how to clean a sex toy properly - 9 methods and materials

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How to Clean a Sex Toy Properly – 9 Materials 9 Methods


Whatever orifice of pleasure your sex toy delights, whether that’s a decent affordable Fleshlight or a vibranting dildo, you’ll be darn certain that you’ll want to keep it in mint condition, so knowing how to clean your sex toy properly is a must.

Whether used for anal, oral, vaginal or penile pleasure, unwanted bacteria and pathogens will build up and what isn’t visible from the naked eye, might be lead to a urinary tract infection, bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.

Therefore, knowing how to clean your sex toy properly is important, but knowing what ingredient it is made of beforehand is even more crucial.

Here are a following list of materials’ sex toys are made from and how best to keep them sanitized for healthy use, while getting the most life out of them. Remember though, always quote your specific sex toy cleaning instructions – should you still have them, if not – here’s how.


How to clean 9 types of sex toy materials properly


1. Medical Grade Silicone/Silicon Blend (i.e. Fleshlight & Tenga)


Fleshlight shower mount in its full glory
Fleshlight shower mount & the Ice Lady in her full glory.

Medical-grade silicone is mildly porous – this is the material you want your sex toy made from or better still – go completely silicon.

What is a real McCoy fleshlight made of?

Medical grade silicon, a silicon blend or a “super-skin” are what Fleshlights and Tengas are made of. They aren’t toxic and crucially don’t contain phthalate plasticizers.

Putting your willy into something as opposed to putting something inside you is partly why most fleshlights are not made of 100% silicon but a silicon blend, (that and cost and flexibility), as it’s deemed less dangerous and while porous, both Fleshlight and Tenga sleeves as stated are non-toxic, so won’t infect your phallus.

It’s the toxicity that can be found in lower grade penis stroker sleeves that are made from PVC, rubber and a cyberskin that pose the most danger. These you’ll want to avoid.

How to clean Silicone blends

Do not boil as some advise, whatever the toy, as this can kill its shape and rigidity. 

Check the link below for full Fleshlight cleaning instructions

Most crucially if you are using a Fleshlight model, DO NOT USE SOAP!

For cleaning one of Fleshlights silicon blended sleeves, some unscented  wet wipes will do an initial surface clean and then later on, you can use a non-scratch cloth and  some warm non-soapy water where you can take it apart to get to those fiddly bits.

If a mark isn’t shifting, try rubbing a light drop of alcohol over it to clean your Fleshlight. Fleshlight however advise using their own cleaning ingredients for best effect.

Finally, you should apply some neutral talcum powder on the insert surface to stop a stickiness taking hold. Cornstarch also works.

If it’s an alternative model and it states you can boil it and it comes out deformed, then you’ll know you’ve been flogged a dead horse and it’s most likely PVC.

Tip: Additionally, 70% isopropyl will do the trick. Apparently fleshlight users swear by it as it both kills any lurgy and helps it dry faster. Never force dry a fleshlight sleeve.

man rinsing fl sleeve under tap



2. TPE, TPR, plastics, rubber & jellies (i.e. lower grade vibrators)


rubber sex toy

All of the above can be quite porous in toxins, and won’t last long if neglected after use.

How to clean TPE, TPR, plastics, rubber & jellies

Warm, mild soapy water will help with the assistance of a tooth brush to get into those nooks and crannies and help release any debris.

All these materials should be dried immaculately and stored in a non-humid environment.



3. PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) (ie. cheap love dolls)

pvc sex toy

PVC is used to enhance the flexibility of a sex toy but with this come more phthalates where research is still underway into their affect on human and reproductive health.

How to clean PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)

A drop of washing up liquid and warm water will help sanitize your PVC sex toy. Dry in non-sticky environment.


4. Leather (i.e. BDSM equipment, cockrings)

leather sex garment


Used to harness certain sex toys including homemade cockrings, leather is a breeder of germs and should be avoided on close genital contact.

How to clean leather sex toy

A soapy water wash of the entire piece followed but a long air dry is advised.



5. Vinyl & cyberskin (i.e. mounts, dolls, alternative fleshlights)


Vinyl sex machine
How to clean a sex toy properly – especially vinyl.

Some dick strokers are made of this are it’s imperative that you get in those hard to reach crevasses.

Some quality sleeves you can treat like a sock and turn them inside out. Vinyl & cyberskin, unlike medical grade silicon, are both porous and will harbour nasties, so this is where corn starch comes in again.

How to clean Vinyl & Cyberskin

Fleshlight users of non-medical grade silicon fleshlights swear by it: after washing your vinyl or cyberskin fleshlight, lightly dust it in cornstarch which prevents it from becoming sticky (especially if living in a humid climate), which essentially staves off mould.



6. Crystal & non-Pyrex glass (i.e. rabbit vibrators)


non-Pyrex glass vibrator

Unless sealed through high quality manufacturing, these materials are often porous.

How to clean Crystal & non-Pyrex glass

They should not be placed in direct heat or boiled but cleaned carefully with just a some warm soapy water and a damp tea towel.



7. Wood (i.e. sex whip paddle)


wooden vibrators


Wooden sex toys for men and women are still made today but are often sealed with a non-porous finish.

How to clean a wooden dildo

No boiling, just some lukewarm soapy water again.



8. Pyrex glass & metals (i.e. mechanized clitoral vibrators)


Pyrex glass sex toy for women


Gold, silver, pyrex or borosilicate glass are all non-permeable.

How to clean Pyrex glass & metal

If the device is labelled waterproof and is non-motorized, then – instructions permitting, you may place it in the dish washer or boil it.


9. Nylon (i.e. erotic strapping or garment)


nylon belt


Like leather, often used to attach a sex toy to a specific region of the body, if the nylon is detachable, it can be machine washed.

How to clean a Nylon sex toy

Otherwise, a soapy warm water wash and then hung out on the clothes line or somewhere more discreet, will suffice.



What to look out for when buying a hygienic sex toy


buying a sex toy

Price: if it’s too cheap to be true, then it’s most likely made of less sterner stuff. That said you can pick up a Tenga or Fleshlight sleeve for under $30 just without the case and perhaps additional add-ons.

Smell: difficult if you are buying online but a handy tip is to make sure your sex toy doesn’t smell. This will reflect the cheapness of the materials.

Material: what’s the most hygienic sex toy material people ask – well, make sure it is either silicon or medical grade silicon – not any old PVC toy. Medical grade silicon will still need to sanitized but bacteria will unlikely permeate the toy if looked after appropriately.

For men’s penis strokers, silicon and TPE are two materials that are both used to create these super-soft pleasure chambers. Their flexibility and suppleness are down to this silicon blend. Silicon alone is too firm.

Medical grade silicone is superior and bodily fluids should not permeate the skin of these toys if kept unscathed. Conversely, the skins materials will not infiltrate your member either. Well, not with any toxins, should you have an abrasion or open cut.

Alternatively and more affordable, TPE toys are not bad per se, but people using them should be aware that they require more upkeep and don’t last as long as a silicone sleeve. You should keep an eye out for dark mould spots and strange smells emanating over time. This will indicate it’s time to discard the toy.


What infection can you get from a sex toy


Rinsing love balls under tap

Only you: if it’s just you that uses the sex toy then you only open yourself up to the harm the potential toxins the toy might inflict through an open wound, like a yeast or urinary tract infection.

More than 1 person: if you share a sex toy however and it is not cleansed correctly and you have an open sore or cut on your manhood or around your vulva or derrière, then theoretically body fluids can now pass and you open yourself up to the whole gamut of STD’s: HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C to name a few of the big guns.


What are the safest safe sex toy materials?

In short, silicon or non-toxic porous blends.

As mentioned, some dick strokers are made of more porous materials, but these will degrade faster over time and will begin to host bacteria and mould.

Medical grade silicon is porous but non-toxic, making it perfect for sanitizing, but not beyond the surface. Any dark spots or unusual smells will usually mark the demise of your sex toy.

Note: Applying cornstarch/neutral talcum powder after each fleshlight cleanse is essential for the longevity of a silicon blend/TPE  sex toy.

Additionally, other safe materials that are often found on popular sex toys include:

Lucite – used in sex toys to help people strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, think of a wobbly yet stern, big transparent dildo that is stuck to the floor through suction and this is most likely made from lucite.

Stainless steel – can be bleached, boiled or stuck in the dishwasher. Found on a number of classy rabbit vibrators, obviously if it’s mechanized, then a careful hand wash is the only way.

Borosilicate glass – again, more present in the vibrator market, it’s neither toxic or porous and doesn’t change shape when warmed up.


Debunking the sex toy horror stories

Catching chlamydia: it’s not possible to get chlamydia from a sex toy without another person getting involved with it. If it is just you using it and no-one has snuck in and had a cheeky go on your personal love tunnel, then should you have picked up something, you can rule out this theory. 

Getting pregnant: actually, stories have surfaced that purport that recently dried out erotic man waste left on a vibrator may in fact – although highly unlikely,  lead to pregnancy. It can’t be ruled out.

Cleaner the toy, safer it is: not so according to research. Excessive cleaning and an overuse of cleaning toxins can weaken your immune system.

Douching is also a new form of making ones vulva smell like roses, but applying an aesthetic scent to down there is potentially causing ovarian cancer.

Note to self: keep chemicals and toxins away from your private parts.


How to maintain personal bodily hygiene after using a sex toy

For men – Be sure to pull the skin back so you can clean the entire head of the penis.

For women – Gently pull back the vaginal folds and lift the clitoral hood up, towards your belly button to clean. Use warm water and a gentle soap or cleansing wipes.

Note: any pre-cum or ejaculation present on the toy when you use it poses a minute risk of pregnancy.


Sex toy materials to avoid with a bargepole

It helps to know what we are putting in our bodies and the following chemicals may be present in your sex toy:

  • Timethytin chloride
  • Phenol
  • Carbon disulfide
  • Toluene
  • Admium

These non-natural ingredients, if placed in a porous sex toy could heavens forbid, seep through to the foetus of someone who is pregnant or the child who is breastfeeding, or have a harmful affect on the central nervous system.

Again, to avoid this, choose silicon over non-silicon, or more importantly a non-toxic over a toxic sex toy.

Rubber, PVC, jelly and vinyl: all 4 should be avoided or used with additional care.

Jelly, PVC & vinyl all contain phthalates which can be harmful to the internal organs and the reproductive system.

Rubber is a latex material which has a pungent smell, is porous and can cause allergic reactions. Always where a rubber when using a rubber dick stroker or ideally, don’t use this sex material at all.