Toys 101: Caring For Your Toys


Medical-grade silicone is nonporous, though other varieties may be porous. Double-check the manufacturer's website if you're unsure. For nonporous silicone, clean using a mild soap and warm water or a damp, soapy washcloth. "If there are removable parts, be sure to wash those separately," White says. If the silicone product is not motorized, it can also be placed in boiling water for a deeper clean.

Metals and Pyrex glass

Metals such as medical-grade stainless steel and gold are nonporous, as are borosilicate glass (aka Pyrex glass) and some other types of glass. For a regular wash, clean using a mild soap and warm water or a damp, soapy washcloth. If the product is labeled waterproof and is not motorized, you can boil underwater for three to four minutes to disinfect.

Crystal, stone, and non-Pyrex glass

These materials are generally porous unless they're sealed in a specific way. Clean using a mild soap and warm water or a damp, soapy washcloth. Crystal and non-Pyrex glass are also more delicate to heat and should not be placed in boiling water.


Wood sex toys are often sealed with a medical-grade finish that makes them nonporous; however, always double-check with the specific manufacturer. Clean using a mild soap and warm water or a damp, soapy washcloth. Think about cleaning a wooden cutting board.

Cyberskin and vinyl

Clean with a small amount of mild soap, as too much can break down the product. "If you're cleaning a masturbating sleeve, be sure to turn it inside out (like a sock) to get into all the nooks and crannies," White adds. 

Both cyberskin and vinyl are porous. After they're washed, both cyberskin and vinyl may need a dusting of cornstarch. This keeps the material from becoming sticky or degrading quickly, Watts explains, but always check the instructions to verify this step. 

Plastics and rubber (including TPR, TPE, and jellies)

Thermoplastic elastomer (TPR), thermoplastic rubber (TPE), jelly rubber, and other plastics are all common materials used for sex toys, and they're all porous. Clean with warm water and mild soap. "To get into smaller areas and crevices, you may also want to use a toothbrush to help release any caught debris," White adds. All products should also be thoroughly dried with a clean towel before being stored.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

PVC can be cleaned using a mild soap and water, similarly to the other materials. However, PVC—a material that is used to make plastics more flexible, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)—is a major source of phthalates. While more research is needed, the CDC says the group of chemicals may be harmful to human and reproductive health1.


Nylon can sometimes be used for sex products such as harnesses, impact toys, or wearable items. Durable nylon materials can be washed in the washing machine (as long as they aren't motorized) or hand-washed with mild detergent and warm water, then hung to dry.


Leather is also often used for products like harnesses, impact toys, and wearable items. Leather is an extremely porous material and can be difficult to clean. Using a damp, soapy washcloth, wipe down the material thoroughly and leave it out to air dry. Be sure to clean every nook and cranny, including the stitching.