The wipe up after you get down.
There’s nothing wrong with having a little good, clean fun—and that means regularly washing any and all devices you’re using, either solo or with a partner. And regular means every single time you use it—ideally, not long after you’ve finished.
Why? You want to prevent bacteria from growing, which is more likely if your tools are made of a porous material, like rubber or latex—and since these materials can’t be adequately sterilized after use, they’re best to avoid in favor of nonporous materials like silicone and glass. Devices that aren’t cleaned can result in the spread of STIs and can increase the risk of bacterial vaginitis.
Luckily, this is entirely preventable—just get into the habit of wiping them down after use and it will become as natural as thoroughly washing your hands. Those 20 seconds aren’t that bad, right? Here’s how to do it.
For vibrators and other motorized devices
Unless a product is specifically marked as waterproof, avoid submerging it in water, as that might unintentionally damage it. If it’s made out of silicone or glass, all it needs is a good wipe-down. Using a wet washcloth and a simple antibacterial soap (preferably one that’s fragrance-free), work up a good lather before rinsing it off and drying it with a towel. Think about how foamy your hands get when you’re thoroughly scrubbing them—that’s the type of lather you’ll want to see here.
For waterproof or non-motorized devices
Follow the same instructions as above, but feel free to also let the tool soak in the sink full of water and soap since there’s no risk of damage. Dry with a towel.
For non-motorized silicone tools
Clean with warm water and soap the way you would the above, but if you’d like to give them an extra deep clean (which can also deodorize them), give them a good boil every once in a while, just like you would sterilize a menstrual cup. Place it in a pot of boiling water for five to ten minutes, using a wooden spoon to prevent it from sitting at the bottom. Rinse and dry with a towel.
For glass tools
Dildos and other tools made of Pyrex glass are dishwasher-safe if you want to give them an extra-thorough clean—on their own wash cycle. Otherwise, lather them with fragrance-free antibacterial soap, rinse, and dry.
For nylon and leather accessories
Most nylon harnesses are machine-washable, but you can also hand-wash them with gentle laundry detergent or antibacterial hand soap and warm water. Leather tools should be cleaned with either leather cleaner, or simply wiped down with a damp cloth and antibacterial soap.