Sex Toy Care & Maintenance
With all of the different types of sex toys available, and newer, more lifelike materials
continuously being created, figuring out how to best take care of your sex toy can be a bit
confusing. Though honestly, even if your personal treasure trove consists of one simple slimline
vibrator, you'd still like to extend its life as long as possible, right? We're here to help!
Sex Toy Maintenance | How to Clean Sex Toys | Proper Sex Toy Storage | Sex Toy Cleaning FAQs
Maintaining Your Sex Toys
Maintenance involves many things, but taking these few quick and easy steps will ensure the best
performance from your toys, and the most pleasurable experience for you!
As soon as you receive your new pleasure pal, go down this checklist:
- Inspect your sex toy for imperfections, including rough seams (you may be able to file down
very small seams with a fingernail file),
discoloration (which may be an expected part of the manufacturing process or indicate extreme
temperature exposure), or tears in softer materials such as jelly and realistic materials.
- Check for cracks in acrylic, glass, and plastic toys or plastic pieces of toys (battery packs,
- Insert fresh batteries to make sure the toy works properly; see the online product page for a
battery diagram if insertion is unclear, or contact
firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
If you have any questions about your product, contact email@example.com. If you see a
problem and want to return your item, you may do so for a store credit within the first
30 days after purchase. Click here for more information on our
return policy, including what to do after 30 days. We always want you to be satisfied with your
purchase… in every way!
Using the Right Lubricant
Choosing the correct sexual lube is key to keeping your sex toy in the best shape possible, and it
makes every experience more enjoyable. For more information on using lubricant with sex toys, check out
Lubricant: How do I use it
with sex toys?
Just remember these simple tips:
- Water-based lubricant may be used with any sex toy.
- While silicone lubricants are perfect for use with a partner, a silicone lubricant should
never be used with silicone sex toys, nor should it be used on any realistic material
(CyberskinTM, FuturoticTM, NeoSkin®, FauxskinTM, Soft
- Never use an oil-based lube or petroleum jelly on any toy that will come into contact with
or be inserted into the vagina (may increase risk of vaginal infections), or with anything made of rubber/latex, including latex condoms (will disintegrate latex).
Tips for Sharing Sex Toys
If you share your sex toys with a partner, or want to switch between anal and vaginal use, even on
yourself, you must thoroughly clean the toy to avoid infection, and to avoid introducing bacteria
into the vagina. The best way to avoid bacteria transmission is to use a condom over the toy and
change it whenever the toy is used for different partners or orifices. This method is hygienic,
fast, and extends the life of your toys by protecting the material! For more detailed information on
safer sex play in general, be sure to check out our
Education section and Dr. Gardos'
Q&A archive in particular.
Proper Storage of Sex Toys
We'll explore this topic in-depth in our
Where Do I Hide My Sex Toys? article. At the very least,
be sure you have a place for your toys that keeps them separate, cool, and dry, away from pets (and
kids) and protected from dirt and dust. And always remove the batteries before storing.
When to Replace Your Toys
No sex toy lasts forever, and some, depending on frequency of use, may last a very short while, so
how do you know when it's time to say good-bye?
- Mechanical features slow or stop working, even after battery replacement
- Cracks are visible in plastic, acrylic, or glass toys, or on the plastic pieces of other
- Mold or mildew has formed on the material, or the material is deteriorating
- Battery corrosion is seen inside the battery pack
Much like shoes, the more you use a sex toy, the quicker it will wear out, so it's possible to go
through a toy a month-or to keep one for as long as a year. Just be sure to replace your sensual
friend and not try to fix it yourself!
Cleaning Your Sex Toys
Regular cleaning is key to maintaining the integrity of the material of any sex toy. Be sure to wash
before first use and immediately after each use before storing. Always be careful to keep water and
cleanser away from battery cartridges and electrical parts. The safest way to clean most of your sex
toys is to use an antibacterial cleanser, such as
ForPlay Adult Toy Cleaner. This
formulation contains Nonoxynol-9, which kills all bacteria and is compatible with all sex-toy
materials. Simply dilute with warm water (see bottle for instructions), wash the toy with a cloth,
rinse it thoroughly, then towel dry with paper towels or a soft, lint-free cloth. However, each toy
material is different and is best cleaned and cared for in its own special way.
Here's a breakdown of how to clean sex toys by material:
- Silicone: Hypoallergenic and easiest to maintain, silicone dildos and non-battery-operated
toys may be boiled for two to three minutes, or washed with soap and water. NEVER boil silicone sex toys
with electrical components. Let them air dry
completely or dry with a lint-free cloth before storing.
- Plastic/Acrylic/Glass: All can be washed with warm water and anti-bacterial hand soap and sterilized using
an alcohol-soaked cotton ball (rinse thoroughly afterward); acrylic and glass toys may be boiled or
submerged in hot water if they're not battery-operated.
- Rubber/Latex and Jelly: These products are extremely porous, so be sure to wash them
thoroughly with warm water and anti-bacterial hand soap, and rinse so that no trace of soap is left, as it can degrade
the material and cause irritation to you. Again, while it's a good idea to use a condom with any
insertable toys, it's an especially good idea with these materials.
- Realistics: Names include CyberskinTM, FuturoticTM, NeoSkin®, Soft
TouchTM, UltraSkin, and FauxskinTM (if you're unsure of the type of material,
check the packaging or product page, or contact Customer Service), and this type of material is
widely used for erection rings and masturbation sleeves, as well as vibrators and dildos. Thoroughly
wash with warm (never hot) water and a liquid antibacterial soap, then let air dry completely.
Once dry, sprinkle with the included "renewing" powder or cornstarch. Never use talcum powder or baby powder,
as these can cause irritation and sometimes larger problems for women (pure talc is fine but very difficult to find).
Because sex toys not only touch your skin, but touch very intimate areas of your body, it's extremely
important to know whether you have any allergies or sensitivities to certain materials, cleansers,
etc. If you're not sure, we highly recommend that you do an allergy test on a small patch of skin,
such as the wrist, before using any product. For more information on cleaning toys and related
subjects, please be sure to read the FAQ section of this article.
Storing Your Sex Toys
How you store your sex toys is as important as how you clean them, and while we're not suggesting
you need to invest in a temperature-controlled vault, there are some basic things you can do to
prolong the life of any toy, as well as keep it clean and safe from harm.
- Always remove the batteries when you're done using any toy so they can't leak, run down, or
otherwise corrupt the toy; both the batteries and the toy itself will last longer!
- Be sure your toys are completely dry before storage to discourage mold and mildew.
- Keep each item separate by wrapping it in a soft cloth (T-shirts or socks work well), because
some materials are not compatible with each other and can cause melting or discoloration. If
vibrating bullets and eggs are removable, store them separately from their respective toys as well.
- Direct sunlight and excess heat may cause toys and condoms to melt, discolor, or dry out, so
store these items in a cool, dark place such as a dresser drawer or trunk. Extreme cold can also do
damage to toys not made of acrylic, glass, or silicone, and only if those are not battery-operated,
so never refrigerate or freeze soft materials or condoms.
- Always clean your sex toys before putting them back into their storage spot and when taking them out for use.
On a final note, if there's anything we haven't covered or that you need more information about, our
Education section is a great resource for everything
related to sex toys and their use, as well as for sexual health information in general.
FAQs about Sex Toy Care & Cleaning
- "I don't know the material my sex toy is made of-how do I clean it?" If you no longer
have the toy packaging, you may not be sure what material your toy is made of; use warm water and a
mild soap on a washcloth and let the product air dry.
- "If my vibrator is waterproof, can I wash it in the dishwasher?" Only silicone dildos
that do not require batteries can be washed in the dishwasher or boiled. Do not submerge any sex toy
that takes batteries, and never submerge electrical toys.
- "Will using a sex-toy cleaner with Nonoxynol-9 increase my risk of STIs?" No!
Nonoxynol-9 will kill any bacteria on your sex toys and, if rinsed off properly after washing, it
will not make you more susceptible to getting sexually transmitted infections.
- "I have ultrasensitive skin, so I can't use antibacterial soaps or toy cleaners-what should
I do to clean my toys?" It would be best for you to only use silicone-based toys (they're hypoallergenic); if it does not
use batteries, it can
be boiled in hot water for cleaning and sterilizing, so no soap is necessary.
- "I only have one sex partner, my husband. Why would we need to use condoms with our sex
toys?" Rubber, latex, jelly, and realistic materials are porous and harder to clean thoroughly,
so using a condom will extend the life of the product. Plus, a condom will keep you both safe from
bacteria if the toy is shared between you or switches orifices. An added bonus is if you use a
lubricated condom, no additional lube is necessary!
Storing Your Sex Toys