It may not be the sexiest thing to think about, but if you own one or more sex toys, it’s important to have the best sex toy cleaners on hand. “When toys aren’t cleaned properly between uses, they can spread vaginal infections and even STIs,” says Monica Grover, D.O., a board-certified gynecologist at VSPOT Sexual Health Spa. “They should be cleaned before and after each use,” she notes, adding that many could use cleaning even if you haven’t used them in a while.
And even if you’re just masturbating, dedicated sex toy cleaners are designed to remove lube, harmful bacteria, and bodily fluids that can get stuck on vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, and beyond. They’re especially important for cleaning toys made with porous materials, such as PVC, elastomer, and jelly rubber, which are common sex toy materials that can hang onto bacteria more stubbornly.
If you’re using a sex toy cleanser, it’s still a good idea to first wash your toys with mild soap after you use them. If you’re working with non-porous toys like stainless steel and glass dildos or silicone models without any motor, “they should be boiled in hot water for a few minutes, then wiped with mild soap and air-dried,” says Dr. Grover. Motorized or battery-operated toys, however, should not be submerged in boiling water. These can be rinsed well in warm water and thoroughly wiped down with a mild soap, then left to air-dry. (Antibacterial soap isn’t necessary in this case.)
Washing sex toys before you use them as well will ensure they don’t transmit anything harmful into your body, which can help you avoid issues like yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. “Toys can attract dust and dirt while being stored in drawers, which can have a drastic effect on your vaginal pH,” says sex and relationship coach Mike Anderson. Once you’ve cleaned your sex toy du jour, let it air-dry or wipe it down with a dry washcloth.
Below, We’ve rounded up the best sex toy cleaners worth investing in to ensure you’re using your toys in the safest and healthiest way possible.