method for cleaning your sex toys.

However, you should avoid disinfectant wipes containing bleach, ammonia, or other household cleaners. These substances may cause damage to your toys, and they’re not suitable for internal use.

We recommend avoiding household disinfecting wipes for cleaning your toys.

Baby wipes are a more suitable option for cleaning sex toys.

However, they are meant to be gentle on a baby’s skin, which means that baby wipes generally do not contain any germ-killing disinfectants.

Therefore, wipes may be suitable for quick cleaning, but they’re not the best way to clean your sex toys.

Can I clean my sex toys with bleach?

Bleach is a strong household cleaner that will kill virtually all viruses, bacteria, and sperm.

And although you can clean some types of non-porous sex toys with bleach, you must take additional steps to properly rinse them with water before using them.

Otherwise, you could accidentally introduce bleach into your urethra, vagina, or anus, which won’t feel unpleasant and can even cause mild burns or emergency room visits.


  • Using antibacterial soap and water is the simplest, and most effective way to clean your sex toys.
  • Glass, silicone, and stainless steel sex toys can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher using the disinfectant setting.
  • Avoid using bleach or other household cleaners to disinfect your sex toys.

Bonus – Other Ways to Keep Your Sex Toys Clean

While there are many different methods for cleaning sex toys, using soap, cleaners, or boiling water aren’t the only ways to get your vibrators, dildos, and sex toys clean.

With a condom

Even if you’re masturbating solo or playing with a trusted partner, using a condom on your sex toys is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep them clean.

Apply a condom over your toys before use. Then, when you’re done, you can simply remove the condom and dispose of it in the trash.

For males using a Fleshlight or any other type of male sex toy, wearing a condom is also a great way to ensure that your plaything stays clean.

Plus, it will also make cleanup easier than if you were to ejaculate inside of it.

If you use lubricant on your male toys, you’ll still want to rinse them out and dry them off before putting them away until next time.

How to clean leather sex toys

Leather straps, harnesses, wipes, and toys should be cleaned using soap and water. Do your best to wipe down the entire surface and dry it using a clean towel.

Consider applying a leather conditioner after cleaning these types of toys.

Common Sex Toy Cleaning Mistakes

Note that most sex toys have specific instructions for proper cleaning and storing them.

So, keep your sex toy instructions or read them thoroughly before discarding the packaging.

Otherwise, you might make one of these easily avoidable mistakes.

Not cleaning your toy when it first arrives

From the factory where the toy is made to your local retailer’s shelf, sex toys undergo a significant amount of handling before finding themselves in your bedside drawer.

Therefore, we always recommend thoroughly cleaning your sex toys before using them, even if you take them directly out of the box. If not, you risk exposing yourself or your partner to foreign contaminants.

Not checking whether your toy is waterproof or water-resistant

Vibrators, battery-powered toys, and Bluetooth-enabled toys may or may not be waterproof.

Submerging these toys in water can quickly destroy their internal electronics.

It’s also good to note that there is a difference between waterproof and water-resistant sex toys.

You can fully submerge waterproof sex toys in water without any ill effects.

For water-resistant sex toys, it’s likely safe to wipe them down with soap and water, but they aren’t designed to be fully submerged.

That’s why following your toys’ manufacturer’s instructions is crucial before cleaning.

Not drying your toys off properly

For most female toys, we still recommend drying them before storing them, but you won’t have to worry too much if they’re still damp since they’re dry on their own.

However, for male strokers and Fleshlights, putting them away without properly drying them can lead to mold and mildew formation on the inside of the toy.

And we don’t need to explain why that’s a bad thing!

Using scented soaps, household cleaning products, or bleach

We mentioned that you could use bleach to clean certain sex toys. However, it’s imperative that you properly rinse your sex toys after exposing them to any scented soaps, household cleaners, or bleaches.

While these products might be highly effective at killing viruses and bacteria, they are unsafe to put into your or your partner’s body.

The best-case scenario is that you’ll end up with minor irritation in your urethra or vulva. But in the worst case, you could need to make an embarrassing emergency visit to see a doctor for treatment.

Throwing it in your musty old bedside drawer

Just like it’s essential to properly dry them after cleaning, it’s important to store your sex toys properly.

While there’s nothing wrong with storing your sex toys in your bedside drawer, you need to make sure that it’s clean before tossing your dildos, vibrators, strokers, or other sex toys in there.

We recommend choosing a specific container or drawer and storing your sex toys separately from other items.

Some sex toy shops even sell specific sex toy chests or silk sacs, such as the UV sterilizers we mentioned, which you can use to store your toys safely.

Otherwise, they can easily become contaminated with dirt, debris, hair, or other foreign materials. If you’re not careful, you can expose yourself or your partner to these contaminants.

And that’s precisely why it’s essential to properly clean, dry, and store your sex toys according to the best practices we’ve discussed here!


How often should I clean my sex toys?

Ideally, you should clean your sex toys when exposed to any type of bodily fluids.

You should always clean your toys before or after using them, especially if you’re using your sex toys with multiple partners or for anal play, which increases the chances of bacterial exposure.

How should I store my sex toys?

The best place to store your sex toys is in a clean, dry area, ensuring they’re kept separate from any other items that may contaminate them with dirt or debris.

UV sterilization chests are a great place to store your toys.

These devices not only keep your sex toys dry and separate from other items but also clean them simultaneously, which means that you’ll never need to worry about scrubbing, boiling, or cleaning your dildo ever again!

Can I use alcohol to clean my toy?

Yes, both rubbing alcohol and spirits (like vodka, rye, or gin) work as strong disinfectants, which can clean your toys. However, these substances aren’t safe to be in or around your genitals. So it’s best to avoid cleaning your sex toys with them.

How do you clean sex toys made of silicone?

Silicone is a non-porous material, which means you can clean them using almost any of the methods we’ve discussed. Soap and water, boiling, or placing them in the dishwasher are all effective methods for cleaning silicone sex toys.

Is there any way to effectively sterilize a dildo for multiple users?

Sharing a dildo with multiple partners comes with the risks of spreading bodily fluids and potentially sexually transmitted infections. Therefore, if you’re using a dildo with multiple users, it’s important to thoroughly clean it before using it on another person. Using soap and water is the most effective method for doing this. Baby wipes will not effectively kill all germs on your dildo, which means there will still be a risk of spreading bacteria between partners.


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