How to Clean My Vibrator

A Person Holding a Sex Toy

When it comes to sex toys, cleanliness is key. But the most important part of keeping your vibrator clean is how you store it when not in use. Loose vibrators rattling around your nightstand or sock drawer can pick up bacteria that may transfer to your genitals when you play with them next.

1. Soap and water

Cleaning sex toys can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to clean them because sex toys come in direct contact with your body, and bacteria can build up on them and cause infections like yeast and bacterial infections or STIs.

Most sex toys can be cleaned by simply washing them with warm water and antibacterial soap, Fima says. She suggests checking the manufacturer’s website or your box for specific instructions for how to clean different types of vibrators. Generally, she advises using mild antibacterial soap and not anything more harsh or acidic—like bleaches or chemicals—on toys that touch your anus or vagina.

Non-motorized silicone, pyrex and stainless steel toys can also be boiled for a few minutes to disinfect them, Cavanah says. But she cautions that you should check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure this is safe and not harmful for the toy. She also recommends air drying afterward to avoid towel lint on the toy.

Finally, it’s a good idea to store your vibrator in a case or silk bag that can protect it from bacteria while you aren’t using it. Just remember to clean the case, bag or box of its own before putting it away, too. Loose vibrators rattling around in your nightstand drawer or sock draw can pick up all kinds of dust, hairs and other debris that could transfer to your intimate areas when you use them again.

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2. Wipe it down with a damp cloth

Even if you wash your vibrator regularly, it’s important to wipe it down post-orgasm to remove bodily fluids and germs. If left to dry, they can breed and grow, which can lead to infections like yeast or bacterial vaginosis.

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep some sex toy cleaning wipes in a drawer by your bed or even in your Dopp kit, to quickly clean your vibe before and after use. Just make sure you find ones that are safe for your vibrator’s material.

Aside from a damp cloth, you can also use sex toy cleaning spray or foam. Just apply it to the toy, leave it on for the amount of time specified on the bottle and then rinse or wipe clean.

However, these aren’t as effective as soap and water. Plus, they may contain chemicals that could damage your toy or leave behind residue. If you have a non-waterproof toy, try keeping it in a silk or waterproof bag in between uses. This will help it stay hygienic and prevent moisture from getting into any cracks or crevices, which can breed bacteria. Then, once it’s completely dry, store your vibrator in a case or box to keep it safe and sound. That way, when you’re ready to play again, it will be squeaky clean and ready for action.

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3. Disinfect it

Whether you have a specialized sex toy cleaner on hand or just a bottle of water, cleaning your vibrator with a sanitary wipe after each use is important. It will get rid of anything you may have missed, plus any bacteria that it’s picked up during storage.

A lot of advice is floating around the internet about how to clean sex toys, but it’s not always reliable. Some techniques are downright dangerous, like using bleach or Windex on silicone (it can damage it!) or the infamous “sex toy soup” – which involves immersing your vibrator in boiling water for a few minutes to sanitize it.

If you’re sharing your toy with another person, make sure to boil it before and after using it. Otherwise, bacteria lingers on the surface and can be passed on to your partner, potentially leading to STIs and other infections.

It’s also a good idea to store your vibe in a safe place, away from germy objects like your deodorant stick and fake tan bottle. If your toy came with a pouch, it’s ideal to keep it in that. If not, a clean box or fabric cosmetic bag is an excellent choice to protect your vibe from dust and dirt. And don’t forget to dry off your sexy toy completely before putting it away!

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4. Dry it off

There’s a lot of advice floating around about how to clean your vibe and how often you should do it. Generally speaking, though, you should wash your toy after each use. That means wiping it down with antibacterial, non-irritating soap and cold water to remove any bacteria that have accumulated. Then, if your toy is made from a porous material such as rubber or a “silicone blend,” you should give it a detailed scrub to ensure that all of the grooves and crevices are cleaned thoroughly. A toothbrush is helpful here to get into any hard-to-reach areas. Finally, allow your toy to air dry before you use it again.

Once your vibe is squeaky clean, you should take care how you store it. Throwing it back into the sock draw or nightstand drawer isn’t the best idea, as loose vibrators rattling around can pick up all sorts of gross stuff from their surroundings, including dust, hairs and even perfumes.

It’s also best to store your sex toys in their case, if they came with one, or a silk bag — anything that is sealed will do the trick, Mintz says. This will keep them from getting exposed to other icky items and prevent germs from spreading from one toy to another. Ideally, the toy should then be left to fully air dry (again, this is especially important for porous toys) before being used again.

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