Cleaning Your Silicone Vibrator: How, When, & Why
In choosing a silicone sex toy, you've already made your life much easier when it comes to vibrator cleanliness because silicone is a non-porous material. Nonporous toys (unlike porous materials) makes it unlikely that harmful bacteria will be absorbed past the surface, also requiring no fancy cleaning tools - just water and soap or baby wipes. Here are some cleaning instructions to keep your sex toys fresh.
Instructions for cleaning a silicone toy:
Step 1: Using a basic, mild, antibacterial soap (like Dial) and a small amount of warm water, scrub the vibrator with a damp cloth or a washcloth for 30-60 seconds. Some brands also sell their own sex toy cleaner which can also be useful as you know it won't damage their product.
We'd recommend avoiding oil-based soaps with silicone toys to keep them in tip-top shape for longer (some oils disagree with silicone, so better to play it safe).
Don't completely submerge it in the water, unless you've double-checked that it's waterproof and have ensured that any closures or screw tops for battery insertion are tightly closed.
Step 2: Pat it dry with a clean paper towel or let it air dry.
Step 3: Store it in a clean box or pouch, keeping it separate from other various items.
For an even quicker option, you can also use mild baby wipes (no disinfecting wipes like Lysol or Clorox!), but you'll still want to be thorough with the wipe-down and drying before using or storing the vibrator.
Don't forget to clean the vibrator before you use it for the first time - dust or other unknowns may have settled onto the surface while it was packaged up. You're trying to get down and dirty in only one sense of the phrase.
- Stick in boiling water
- Clean with any type of bleach or harsh cleaning spray
Clean your sex toys after every use - yes, every use.
Unless you're using a condom over the vibrator, it's best practice to clean it (and any sex toy you use) after every use to get rid of any bodily fluids that may have made their way onto the sex toy. If you've taken the time to masturbate as a way to care for yourself, you should take those extra couple moments to ensure your own bodily safety.
Why are clean sex toys important? When you use a vibrator, there's a good chance that some of the microorganisms from your vagina will carry over to the toy, which usually isn't harmful. In fact, most of the bacteria and fungi that occur in your vagina is natural and keeps things humming along, so there's absolutely nothing "unclean" about it.
However, if you have an STI (including the very common HPV) or any kind of vaginal infection (ex: yeast infection), it's possible that the pathogens that cause the infection could remain on the toy's surface and if it's a porous toy, they could get inside the tiny holes, beneath the surface. If you don't clean the toy before using it with a partner, you could pass on the infection to them, or reintroduce the microorganisms into your own system after you've killed off the infection.
There's also a risk with GI bacteria, like E. coli, which could occur if you use a toy anally and then vaginally - this could cause bacterial infections like a urinary tract infection or bacterial vaginosis.
Cleaning your vibrator is mostly precautionary: you probably won't get an infection every time you forget or can't bother to thoroughly clean it, but it's important to make a concerted effort to keep yourself (and your partner) safe in the long term, also keeping your vibrator in the best possible condition for its full lifecycle. Sex toy cleaning isn't glamourous but it is considerate.
And don't forget! Sex toy storage–store your silicone sex toy in a space where it will stay clean (and still easy to grab when needed).