How To Clean A Vibrator? 9 Mistakes You Must Avoid

Spice It Up | | , Lifestyle writer & Editor
Updated On: December 27, 2023
how to clean your vibrator

Whether it’s a session of self-gratification or a romantic romp between the sheets, pleasure aids can definitely spice things up. Massagers, vibrators, butt plugs, clamps, masks … The list can go on. Depending on your biases and personal preferences, toys can add a new layer of satisfaction to your sex life. Now, keep in mind – Sex tends to get messy. There are bodily fluids involved and maybe even multiple partners, which makes it vital to know how to clean a vibrator or other intimacy toys for that matter. 

Why And How Often Should You Clean A Vibrator?

Neglecting the cleaning of pleasure aids after use can lead to many sexual health issues. Unclean toys (and body parts) can harbor unwanted bacteria or fungi. Using the same unwashed toy can introduce pathogens into your genital area and cause an overgrowth of bacteria and human papillomavirus. This can lead to complaints such as UTIs, different types of STIs, and bacterial vaginosis. 

You might think it’s overkill to sterilize and disinfect your pleasure aids if it’s only yourself or your monogamous partner using them, but this is a fallacy. Whether you have multiple partners or you are flying solo, every type of massager requires disinfection at best and surface cleaning at the least. It is recommended that you clean your vibrator after every use. Make it a non-negotiable habit to protect your health and general well-being. 

How To Clean A Vibrator – 4 Ways 

Depending on the make and type of vibrator you use, there are several different cleaning methods. Some toys can get away with regular surface wipe-down and cleaning, while others require more intensive attention. Your best bet at understanding how to clean a vibrator is to check the instruction leaflet that came with it. If despite a thorough reading, you’re still unsure about how to proceed, this lowdown on the best way to clean your massagers may help:

Related Reading: Tips For An Odorless Vagina

1. Surface cleaning  

A wipe-down with a damp cloth for cleaning adult toys is acceptable only if you’re strapped for time. Using warm water and liquid hand soap is often the most straightforward answer when you wonder how to clean a pleasure aid. While antibacterial soap is fine (though not necessary), avoid dish soap as it contains harsh chemicals that could affect the material of the toy. After washing, simply pat down with a clean towel and leave outside to air dry.  

2. Deep cleaning 

This should be done only if your vibrator not battery-operated or electric. Take a pot of boiling water and submerge your vibrator(s) in the water for a few minutes. Remove, wipe dry, and store in an open area for a while to allow all the moisture to dry up. This is crucial for protecting yourself from STIs/STDs.

3. Dishwasher 

Some dirty pleasure aids, like glass toys, can be rinsed in your dishwasher. Do not add these to your regular wash but run a cycle separately. Always check the instructions on the box for cleaning tips. Other non-porous electric ones with batteries should never be placed in a dishwasher. 

4. Professional cleaning products 

You can also use professional cleaning products to keep your happy-making stash and intimate hygiene in the best condition. These include UV light boxes, cleaners for intimacy tools, and other specialized toy cleaners. However, however…before you add these to your cart, just know that simple boiling water and soap do the trick, and you would be better off saving that money for more massagers instead. 

Related Reading: 18 Scientifically Backed Things That Turn Women On

How To Clean A Vibrator? 9 Mistakes You MUST Avoid

There is a lot of information floating around on the internet on keeping your adult toys in ship-shaped condition. Unfortunately, some of these guides on how to clean massagers have no scientific or factual backing, while others can cause more harm than good. Read up carefully on the different methods of cleaning your vibrator, and always err on the side of caution regarding sexual hygiene and protection. 

Myth no. 1: Make your own rules regarding cleaning your adult pleasure aid

First off, when it comes to cleaning adult toys, always check the manual. Nine times out of ten, it will tell you all you need to know about prolonging the shelf life of your new best friend. 

General rules of thumb regarding cleaning include: 

  • Any toy made of non-porous materials such as medical grade silicone, glass, hard plastic, or even stainless steel0/2 can be washed, rinsed, and dried, as mentioned above 
  • The issue gets stickier (sorry, couldn’t resist) when we are dealing with porous toy made of jelly rubber, leather, PVC, and silicone “blends” 
  • If your Womanizer vibrator needs a scrub, a damp, soft toothbrush can help get into all the crevices and is a great cleaner for such intimacy tools

If your toy is made of a porous material, it would be best used for solo play or if you are in a serious monogamous relationship. Several sex experts suggest avoiding such toys in the first place as cleaning silicone toys can be challenging, which can lead to a build-up of harmful bacteria in all the nooks and crannies. 

Myth no. 2: Watersafe is waterproof 

Keeping the instructions in mind, here’s what you need to remember if you are plagued with doubts regarding how to properly clean massagers. 

  • If the manual states the vibrator is splash-proof, it’s safe to get the surface wet 
  • If it mentions waterproof, you can wash your toy in a sink or submerge it in a shallow bowl of warm water 
  • If the pleasure aid is not water-safe, it’s best to wipe it down with special wipes or a damp cloth 
  • Always remember to remove the batteries before cleaning 

Basically, the key to figuring out how to clean a vibrator/pleasure aid lies in paying attention to detail. Sex experts also suggest leaving the battery case open and empty while air-drying. For other kinky sex play equipment such as leather straps, whips, harnesses, and gags, use a special leather conditioner. Remember that leather is a porous material and should be treated with the required caution when sharing or for multi-purpose usage. 

Related Reading: 5 Tips To Keep The Spark Alive In Long-Term Relationships

Myth no. 3: As long as they can’t be seen, toys are safe 

Another myth when cleaning your pleasure aids is that you can store them anywhere (as long as they can’t be seen). Sorry to break it to you, but care for these intimacy enhancers requires a lot more than just bunging it into a bedside drawer once it’s been used. Improper storage can do more harm than you think. For example, when in your bedside drawer, your toy could pick up lint, dust, and hair no matter how clean you think the place is. 

Not all massagers can be thrown together in a box either. This can lead to damage to sensitive materials or, worse still cracks and tears that can make it a breeding ground for bacterial build-up. Instead, use the fabric bag or box it came in. If this is no longer an option, any resealable bag will do. 

However, if your toy is made of a porous material or meant for anal use, avoid putting it in a plastic container to eliminate odor. All adult toys, electric or otherwise, should be stored in a cool, dark place and not one with access to water or direct sunlight. 

infographic on what to not use to clean your vibrator
Do not use these to clean your vibrator

Myth no. 4: Vibrators don’t need to be cleaned right away 

I know, I know, the last thing you want to do in the post-sex afterglow is to haul yourself out of bed to clean your toys. But – and I can’t stress this enough – never, ever store a vibrator or any type of such toy when it’s dirty. One of the most crucial sexual hygiene tips to remember is to keep them dry and clean. This is the best way to clean massagers and prevent nasty yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and STIs. 

Myth no. 5: A harsh toy cleaner is necessary to ensure proper cleanliness

Here is a simple rule of thumb on how to clean a vibrator – if you wouldn’t put a particular cleaning product in your body, don’t use it on your adult pleasure aid. Case in point: bleach, detergent, antiseptic liquids, and other kitchen and bathroom cleaners are not sexual hygiene products. Would you put any of the above into your vagina or anus? One would hope not. So, leave them off your vibrator. Regular hand soap works just fine as a DIY toy cleaner. Don’t overthink this. 

Related Reading: 35 Awkward Questions To Ask A Guy (Some Are Embarrassing!)

Myth no. 6: Pleasure aids don’t need all this extra TLC 

Listen, most massagers are expensive. Products from Womanizer or Fleshlight can cost several hundred dollars. That’s why, knowing how to clean massagers is essential to prolong their shelf life, and at the same time, protect your sexual health.

Whether you’re wondering how to clean silicone adult toys or how to clean a pleasure aid, do some research on sexual hygiene products and make an informed decision. Your toys will thank you for it. 

Myth no. 7: Using a condom is for sissies

Unfortunately, not. It pays to use a condom even when using a pleasure aid. If you are into anal play, even more so. Protecting your partner and yourself, condoms can also prolong the life of an adult toy by preventing wear and tear. Simply lube up and remember to change condoms if multiple orifices are involved. 

Myth no. 8: It’s safe to use your vibrator as soon as you buy it 

While we understand the enthusiasm, spare a thought to where all the toy may have been before it reached you. It would have been handled by several people in the manufacturing unit, there may be dust and residue still on its surface, or it could have been exposed to pollutants en route. Long story, short – you don’t want any of that inside your body. That’s why one of the best sexual hygiene tips we can offer you is to take a moment after unboxing and wipe down your toy before use. 

Related Reading: 12 Exercises For Better Sex That Make Men Last Longer In Bed

Myth no. 9: Anything’s a pleasure aid if you’re brave enough

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that many common household items can be used to pleasure oneself and can be especially helpful for female orgasms. That said, you need to be cautious when using other objects as a vibrator. Vegetables, electric toothbrushes, handheld massagers – If you plan to use them as a pleasure product, please either dispose of them after use or wash them down as per the earlier rules. 

Key Pointers

  • Taking care of your pleasure aids as per the instruction manual, cleaning them after use, and storing them properly go a long way in increasing their shelf life AND keeping you in optimum sexual health
  • Not all massagers are safe for use. Buy all adult toys from a reliable source and stay away from products labeled as ‘novelty items’
  • Products made of quality materials can help reduce wear and tear and the subsequent possibility of infections
  • If in doubt, use a condom. Better safe than sorry, always

Intimate hygiene is always a tricky balance of doing just enough. Overdo the cleaning and disinfection and you risk affecting the pH balance in your body. Under clean and you risk a potentially dangerous infection and different types of STIs. It’s always best to read up on the manual instructions (don’t chuck them away upon unboxing) to ensure you are protecting your adult toys and keeping them (and yourself) in peak condition. 

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