The Best Way to Clean Your Vibrator

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There are some things in the house you clean without second thought—the toilet, the stove, even your shower floor. But there are others—like your bed sheets—that go far too long without a good wash. Vibrators fall into the latter category for many women. In fact, according to a 2009 study, about 14 percent of women have never cleaned their vibrators before or after use. Yikes.

That's a problem. Your vibrator goes inside one of the most important areas of your body and, if you're not careful, all that bacteria from your favorite toy can lead to infection. (Side note: Never put these 10 things near your vagina.) "A lot of women don't understand how important cleaning a vibrator is, and as a result, a number of women are going to the doctor because they have infections like bacterial vaginosis—an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina—or a yeast infection," says Tyomi Morgan, a sexuality expert and educator.

We know those post-O hormones don't exactly help with productivity, but it's important to take time to clean your vibrator. These are the quick steps Morgan suggests for keeping your sex toy in tip-top shape. (When you're done, read up on these 21 surprising facts you didn't know about your orgasm.)

1. Choose the right products.

Using a vibrator made from nonporous materials (such as silicone or glass) is safest since other materials (like latex and jelly rubber, for example) can collect bacteria in the pores, says Morgan. When it comes to actually cleaning the toy, look for a basic antibacterial soap (like Dial). Skip the oil-based soaps on silicone toys as they can break down the toy, meaning you'll need to replace it faster.

2. Give it a good scrub.

Scrub the toy with your hands or a washcloth and a bit of warm water for about a minute and a half. Just remember: Don't completely submerge any toy in water unless it's waterproof. Afterward, pat it dry with a clean towel.

3. Store it wisely.

Once your vibrator is clean, store it in a clean box or pouch so it's less likely to collect dust. Do your best to keep other objects—like your cell phone or clothes—away from it. (The less interaction it has with other germ-carrying things, the better.) And, if you're a total rock star, try to remember to give it a quick rinse with warm water right before its next use, to help rid the toy of any bacteria that may have built up in storage.

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For general media inquiries about sexual health topics and/or to schedule an interview with one of our experts, please contact Susan Gilbert, NCSH Co-Director, at susan.gilbert@altarum.org