How to clean sex toys, according to the experts

Word to the wise: avoid boiling water for your motorized gadgets! Here are pro tips for how to clean sex toys properly

Close-Up Of Dildos On Table - how to clean sex toys - stock photo
(Image credit: Laia Divols Escude / EyeEm)

You already know how to use sex toys safely, but that's just half the battle. Upon romantic evenings with your partner or steamy solo adventures, it's crucial to give your pleasure gadgets a good scrub. Trust us, a quick rinse may seem insignificant, but it's needed.

"Cleaning your sex toys before and after helps to prevent infections, as bacteria can linger if they aren’t washed regularly," says Alexandra Fine, a sexologist and the CEO of Dame Products. (Dame is especially beloved for its best-selling suction vibrator if you're curious.)   

Likewise, Danyell Fima—co-founder of The Thruster, a build-your-own, self-thrusting vibrator—echoes Fine's thoughts: "If you allow products to sit overnight, plan to spend much more time cleaning."

But before you reach for the sponge, you'll want to note what type of products you're dealing with so you don't do any damage to your gadgets. (You might recall Abbi had a disastrous experience in the TV show Broad City upon putting her partner's toy in the dishwasher. Don't follow Abbi's lead!)

How to clean sex toys properly

"For any non-porous materials, a mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water should do the trick," Fine adds. "Toys made of silicone that do not have a motor can be boiled for an extra step to get them squeaky clean. There are also toy cleaners out there if you want to do the clean-up job from the comfort of your bed."

On the other hand, there are many vibrators—like Dame products—that use medical-grade silicone, which might require you to take the cleanup process up a notch. Fine shares her thoughts on how to deal with those gizmos. 

*WARNING: Don’t use boiling water if your toy is motorized!*

  • Use a mild, unscented hand or dish soap
  • Dunk your toy in hot water for a deep clean 
  • Use a clean, lint-free towel to dry your toy
  • Make sure your toy is fully dry before you store it

Cleaning your sex toys isn't only about keeping you healthy, but it keeps your partner healthy as well. 

"There is a risk of cross-infection if you share toys with multiple partners, but chances are relatively low if you wash your toy after every use," Fine says. "When using a sex toy with more than one partner it’s best to be honest about if a sex toy has been used previously with other folks, and to share info about if and when you cleaned it. That way, the person knows if there are any health risks or not."

Moving forward, the best thing you can do is not waste time. Unlike the romantic romps themselves, the cleaning part is something you'll want to rush, but will totally be worth it. 

"Don’t wait to clean—make a habit of cleaning it right away," Fima says. "If you have the luxury of privacy, keep a lint-free towel handy to lay out your items to dry. It’s a reminder to do the work and when you're ready tuck them away in a clean dry place."

And if you're feeling so inclined, there are a few gadgets on sale from LoveHoney and Ella Paradis right now. Enjoy!

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

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.