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The Best Ways to Clean Your Sex Toys Like a Pro

Strap on, tune in, and wash out your sex toys with these UV cleaners, pH-balanced wipes, antibacterial sprays, and more.
New York, US
August 18, 2021, 9:22pm
Collage of sex toys, cleaner, dildos, and flushable wipes
Composite by VICE Staff

You gotta do it, man. No matter how drunk, lazy, or Ben Affleck Dunkin Donuts #sad you’re feeling: You must clean your sex toys. Which… goes without saying, right? Right. [Slides cum-crusted Fleshlight under bed.] We know you know this, but in case you’re one of the 28 percent of people who Adam & Eve reported don’t clean their sex toys after every use, please pull up a chair with your dildo of choice. 


Your genitals are precious cargo. Flailing, exuberant flaps and schlongs that feel everything, for better or for worse. I can’t tell you how many times a poorly cleaned/prepped dildo has thrown off my vaginal pH—if a vibrator has even the slightest bit of floof on it, I’ll get prickly, painful cobweb pussy. Dusty. Feels like brambles up there. 

Anyways. The thing about cleaning your sex toys is that it’s just as easy to do well as it is to screw up. The first step is to make sure you’re not purchasing low-quality toys made with phthalates, which have been dubbed a “human carcinogen.” You also don’t have to go Daddy Warbucks to get a well-engineered, body-safe silicone sex toy. Scope those sales, mama. Sus out which companies are prioritizing quality materials. Some of our faves include LELO, Dame, Je Joue, Spectrum Boutique, and others.  

The most easy-to-sanitize sex toys are going to be made of stainless steel, glass, and silicone, because you can usually boil them like a Hot Witch for about 10 minutes, or however long the toy’s instructions indicate (but don’t do it if there’s a vibrator in there). They’re also less porous, and thus less apt to pass on funky bacteria if you clean them right after use, which is the goal here. Just don’t wait. Clean ‘em. 

Some sex toys can go in the dishwasher, but, again, not if they have a motor and not if they’re not heat-tolerant (we’ve all seen that Broad City episode). Get in there with a combination of two (three, if you’re a cum lord) cleaning methods; I personally will wipe down and/or rinse my toys before use with antibacterial solutions, and (unless I pass out next to the Flamin' Hot Cheetos) clean them right after with a body-safe, pH balanced wipe, pat ‘em dry, then put them in my schlong stable or on display, like a horny hunting lodge. 

Oh, the places your dildos will go if you keep them primped. Here’s a breakdown of what to do to keep them (and you) happy down there. 

A mild, unscented soap

I’ve used all three of these, and they stack up pretty well to one another if you can’t be bothered to buy sex toy-targeted cleaners. DHC is an excellent Japanese skincare brand that you should investigate anyways, and I use this soap on my face and my vibes (two very sensi tasks). Maude is this pioneering, gorgeous, see-sexual-wellness-within-all-wellness kind of company whose body wash works just as well on your body as it does your dildos. I don’t suds up my toys with loads of bubbles; I use a small amount of soap and a lot of warm water more than anything else. Oh, and as for Tom’s? Well, we all know Tom. Reliable guy. 


wash no. 0 ph-balanced body wash

Tom's of Maine

Natural Beauty Bar Soap

There are epic, easily cleanable toys out there

Plot twist: You can also just buy sex toys that are easily cleanable. I’m talking glass, silicone, and stainless steel—all toys that, IMO, dually function as horny objets d’art on one’s nightstand, and are just way more body-safe to smoosh around your tender nethers than the funky, jelly, phthalate sex toys. (BIG NO-NO; that shit is like a rubber eraser). If they don’t have batteries, you can usually boil these toys or stick them in the dishwasher, and they’ll have a longer shelf life than your bargain bullet vibrators. “[The] Njoy pure wand has probably been in my necessity/getaway bag for years. It’s my favorite toy that I could be stranded on a deserted island with,” adult content-creator and sex coach Stevie Balkon once told me. “It doesn’t have a motor, aka no charging; it’s balanced in such a way that it takes little effort to find your pleasure center.” The Stellar by Unbound Babes is another dishwasher- and stove-top safe (meaning: You can boil it) internal-external toy with unparalleled galactic sex appeal, while the crystal anal plug trainer set by NS Novelties is just such a choice sex pantry staple.

Unbound Babes

Stellar internal and external massager


Aer Clitoral Vibrator

NS Novelties

Crystal Tapered Premium Glass Training Kit

Yes, the premade cleaning solutions are worth it

Here’s the thing. If you *do* use a lot of vibrators, or just one vibrator a lot, you probably can’t be bothered to keep schlepping your unscented soap out of the shower for each use. The Promescent wet wipes are like my toys’ guardian angel. They’re gentle, individually wrapped, pH-balanced, and the first (and last) step of my cleaning routine; i.e. I’ll wipe down my vibes with them before and after use. LELO also makes an antibacterial spray with additional antiviral and antifungal properties, while Maude has whipped up a whole little spa kit to luxuriate your toys.  


Wet Wipes for Adults with Aloe Vera


the clean kit: hydrating sanitizing spray and compressed towel set

Cleaning Fleshlights and peen sleeves

Penis sleeves and Fleshlights are kind of in a league of their own. Fleshlight recommends using hot water on their toys, and avoiding soaps that will degrade their thermoplastic rubber. You’ll want to make sure everything is bone-dry before you re-powder that wig (yup) to keep the material springy and fresh, and either MacGyver a drying rack or buy one of Fleshlight’s fab peen-machine hangers. 


Product Care Kit (Wash and Renewing Powder)

Leather daddies 

We haven’t forgotten you. The leather and suede sex toys in your rotation need some TLC, too, whether they’re strap-ons, whips, or leather-embellished vibrators like the Satisfyer luxury clitoral vibe (which is almost half-off at Ella Paradis’ end of summer sale). The rad thing about their maintenance, however, is that you can just use non-toxic leather wipes.  

Boot Rescue

Suede and Leather Sandal Cleaner


Non-Toxic Leather Wipes

Bondage Boutique

Expandable Spreader Bar with Leather Cuffs


Luxury Haute Couture Leather Vibrator

You may already have one of these

In these sTrAngE anD uNcErtAin tYmes, a lot of us (me) have thought about UV-light sanitizing devices, which you can use on your phones and your sex toys alike. Granted, you’re still going to want to give your toys a scrub before putting them in a UV-cleaning case (you rinse your plates before putting them in the dishwasher, hunny). It’s a luxury item, for sure, but if you do have a handful of toys to clean it’s a rad addition. It feels damn cool to do, and makes a great gift. I inherited a UVee case from a friend, but honestly any UV sanitizer box will do. 


UV Light Sanitizer Box

Where you store them matters

Your sex toys will often come with their own pouch. Don’t toss it. It’s not just there for packaging’s sake; it will keep it dust-free at home, and when travelling (but if you do toss it, you can find bulk satin pouches online). Recently, I’ve also been into the idea of finding the perfect pleasure chest for my schlongs, plugs, and generally horny accessories. Why wouldn’t you want to store your vibrators in a 1960s Russian industrial equipment box, or a 1970s lucite container fit for a Bond villain? This is your movie, baby. And there’s no better scene than the moment you unhinge that chest, and pull out a double-ended dildo like Hairyson Fuck in Raiders of the Lost Arse


Handmade Large Black Velvet Pouch (Set of 10)


Ashling Marble Storage Container


1960s Russian Industrial Equipment Box


Vintage Tortoiseshell Lucite Storage

Keep it squeaky. 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.