There’s nothing like the feeling of reaching for a brand-new sex toy right out of the box... or the feeling of reaching for a still-new sex toy that’s quickly becoming a favorite... or the feeling of reaching for a well-loved sex toy that’s exactly what you need! But nothing ruins the moment like settling in, reaching for the power button, and realizing it’s still covered in dried lube from the last time you used it.
Regular cleaning, including disinfecting, is absolutely crucial to keep your sex toys, new or old, in top shape, body safe, and ready to go at any moment. Cleaning is also important to reduce yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and the spread of STIs between sexual partners – including between your partner and yourself, or your past self to your current self – if you use your toys with anyone else. So how do you make sure your sex toy is clean and ready to go, each and every time? Below, we’ve broken down what to do according to what your sex toy is made of, including whether or not it has a motor. A quick note: you can’t kill every piece of bacteria on your sex toys at home, particularly if you’re using toys with motors or made of anything that can’t stand up to time in an autoclave (and also if, like most of us, you don’t have access to an autoclave). What you can do is reduce the amount and growth of bacteria on your sex toys in a way that reduces the risk that it will spread.
How To Get Started Cleaning Sex Toys
To clean your sex toy, first check out the packaging or original instructions for any guidelines or warnings:
Is your toy waterproof, meaning it’s safe to submerge, or splash-proof, meaning you can wipe it down with a wet cloth (or use it in a wet hole) but shouldn’t submerge it, or neither, meaning you shouldn’t get it wet at all?
Are there any electrical components? If so, are they removable, like a bullet vibrator in the base of a stationary silicone dildo, or fixed, like the powerful motors inside Tracy’s Dog’s best-selling OG vibrator If they’re removable, separate the different toys and look at the cleaning instructions for each separately. If they’re an enclosed unit, secure any covers your toy might have over its charging holes.
Then, look at the material your toy is made of. If you’re not sure, or you’ve lost the original packaging or user manual, try typing a description of your sex toy into Google and using image search to help you find the right one. And if your toy is a Tracy’s Dog sex toy, then you’re probably dealing with silicone and ABS – non-porous, body-safe, and oh so easy to clean.
Finally, the best time to clean a sex toy is right after you use it. You should also make sure to clean it between partners – say if you’re having such a good time with the Tracy’s Dog Anal Vibrator that your partner wants to try it, too – and, if it’s a brand new sex toy, before the very first time you use it.
The Three Main Ways To Clean Sex Toys
Though the details vary between materials, there are three main ways to clean your sex toys.
Anti-microbial soap and water: Anti-microbial soap and warm water and a clean cloth are a great way to clean most sex toys, submersible or otherwise. They’re thorough, gentle, and will help to remove bacteria from the surface of the toy.
Boiling (or a dishwasher cycle): For silicone sex toys that don’t have motors or metal sex toys, a soap-and-water wash and then a cycle in the top rack of the dishwasher or ten minutes in a pot of boiling water is a great way to reduce bacteria and leave your toy sparking.
Sex toy cleaner: Some sex toys can’t get wet or come with instructions that recommend using sex-toy cleaner for maintenance. Make sure to read the ingredients on your specific cleaner before using it.
How To Clean Silicone Sex Toys With Motors
Many Tracy’s Dog sex toys are made of medical-grade silicone and have motors that you can’t remove. Clean all such toys with anti-microbial soap and water.
How To Clean Silicone Sex Toys With No Motors
Silicone sex toys that don’t have motors are some of the easiest toys to clean. They’re compatible with any of the above cleaning methods, but to be really thorough, wash them with anti-microbial soap and water and then boil them for ten minutes or put them in the dishwasher on the top rack.
How To Clean ABS Plastic Sex Toys
Avoiding any motors, wash with anti-microbial soap and water.
How To Clean Metal Sex Toys
Do to their non-porous nature, metal sex toys are extremely easy to clean. Use any method above, and boiling water or a dishwasher cycle before sharing them between partners or holes. Just remember to be gentle when adding a metal toy to a pot of boiling water, boil one toy at a time, and remove them carefully with tongs that can support their weight. Metal also gets hot, so have a thick towel standing by to protect your counter while your toy cools.
How To Clean Glass Sex Toys
When sex toys are made of glass, they’re usually made of soda lime glass or borosilicate glass. Both are more shatter-resistant – but they’re still glass. If you’re prone to dropping slippery objects when you wash them (for instance if you, like me, accidentally break a water glass down the garbage disposal once a month), line your sink with a small towel or thick washcloth to cushion the toy if it slips. The other trick with glass toys is to introduce temperature changes gradually so they don’t shatter. If your toy is cool to the touch and you want to wash it under hot running water with soap, start with cooler water and then gradually increase the temperature. Never drop a glass sex toy into boiling water.
How To Clean Wooden Sex Toys
Read the directions on your toy carefully. Many wooden sex toys are sealed to make them body-safe, so how you clean them depends on how they were made. If you’re not sure, warm water and soap without fully submersing the toy is a safe bet. Make sure to dry it off immediately.
How To Clean Elastomer or Latex Sex Toys
We recommend you avoid elastomer or latex sex toys, but if you have a favorite you’re not ready to retire, wash with anti-microbial soap and water.
How To Clean Jelly, Elastomer, Latex, PVC, Rubber, TRP, Vinyl, or TPE Sex Toys
These sex toy materials have a range of safety concerns and can sometimes be toxic. These sex toys are also usually porous, which means that if you can it’s better to replace them with medical-grade silicone counterparts (may we make a few recommendations like these?). If you want to keep them, cover them with a condom before use to reduce your exposure to any bacteria they might already be full of, and then remove the condom and wash them with warm soap and water afterwards.