How to Properly Care for Sex Toys to Protect Vaginal Health
Dildos, vibrators, butt plugs and beads can often play a leading role during sex. But when the fun’s over, it’s way too tempting to just throw everything back in the toy box and forget about them until next time. Such neglect could be impacting your vaginal health.
When you think about it logically, cleaning sex toys after use seems like such an obvious priority, but when you’re in that postcoital glow—somewhere between satisfaction and snoozing—the impetus to grab your toys and scrub them is probably the furthest thing from your mind.
Most sex toys are ribbed, textured or grooved, and these crevices—such fun when you’re on the receiving end—can become home to all sorts of bacteria. If you don’t thoroughly clean up after each use, that bacteria is going to build up and eventually wreak havoc with your delicate vaginal chemistry.
Safe cleaning methods
The best way to stop this potential crisis in its tracks is to properly clean your sex toys after each use. This doesn’t have to happen immediately—although that would be preferable—but certainly before you store them away, and absolutely before you use them again.
How to clean them, and what “proper” entails, depends on the type of toy and your preferences.
The most important factor is to choose a cleaning product that won’t leave a harmful residue. For example, a bleach dilution is extremely effective in killing bacteria but often leaves a residue that can be absorbed by the delicate vaginal skin and cause secondary health complications.
As a general rule, simply use mild soap and warm water.
The hard-and-fast rules of sex-toy cleaning state that boiling them in water ensures full sanitation. Unfortunately, not all sex toys can withstand such treatment. For example, toys that contain batteries and electronics should never be submerged in liquid, and the heat from boiling water may melt important components.
If possible, choose a toy with removable components, as that allows you to properly sanitize your device without damaging its innards.
The best advice, of course, is to thoroughly read the cleaning instructions provided with your toy by the original manufacturer.
Choose the right lubricant
Just as important as choosing the right cleaning product is selecting the right lubricant. While many lubricants are safe for any situation, some specific formulas can actually damage your toy by breaking down the material it’s made of, and that could be absorbed into vaginal tissues and lead to serious health complications, including cancer.
Like cleaning products, the lube you pick depends on the toy’s material and your own preference:
- Oil-based. This type of lubricant is long-lasting, and perfect for external and anal play. However, please note that it should not be used with sex toys because the chemical composition can break down their materials.
- Silicone-based. One of the most popular on the market, silicone lube is long-lasting and safe to use with most sex toys. Unfortunately, this lubricant’s synthetic properties make it difficult to fully remove from your toys, so you’ll need a specific cleaning product when you’re done.
- Water-based. This is the safest choice of lubricants for both sex toys and vaginal health. It is not long-lasting, but it can be just as effective as the other two types of lubricants. It is the best for any type of sex toy because it is easily cleaned up and won’t damage synthetic materials.
When choosing a lubricant, remember to check the manufacturer’s recommendation for your specific toy, as it can vary from one toy to another. Also, try to avoid porous sex toys, as they will absorb lubricant and body fluids that cannot be removed with regular cleaning.
If you enjoy using sex toys, learn how to clean them before and after each session. And pay attention to the original manufacturer’s recommendations.
Remember, no amount of pleasure is worth risking your health.