Spoiler alert: Sex toys aren’t as formidable as cast iron skillets. Left unwashed, a sex toy doesn’t introduce extra flavor into your life — rather, a dirty sex toy is merely a recipe for unfavorable infections. Luckily, there are plenty of sex toy cleaners that make cleaning a jiff. But before we delve into the best sex toy cleaners on the market, let’s get some clarity on why these cleaners are so essential to maintaining a healthy sex life. Two words: bodily fluids.
“If you’re masturbating with a sex toy, you’re probably getting bodily fluids on it,” says Lisa Finn, a sex educator with Babeland, one of the most highly-stocked sex-toy retailers. Bodily fluids contain bacteria that, outside of the body, can multiply and grow, she explains. If reintroduced to your body — for example, when you use the sex toy again — these bacteria can wreak havoc on your vaginal and anal microbiomes. For people with sensitive bits, this introduction of foreign bacteria can even lead to bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection, or a UTI, she says.
Using a sex toy immediately after a partner has used it is risky, too, explains Finn — especially if that partner has an STI or doesn’t know their current STI status. “Using a sex toy covered in another person’s bodily fluids puts you at risk of unwanted STI transmission,” she says. Sure, sharing is caring…but only to an extent.
Here to help protect you from these unwanted infections are sex toy cleaners. The makeup and texture of these products vary across brands, but what remains consistent is the fact that they make cleaning your pleasure products easy peasy. “They allow you to clean your sex toy between uses without really thinking about it,” Finn says.
As you’re shopping for adult toy cleaners, keep in mind that you’ll also want to invest in a microfiber towel or washcloth — any will do, but this set from Amazon Basics gets the job done — to dry your toys with post-wash. “Drying your sex toys with toilet paper or paper towels can leave behind paper residue,” says Finn. That being said, you can also air-dry your toys on a clean paper towel if you so choose. But whatever method you choose, make sure our device is completely dry before it goes back into storage.
Still, not all sex toy cleaners are created equal. Some contain alcohols that can have a drying effect on your internal tissues, while others have irritating fragrances, according to Finn. That’s why, with her expertise, we put together this list of the best sex toy cleaners — including sprays, foams, and even bar soap — to avoid unwanted irritation and/or infections.