The Importance of Cleaning and Maintaining Adult Toys

sex toys

The use of adult toys has become increasingly common, and they play a significant role in enhancing sexual pleasure and exploring one’s desires.

Whether you use them solo or with a partner, it’s essential to recognize the paramount importance of cleaning and maintaining adult toys. Neglecting this crucial aspect of sexual well-being can lead to various problems, including health risks and premature wear and tear of your sex toys.

Sexual Health Expert Susan Kong from Secret By Me delves into why cleaning and maintaining your adult toys is vital for your sexual health and the longevity of your intimate accessories.

Health and Hygiene

Properly cleaning adult toys is a matter of sexual health and hygiene. Just like with any other personal items, toys come into contact with your body, which means they can harbor bacteria, viruses, and bodily fluids. Failing to clean them adequately can lead to infections, irritation, or other health issues. Clean toys are safer toys.

Preventing Infections

Bacteria and other pathogens can easily accumulate on the surface of adult toys, particularly those used for penetration. These microorganisms can cause urinary tract infections, yeast infections, or other health problems. Cleaning your toys thoroughly after each use significantly reduces the risk of infection.

Skin Irritation

Adult toys made from various materials may contain chemicals or residues from manufacturing processes that can irritate the skin or mucous membranes. Regular cleaning helps remove these potential irritants and maintains the safety of your toys.

Material Durability

Proper maintenance can prolong the lifespan of your toys. Cleaning and storing them correctly prevent material degradation. Some materials may deteriorate over time if not cared for appropriately, and this can affect the functionality and safety of the toy.

Comfort and Pleasure

An unclean toy can be uncomfortable to use due to residue, odor, or general uncleanliness. This discomfort can hamper your enjoyment and pleasure. Clean toys enhance your overall sexual experience.

Reduction of Odors

Over time, residue from bodily fluids and lubricants can lead to unpleasant odors in your toys. Regular cleaning eliminates these odors, making your toys like sex dolls more inviting and enjoyable.

Compatibility with Lubricants

Certain materials used in adult toys can react with specific lubricants, causing them to deteriorate. Proper cleaning and maintenance can help prevent these reactions, ensuring your toys remain safe and functional.

Discretion and Privacy

Clean toys are easier to store discreetly. You don’t want your toys to show visible signs of use or neglect, especially if you value your privacy. Well-maintained toys can be tucked away without concern.

Safe Sharing

If you’re sharing your toys with a partner or partners, cleaning them thoroughly between uses is not only courteous but also safe. It reduces the risk of transmitting infections or diseases between partners.

Peace of Mind

Knowing that your toys are clean and well-maintained can provide peace of mind and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the moment without concerns about hygiene or safety.

General Cleaning Steps for Sex Toys

1. Preparing Cleaning Supplies

Before you begin cleaning your adult toys, gather the necessary cleaning supplies. These typically include warm water, a mild, unscented soap, or a dedicated toy cleaner. You’ll also need a clean, soft cloth or towel for drying. Make sure everything is within reach to streamline the cleaning process.

2. Disassembling if Possible

If your toy can be disassembled, take it apart according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Removing batteries, detachable components, or insertable parts allows for a more thorough cleaning and minimizes the risk of moisture getting trapped in crevices.

3. Initial Rinse

Start the cleaning process with an initial rinse. Use lukewarm water to remove any surface debris or bodily fluids from the toy. Do not use hot water, as it can damage some toy materials, especially if they are not heat-resistant.

4. Using a Mild Soap or Toy Cleaner

Apply a small amount of mild, unscented soap or a specialized toy cleaner to your toy. Avoid using harsh chemicals, alcohol-based products, or anything with strong fragrances, as they can cause skin irritation and damage certain toy materials.

Gently lather the soap or cleaner over the entire surface of the toy. Be cautious not to let water enter any openings, especially if the toy is not waterproof.

5. Proper Scrubbing and Brushing

Use a soft cloth, sponge, or a designated toy cleaning brush to scrub the toy’s surface. Pay extra attention to textured areas or crevices, as these can trap bacteria and bodily fluids.

Be gentle while scrubbing to avoid damaging the material or any mechanical parts. If your toy is made of a porous material, like TPE, consider using a condom or protective barrier for added hygiene.

6. Rinse and Dry Thoroughly

Rinse the toy under warm running water, ensuring that all soap or cleaner residues are completely removed. Take care not to submerge any electronic or non-waterproof parts, as water can damage them.

After rinsing, pat the toy dry with a clean, lint-free cloth or let it air dry completely before reassembling or storing it. Proper drying is crucial to prevent mold or bacterial growth on your toy.

Cleaning Specific Sex Toy Materials

Silicone Toys

Silicone toys are non-porous and easy to clean. Follow the general cleaning steps outlined above, using a mild soap or toy cleaner. Silicone can withstand boiling, so you can also sterilize it by immersing it in boiling water for a few minutes.

Glass and Metal Toys

Glass and metal toys are non-porous and highly durable. Clean them using warm water and a mild soap or toy cleaner. You can also boil or use a dishwasher to sterilize these toys safely. Be cautious with extreme temperature changes to prevent cracking.


TPE and TPR Toys

Toys made from thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or thermoplastic rubber (TPR) are porous, making them more challenging to clean thoroughly. Use the general cleaning steps and consider using a condom on these toys to maintain hygiene.

ABS Plastic Toys

ABS plastic is non-porous and easy to clean. Follow the general cleaning steps outlined above. Ensure that you use a mild soap or toy cleaner to avoid damaging the plastic. Avoid using abrasive materials that may scratch the surface.

Special Considerations for Electronics

Waterproof vs. Non-Waterproof

Determine whether your electronic toy like vibration eggs is waterproof or not. If it is waterproof, you can clean it using the general cleaning steps, submerging it in water as needed. If it’s not waterproof, avoid getting any electronic components wet.

Cleaning Vibrators and Battery Compartments

For vibrators, pay attention to the battery compartment, which can collect residue and fluids. Use a soft, damp cloth or cotton swab to clean this area gently.

If your toy uses disposable batteries, remove them when not in use to prevent leakage that can damage the toy.

Handling and Storage Guidelines

Handling and storing your adult toys properly is crucial for their longevity and maintaining their hygiene. Here’s a detailed explanation of handling and storage guidelines:

Clean Hands

Always wash your hands before and after handling your toys to prevent the transfer of dirt, oils, or bacteria onto them.

Storage Pouches or Bags

Store your clean, dry toys in their own individual pouches or bags to prevent them from coming into contact with other toys or materials, which can lead to damage or contamination.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Keep your toys away from extreme temperatures. Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight, as excessive heat can warp or damage certain materials. Likewise, freezing temperatures can affect the integrity of your toys.

Soft Packaging Material

If your toys are made of softer materials, like silicone or TPE, use a soft, breathable fabric or satin pouch for storage. Avoid using plastic bags or containers that can trap moisture.

Discreet Storage

If privacy is a concern, choose storage options that maintain discretion, such as lockable storage boxes or storage bags with zipper locks.

Dust-Free Environment

Store your clean toys in a dust-free environment to prevent debris from accumulating on the surface. Avoid storing them in places with high dust or dirt levels.

Battery Care for Vibrating Toys

Battery care is essential for maintaining the functionality and longevity of vibrating toys:

Use High-Quality Batteries:

Invest in high-quality, brand-name batteries for your vibrating toys. Cheap or off-brand batteries can leak and damage your toy’s battery compartment.

Remove Batteries Between Uses:

When your vibrating toy is not in use, remove the batteries. This prevents the risk of battery leakage, which can corrode the contacts and damage the toy.

Store Vibrators Separately:

If you have multiple vibrators, store them separately to avoid contact between their batteries, which can lead to discharge and corrosion.

Replace Dead or Weak Batteries:

Dead or weak batteries can damage your toy by leaking or corroding the contacts. Replace them promptly to prevent this issue.

Rechargeable Toys:

If you have rechargeable toys, ensure they are fully charged before storage. Partially charged batteries can degrade over time and may require replacement.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Maintenance


To maintain the integrity and safety of your adult toys, avoid common mistakes in maintenance:

Incorrect Lubricants:

Some lubricants are not compatible with certain toy materials. Avoid using silicone-based lubricants with silicone toys, as they can break down the material. Stick to water-based or oil-based lubricants as recommended by the toy’s manufacturer.

Excessive Heat or Sun Exposure:

Do not expose your toys to excessive heat or direct sunlight. This can warp or damage materials, especially those that are sensitive to temperature changes, like silicone or TPE.

Chemical Incompatibilities:

Be cautious when using cleaning agents. Some cleaning solutions contain chemicals that can damage certain toy materials. Stick to mild, unscented soaps or dedicated toy cleaners, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Sanitizing for Shared or Insertable Toys

Sanitizing shared or insertable toys is vital for health and safety. Here are two effective methods:

Boiling Method

Boiling is an effective way to sanitize non-porous toys, such as silicone, glass, or metal. Follow these steps:

  • Disassemble the toy if possible.
  • Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
  • Submerge the toy in the boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Use tongs to remove the toy and let it air dry thoroughly.

Bleaching Method

Bleaching is suitable for non-porous toys but should be done with care. Follow these steps:

  • Create a bleach solution by mixing one part bleach with nine parts water.
  • Submerge the toy in the solution for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse the toy thoroughly with water to remove any bleach residue.
  • Allow the toy to air dry completely.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific toy material when considering these methods, and ensure that the materials are safe for the chosen sanitization process.

Additionally, when using bleach, be cautious about its concentration and thoroughly rinse the toy afterwards to avoid skin irritation.

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