Sex Toy Cleaning Mistakes That You Shouldn’t Be Making

Question: How often have you used your vibrator lately? There are many pleasure-seekers out there who have fallen hard for a vibrator (or more) in the past year. However, it is easy to take pleasure tools for granted. I discovered that I charge all of my vibrators right away on my dirty floor before I use them. It’s gross, right? I was left wondering: What other hygiene errors are people making with sex toys?

My self-sanitizing vibrator shows that we all sometimes get lazy. But that doesn’t mean you should stop prioritizing your sexual well-being. This is why Taylor Sparks a sex educator and founder Organic Lovin shares his tips and tricks to ensure your sex hygiene.

1. Chemical-based toy cleaners

Cleaning your sex toys properly is essential to ensure your body is treated as royalty, even after having an orgasm. Sparks recommends avoiding antibacterial and chemical-based cleaners, particularly those with the anti-microbial triclosan. Sparks explains that it is an antibacterial chemical which may leave a film on toys. This can then be absorbed into the bloodstream via your vaginal or anus. Even at low doses, triclosan has been shown to cause liver damage and thyroid dysfunction.

She recommends looking for sex-toy cleaners with all-natural and/or natural ingredients, not just “some” organic. The Intimate Green Foaming Toy Cleaning Toy Cleaner is one recommendation. It’s a gentle foaming cleaner that has natural antibacterial properties and cleans toys well. For those who aren’t so lazy, she suggests Sensuva Thinking Clean Thoughts Toy Cleaning Cleaner ($8). This is a quick and easy antibacterial spray that cleans toys quickly. You might also consider investing in the Uvee sanitizer ($200) if you have lots of toys. Sparks says that the UVC light system can kill 99 percent of germs in just 10 minutes.

2. Toys stored together without protection

Sparks says that some silicone toys are not medical-grade and can stick to one another. Also, porous toys can cross-contaminate. You can prevent this by keeping your toys separate.

Sparks says that most toys come with cloth bags so you can keep them separate. You can also invest in a male sucking toy and a lockable bag to store your toys. Once they are in their bags, you can add them to the larger storage bag.

3. Use your toys right out of the box

People can find weird things on toys even when they are brand new. Sparks says toys may have chemicals on the surface due to the packaging in which they were stored. Sparks advises that toys be washed with an organic, chemical-free, and natural soap before being used for the first time.

4. Unsafely sharing toys with partners

Sparks says that sex toys can spread bacterial vaginosis even though it is not a sexually transmitted disease. STIs can also be transmitted by sex toys. Take, for example, a small 2014 study published in sexually transmitted diseases. It had participants with HPV insert a toy via vaginally. Then, the results were compared between silicone toys and thermoplastic elastomer, a porous jelly-like material. After cleaning both toys, HPV was still present in 56 percent of thermoplastic toys and 44% of silicone toys.

Even though the study was inconclusive, it is a good practice to care for penetrative toys with the same standards as your own genitals. Sparks advises that you use a condom for each exchange of toys. Wash toys after each use.