It’s not the sexiest part of vibrator ownership, but properly cleaning and storing your vibrator is an important thing you should do for your own sexual health.

Dirty vibrators aren’t just gross, they can be dangerous too — germs from dirty toys can cause yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis or worse.

Fortunately, cleaning a vibrator is just about as easy as washing your hands, and certainly you’ve had plenty of practice at the latter by now!

How to clean your vibrator

Truly, cleaning a vibrator is extremely easy. The best thing to use is a mild soap that you’d use on your body, like liquid or foaming hand soap, a clear body wash (avoid using body washes that contain microbeads or moisturizers), or bar soap.

Wet the vibrator and a cloth with warm water, apply soap to the damp cloth, and gently wash the toy with the soapy washcloth for 20 seconds. Then simply rinse it under warm running water and dry thoroughly with a clean towel. That’s all!

It’s worth noting that specialized foaming or spray sex toy cleaners are available, and they are a perfectly good, if slightly more expensive, choice. One benefit that a toy cleaner offers over soap and water is transportability, i.e., you can toss a small bottle of sex toy cleaner in a purse or overnight bag and rest well knowing you’ll be able to clean your toy even in circumstances where you may not have access to soap and running water.

To use a toy cleaner, apply the spray or foaming cleaner directly to the vibrator, leave the product on the surface of the toy for the length of time specified by the manufacturer (usually 5-10 seconds), and then wipe or rinse the vibrator clean.

Mashable After Dark

Should you use vibrator cleaning wipes?

Sex toy cleaning wipes are a very good thing to know about when it comes to caring for your vibrator. They’re an incredibly convenient — stash a pack in a bedside table drawer, or toss a package in a Dopp kit for use when traveling. They also can double as personal wipes to remove bodily fluids, lube, sweat, etc. from your body after sex, both solo or coupled.

But while sex toy cleaning wipes are perfect for cleaning a vibrator in between uses, there are some drawbacks: They can leave behind fluids and bacteria, so they shouldn’t entirely replace a deeper cleaning with mild soap and water, but instead be used as a quick cleaning solution.

Related Video: 5 ways to safely clean your sex toys

Mistakes to avoid when cleaning your vibrator

Given that it’s the most important rule of sex toy cleaning, this bears repeating: Clean a vibrator after each use, and never, ever store a dirty toy. Keeping sex toys clean and dry will help to prevent infections that are caused when bacteria is left to linger after use.

Another rule to live by when cleaning sex toys of any kind or material, including but not limited to vibrators, is to avoid using any cleaning products that you wouldn’t put in your body. So: Don’t soak your vibrators in bleach, don’t spray your dildos with Windex, and don’t use Soft Scrub on your butt plugs. If it doesn’t go in your vagina or anus, it shouldn’t go on your vibrator. Antibacterial soap that is designed for use on skin is fine to use, but not necessary.

And one last thing: Even if they’re waterproof, motorized toys shouldn’t be cleaned in the dishwasher. The heating element on dishwashers is too hot, and it can cause damage to a vibrator’s motor. Non-motorized toys can be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher, provided they are waterproof.

How to store your sex toys

An important, and easy-to-overlook, part of keeping a vibrator (or any sex toy) clean, is how and where it’s stored while not in use. Improper storage will leave a vibrator exposed to bacteria and airborne pollutants, and using a dirty toy can lead to infections. Before putting a vibrator away, it must be clean and dry, and it should be stored in a bag or box of its own to keep it from getting dirty while not in use.

This article was first published in 2020 and republished in 2024.

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