Caring for Your Adult Toy Collection (& Your Sexual Health!)

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Caring for Your Adult Toy Collection (& Your Sexual Health!)

The warmer weather is fast approaching, which means spring cleaning isn’t far behind. Don’t worry though, the Sexyland Fun Specialists aren’t here to talk about Marie Kondo-ing your home. No, we’re here to discuss how to clean those other things that spark joy: your sex toys! In addition to helping your toys last longer, giving them a clean is a must to maintain good sexual health for yourself and any partners you’re sharing toys with. Washing your sex toys might seem daunting, but really, it’s just like any other cleaning chore, except it’s definitely quicker and easier than scrubbing the shower grout.

Why it’s important for your sexual health to clean adult toys

You wouldn’t reuse a dirty plate or rewear dirty laundry, and the same principle of only putting things you know are clean inside or around your body should apply for your sex toys. Healthy cleaning habits for your adult toys are essential to maintaining good hygiene downstairs and can impact your sexual health, even if you’re the only person using your sex toys. For women, this is particularly important due to the complex balancing act the vagina is performing with its pH levels and the good microorganisms that live inside it (shoutout to all vaginas for maintaining every woman’s personal ecosystem BTW).

Realistically though, all sex toys for both men and women should be cleaned regularly, ideally before and after every use (because you never know what sort of dust, lint, and debris your toy has come into contact with since the last time you used or cleaned it). At the very least, you should definitely clean your toys after use because in addition to there potentially being risks to your sexual health, not washing sex toys can also cause their materials to degrade faster, and nobody likes having to throw out a toy they love playing with!

Bacteria, viruses, and even parasites that live inside your body can attach themselves to your adult toys during sex or masturbation and build up over time if not thoroughly cleansed, either living on the surface of non-porous toys or inside the tiny holes in porous toy materials. This could cause sexual health problems like passing on infections and even STIs to partners you’re sharing your toys with. It’s also possible to reinfect yourself if you used the toy while you had an infection and then later reintroduced the bacteria on the toy to your system after your initial recovery.

The risk of infection isn’t limited only to female sex toys or people with vaginas though. Unisex anal toys are used by both males and females, and gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria living in the rectum such as harmful E. coli can latch on during use. These bacteria can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) and yeast infections, especially if used vaginally afterwards without cleaning.

All this is not to say you’re guaranteed to experience negative sexual health effects every time you skimp on cleaning your adult toys, but it’s important to know that not only is it possible, it’s totally preventable. In addition to simply cleaning your sex toys, you can take measures like using condoms on your toys during sex or masturbation if you’re currently suffering from a transmittable condition, or if multiple people are using it at the same time. After all, barrier protection methods work for people and male or female sex toys! Don’t forget to use a lubricant that won’t degrade your toy material or the condom – water-based lubricants are our pick since they’re universally compatible with all male and female sex toys and condom materials.

How to clean female & male sex toys of any material

When it comes to cleaning sex toys, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to it as different materials require different treatment, depending on porosity and chemical composition. It’s also worth double-checking your toy’s original packaging or user manual to see what your adult toys are made of, what cleaning method the manufacturer recommends, as well as whether your toy is waterproof, splash-proof, or should be kept away from water in most cases.

Here’s a quick reference chart for how to look after the most common materials both female and male sex toys are made of: 

Material Porous Cleaning Method Storage
ABS plastic No Warm water and soap or toy cleaner In a lint-free fabric bag
Glass, Pyrex, silicone, stainless steel No Toy cleaner or warm water and soap (toys without motors can also be boiled in water) Silicone or stainless steel in any clean container 
Glass or Pyrex in a lint-free fabric bag or padded container
Crystal, stone, wood No Warm water and soap In a lint-free fabric bag or padded container
Jelly rubber, latex, TPE/TPR Yes Room temperature water and a soapy washcloth or toy cleaner Individually in a lint-free fabric bag or non-plastic container per toy
PVC, vinyl Yes Warm water and a soapy washcloth In a lint-free fabric bag
Leather Yes Spot clean with a damp, soapy cloth  In a cool, dry place (avoid storing in plastic)


In general, porous materials are a bit more difficult to keep clean as, by nature, they’re full of tiny holes that bacteria like to hide and multiply in. This can lead to the material breaking down faster, so it’s worth taking care of your investment with proper cleaning and storage techniques. This is especially the case when it comes to realistic dildos and male sex toys like masturbators that use soft materials such as TPR (thermoplastic rubber) and TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) to mimic the feeling of real skin. It’s also worth picking up some individual storage containers or toy bags for porous items to be stored separately so they don’t stick together, lose their shape, or transfer colouring.

Some final things to keep in mind:

  • If your toy is made from multiple materials, account for each one accordingly and store the toy in a lint-free fabric bag, which works for all materials.
  • Stick to non-scented, mild soaps when cleaning your adult toys as synthetic fragrances can linger on your toy and cause irritation the next time you use it, especially if you have sensitive skin. Alternatively, opt for a fragrance-free toy cleaner that doesn’t contain alcohol, triclosan, or skin-irritating parabens like the Wicked® - Foam ‘N Fresh Anti-Bacterial Toy Cleaner. Our customers love the foaming action that gives a superior hygienic clean in just 10-15 seconds, and it’s even vegan so everyone can enjoy it!
  • Always let your toys air-dry fully or pat dry before storing them away. This will help prevent mildew and mould growth from ruining your favourite toys, as well as keep not-so-nice smells at bay.

We know it’s tempting to lie there and just soak in your afterglow once your romp in the sheets is over, but your toys take good care of you. It’s worth returning the favour, for both your sexual health and the health of your sex toys!


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