Is your sex toy putting your health at risk?

There are so many joys that come with delving into the world of sex toys. It doesn't matter if you choose to play alone or with a partner, once you get into it you won't go back!

But something as lovely as on-tap orgasms means there's a little work that needs to go into it on your end as well (sorry). By that, I mean cleaning them - and with the right stuff. 

This was first brought to our attention from Mel, manager of the Glenfield Peaches and Cream, who joined Newshub podcast The Snack to talk all things sex toys. 

When I volunteered that I sometimes use dish soap and a warm flannel to clean mine, she knowingly asked "do you get thrush?" to which I had to shamefully assent. 

So how best to clean, store, and use your vibrator so that it doesn't give you a yeast infection? It's best answered by Emma Kaywin a Brooklyn-based sexual health writer and activist who gave Bustle some advice. 

"They do require some maintenance and thought, because when you’re done with it it doesn’t walk to the shower and sexily sponge itself down," Kaywin pointed out.

"Some of us also get lazy or sleepy after a good romp and think 'I'll clean it later' or even 'I'll deal with it next time.' If this is you, you may be hurting your body, which is the opposite of what a sex toy is for!"

 Here are some of the mistakes you may be making — and how to fix them.

Kaywin says cleaning your toys is important, as bacteria can build up, meaning they can degrade over time. 

"If your toy is made out of silicone, stainless steel, wood, or glass, you can wash it with just soap and warm water," Kaywin says. "Just make sure the soap you use is gentle and doesn't have fragrance in it, otherwise the next time you go to get freaky you may end up itchy instead". 


The best thing to do is use a sex toy cleaner, recommended by both Mel and Kaywin. Just think of it as the same as cleaning your makeup brushes - speciality equipment needs speciality maintenance. 

"If you don't dry your sex toy after you’ve cleaned it, the whole cleaning process may be thwarted! That's because mould and mildew can crop up on damp toys. So give your toy a thorough pat-down after you clean it.

"After all, it probably deserves it. It's worked hard."

You can hear more about the dos and don'ts of sex toys on this week's episode Newshub podcast The Snack.