Time for a scrub-a-dub-dub? If you're wondering how often to clean your sex toys, always err on the side of caution, our sexologists say.
Though the handheld vibrators, clit vibrators, and other goodies in your collection are tiny but mighty, that doesn't mean they can forgo a thorough washing. If you're planning to enjoy a round of solo sex or fun with a partner—especially if you're planning on fun with a partner—make sure you're treating your pleasure playthings with the utmost care.
Here's how often to clean your sex toys, according to pros
LOOKFANTASTIC’s group pharmacist, Aruj Javid, suggests that each toy should get a good cleaning after usage, but be warned that the longer you wait between cleanings, the more likely icky things are to build up.
"Toys should always be cleaned after every use to ensure no bacteria from bodily fluids is left behind, especially when shared with a partner," Javid says. "If not, unwashed sex toys can be extremely effective in transmitting STIs, STDs, and other bacterial infections."
One sexologist has taken things a step further and suggests a little TLC ahead of frisky activities.
"Cleaning your sex toys before and after helps to prevent infections, as bacteria can linger if they aren’t washed regularly," Alexandra Fine, a sexologist and the CEO of Dame Products, previously told My Imperfect Life.
Sure, a little extra care might feel time-consuming, but you're saving yourself from aggravation in the long run. And while you're being vigilant about the cleaning process—as you should—have a look out for unwanted holes in your gadgets and gizmos.
"Those holes can be much harder to clean and are likely to harbor nasty bacteria which will leave you vulnerable to the risk of infection," suggests Cameron Long-Tel, sexpert and LELO brand ambassador.
According to Aruj Javid's résumé, she is a "resourceful and results-oriented specialist prescribing pharmacist, with valuable experience in hospital, general practice and community pharmacy."
Cameron Long-Tel is a sexologist and brand ambassador for LELO, a brand of "luxury, aspirational sex toys for men and women who are proud of their sexuality."
What should you use to clean your sex toys?
We break down how to clean sex toys according to type, material, etc., but don't underestimate a classic cleaning method when getting those trinkets up to snuff.
"Opt for an unscented or antibacterial soap, just as you would when washing your body—just make sure to dry and store them correctly afterward so they stay nice and clean for the next time you use them," Javid says.
You'll want to make sure whatever you're using won't negatively affect your pH balance.
When should you toss your sex toys?
Sometimes our toys are beyond saving, and when cleaning no longer suffices, it's best to dispose. Long-Tel notes a few things to look out for.
“If your toy appears to have changed shape, then it’s likely that it's succumbed to the heat, and should therefore be no longer used," Long-Tel says. "This highlights how important storage of your toys is, this way you can have fun with them for longer!”
And if said vibrator isn't, well, vibrating, onto the next.
"If you find that the vibration of your toy has dulled (or become too powerful), it’s a good sign that it’s time for a toy switch-up. It’s also worth noting that a dulled vibration is unlikely to cause you any harm, but it will be half the fun!”
Now that the friskiest time of the year (and hottest season of the year) are ahead, make sure to show your products some extra love with a good cleaning.
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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