House Keeping: How to Clean and Care for Your Sex Toys

House Keeping: How to Clean and Care for Your Sex Toys

by Lovehoney

on Feb 19, 2017

Sex Toy CarePut on your spring cleaning panties and let's get to work!

A great way to start fresh is to do a deep clean, but it's also important to keep your sex toys fresh by cleaning them properly all year long.

While you're carefully curating your sex toy collection and saying "out with the old, in with the new", we're here to remind you to consider proper care, cleaning and storage along the way.

A recent survey found that only 70 percent of women and 57 percent of the men clean their sex toys after each use. We know you can do better than that!

In this post we explain the easiest and best ways to take care of all the different toy materials and stains. Click through for our tips to keep your toys clean and make them last.

What kind of cleaning does a toy really need to order to be safe for your precious bits?

A sex toy that comes in contact with the vulva, vagina, or anus needs to be as clear as possible of bacteria, viruses, and fungus. Let’s face it, penises, fingers, and tongues are not sterile, but most of us prefer them recently washed.

Some practices can increase your risk of spreading germs. Here are some major keys to remember about cleaning and caring for your favorite sex toys:

  • DON'T share porous toys with partners or strangers
  • DO wash your toys in between uses
  • DO replace toys that have begun to degrade
  • DON'T use toys interchangeably between the vagina and anus unless you...
  • DO cover sex toys with a condom or thoroughly clean toys between orifices

Sex Toy Materials:

Not all toy materials are created equal in the grand scheme of things. Most sex toy materials can be broken into two basic categories: porous and nonporous.

One Condoms

Porous Materials:

Porous toys are made of jelly, rubber, TPE or TPR although they may come in many different colors, textures, and firmnesses. No matter what you call it, the base component is usually rubber, similar to the material used in latex rubber condoms. 

Toys made of a porous material have small pores which will absorb fluids and bacteria. Porous materials can harbor germs, which is why cleanliness is vital.

Porous toys are also known for sometimes containing phthalates, though the industry is making large strides in moving away from these potentially harmful chemicals. When rubber toys do contain phthalates, they will begin to break down over time and produce an oily sheen that can cause a rash for some sensitive individuals.

At Lovehoney, each product page includes material information, and we are working towards removing any and all potentially harmful products from our selection.

Porous toys should not be shared without covering with a condom or toy cot to prolong the life of rubber toys, but they won't last for ever and are often priced with disposability in mind.

Washing porous toys in a good quality soap or toy cleaner will ease your mind and keep the surface as clean as possible. As long as you are reasonably healthy and not prone to either yeast or bacterial overgrowth, a simple washing before and after use should be sufficient.

Rubber toys should not be boiled or bleached, but some can be rinsed in the top rack of a dishwasher without detergent.

Nonporous Materials:

Nonporous toy materials include silicone, glass, stainless steel, treated stone, ceramic, and treated wood. They are much easier to clean than porous materials. Nonporous materials do not allow bacteria, viruses and fungi to penetrate the surface of toys, and the materials do not break down over time.

Nonporous toys can be cleaned in a variety of ways depending on your personal preference. Almost any nonporous dildo can be washed with a good soap, boiled for 10 minutes, wiped down with a 10% bleach and water solution, or washed in the top rack of the dishwasher without abrasive detergent.


Leather harnesses and whips are popular intimate accessories, but how do you clean them? You defintiely can't throw leather in the washing machine, but there is a very easy way to clean personal fluids off of leather, the secret to cleaning your leather goods is saddle soap, which can be found wherever shoe polish is sold. In between cleanings you can also wipe leather down with an alcohol or vinegar solution.

Motorized Toys

Unless they are marked as waterproof or submersible, motorized toys should not be placed in water. Flooding the motor could completely ruin the toy, so to be safe, wipe the toy using a clean dampened cloth with a small amount of mild soap, toy cleaner, or alcohol. Next, wipe the toy with water to remove any soap residue, and let dry thoroughly before storing.

Silk Restraints and Blindfolds

Silk is a beautiful and strong (yet sensitive), fabric, which is why many people prefer to send their silks to the dry cleaner. If you'd prefer to keep your silky things private, pick up a detergent designed for delicates and hand wash in lukewarm water. To dry, lay the item on a towel and roll it up to absorb water; next, unroll the towel and allow your delicates to air dry flat. Similar to washing other unmentionables.

  1. Learn more! Here's Lovehoney's Sexpert Annabelle Knight talking about sex toy hygiene. Check out Annabelle's own line of body-safe vibrators and easy-to-clean sex toys right here.

Wait! What about the mess?

Semen and Female Ejaculate

There are two things you need to know about removing bodily fluids from sheets and fabrics, most importantly you should never use bleach. Bleach can turn a protein stain, (like semen for example) more yellow, and that's not good. Instead, try an enzymatic stain-removing product to pre-treat the mess before washing in the laundry.

For older stains, soak the item in hot water and an oxygenated bleach, which, unlike chlorine bleaches, won't have the same yellowing effect, for 30 minutes before washing. You can use a product designed to treat pet messes like Nature's Miracle too.


There are a bunch of ways to clean up blood stains, but hydrogen peroxide really is the best when it comes to removing blood from fabric. We recommend you do a test beforehand to make sure it won't have a bleaching effect on darker colors.


Personal lubricant enhances solo and partnered sex, but it can also create a huge mess. Water-based lube stains should come out with a normal wash, but to be safe it's a good idea to use a stain pre-treatment product if you have one.

Silicone-based lubricants are more challenging, for a silicone-based lube stain try to treat it as soon as possible. Citrus degreasers are a good choice, as are grease-removing dish soaps.

Toy Cleaners

A good commercial toy cleaner, such as Lovehoney Fresh Toy Cleaner, is a viable option for cleaning any toy regardless of the materials used to make the toy, but be sure that you rinse the toy thoroughly. You don’t want antibacterial or anti-fungal cleaners near your business as it can disrupt your natural balance no matter your gender.

Some toy cleaner ingredients can irritate sensitive tissues. These types of spray-on and rinse-off cleaners are very effective when you keep this in mind.

A good tool for cleaning textured toys is a brand new soft bristle toothbrush or a fingernail brush. After cleaning your toy wash the brush in good soap and hot water. A stiffer brush can be good to get in the crevices of harder toys, but if your toy has a soft finish this can actually lead to scratching the surface creating a happy place for bacteria and germs so proceed with caution.

Another great option is toy wipes. See our top picks below:

  1. Lovehoney Fresh Biodegradable Sex Toy & Body Wipes (25 Count)

    Lovehoney Fresh Biodegradable Sex Toy & Body Wipes (25 Count)

    Toy wipes make cleaning up super-easy.

  2. Aneros Antibacterial Sex Toy and Body Wipes (25 Count)

    Aneros Antibacterial Sex Toy and Body Wipes (25 Count)

    The Aneros brand is time-tested and highly respected.

  1. Lovehoney Fresh Toy Cleaner 3.4 fl. oz

    Lovehoney Fresh Toy Cleaner 3.4 fl. oz

    Spray it on, rinse it off, and you're ready to go.

  2. Pjur Med Personal Cleaning Spray 3.4 fl. oz

    Pjur Med Personal Cleaning Spray 3.4 fl. oz

    A trusted brand and a top-rated product

Whatever method you use to clean your toys, it's important to be consistent. Cleaning and inspecting your toys regularly will prolong their life span, and help to keep you happy and healthy into the future.

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Written by Lovehoney. For collaborative posts between Lovehoney team members and guest authors
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Originally published on Feb 19, 2017. Updated on Aug 5, 2020