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Sex Toy Maintenance

Apicha Community Health Center Jul 01, 2016  

Apicha CHC - Pixabay - condom-3112062_1920

Whether you're single, coupled up, or living that polyamorous lifestyle, sex toys can be a fun and exciting addition to a healthy sex life. 

However, it's important to know how to properly clean and keep your sex toys. Otherwise, what would've been a fun and exciting addition could turn into a harmful haven for bacteria or STIs.

General maintenance tips

1. Clean your toys after every use.

2. Don't submerge the part of a sex toy that has batteries in it.

3. Never submerge an electric non-waterproof vibrator.

4. Take the batteries out of your vibrator if you're not going to use it for awhile.

5. Don't just put your toys in a drawer or under your bed, wrap it in a cloth or put it in a cloth bag.

Different care for different materials

Sex toys come in different types of materials so it's important to know what yours is made out of since different materials need different methods of care


Silicone is one of the most popular materials for sex toys since it is nonporous and an easy to clean material. However, with silicone, it is important to use only water based lubricants since silicone based lubricants can wear down your toys, causing a gummy effect that will eventually make your toys unusable.

Jelly Toys:

Jelly toys are also very popular, but a little harder to clearn. Jelly toys are very porous, so they can never be completlely disinfected. You'll still want to wash them in warm water with an antibacterial soap. You can also pick up some sex toy cleaner ( that can give it that extra-clean oomph. (Note: some people avoid jelly toys because they contain PVC plastics with “phthalates” (pronounced tha-lates), which are known to be toxic. ) 

Glass Toys:

Glass toys are nonporous and very easy to clean/disinfect.  Simply, wash with lukewarm water and mild soap.  If you're very concerned about disinfecting, you can boil them. 

Soft vinyl/rubber/latex/hard plastic:

 Like glass toys, these toys should be washed in warm water and anti-bacterial soap.  It's also good to use a sex toy cleaner with these toys.  Make sure to get all of the soap off because it gets absorbed into the toy, which degrades the toy and can cause irritation to any mucus membrane.   

Pyrex and Stainless Steel:

These materials are the easiest to clean - wash with soapy water, use a sex toy cleaner, throw it in the dishwasher, or boil! 

Other sex toy safety 

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be passed using sex toys. So, the same rules to sex toys that apply as body parts. If a toy is being used by multiple people in multiple places, it's smart to put a condom on it. As an added bonus, you'll have less to worry about in terms of disinfecting your toys.  

Other sexual health resources

  • To read about what primary care you should be getting if you're having gay sex click here.  
  • To read about lesbian sex and and STIs, click here. 

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