Let’s be honest, when was the last time that you cleaned your vibrator? According to Gigi Engle, people make this biggest mistake with their sex toys. How do you clean them? Is it enough to dump the dildo in the dishwasher and then run to get it? Are there any special protocols for cleaning toys belonging to couples? We sought advice from sexual wellness professionals on how to dispose of toys.
What’s the big deal about cleaning your sex toys?
“The topic hygiene, at minimum from a vaginal perspective, is confusing to women,” Dr. Jennifer Berman of Los Angeles, a urologist, and sexual health expert. “We are told that it’s self-cleaning, and you don’t need to do anything. Concerns about douching encourage people to leave it alone and not do anything,” Dr. Berman says. However, women’s biology makes them more susceptible to infection. She explains that the urethra hole you use to urinate is very close to the vagina. “But the distance between the bladder opening and the urethra is longer in men so that bacteria can travel much more quickly internally in women.” Women must ensure that their vagina is clean.
LUBE HINDERS BACTERIAL GROWTH, OR DOES LUBE HELP?
Dr. Berman states that lubricants should not be used with toys. (Ok, Dr., let’s get the soap out now. Berman!)
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CLEAN SEX TOYS
Taylor Sparks, founder of Organic Loven and erotic educator, says that you should clean your sex toys after every use. It would be best to keep them in a toy box or bag resistant to bacteria. Toy cases that lock can store small toys, and they will keep them clean. A soft microsuede case like the Tallulah Toy Case with a waterproof nylon interior can protect toys from bacteria growth.
Is there a special cleaner that I need?
Dr. Jed Kaminetsky is a urologist and medical advisor at Promescent, an erotic accessory company. “Rinsing it with warm soapy water should suffice,” he says. However, it is important to follow the instructions for cleaning that are included with your device. Some toys may not be water-resistant or have electrical components that can if exposed, could cause damage to the device’s function. Shay Martin, the importer of the popular plug-in vibrator, the Magic Wand, suggests this cleaning protocol: “Make certain it is turned off and unplugged. Magic Wands can’t be submerged in water, so make sure not to put them underwater. To clean it, use a damp cloth with mild soap. Make sure the item is completely dry before storing it. Sparks suggests using an organic sex cleaner, such as antibacterial Guava Tree bark bark. This will prevent any chemical residues from irritating the genital area.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I DO?
Dr. Kaminetsky recommends never switching from anal to vaginal use within the same “session.” Toss it if it is broken. If the toy is damaged or cracked, it’s best to throw it away. Berman recommends Love Bug, which contains a probiotic formulation specifically designed for vaginal health. Dr. Berman assures us that we can continue to play with toys, even after she has checked off the list of bacterial dangers. They are my favorite.