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Even before step one of this study, I did a review of literature. I looked at the charts out there and pamphlets, and articles. I really wanted to test vinegar as a disinfectant but read something on Reddit about it compromising silicone. To get five days of growth in the petri dishes, I ended up doing all of the direct sampling on Friday night, late. My partner helped with washing and moving the objects back and forth. He was probably more thorough so this may have led to a discrepancy. Other limitations in addition to being tired, having limited time, and inter-rater reliability include: possible recontamination, crossing the center line on the petri dishes thereby dragging germs from one region into the other, breathing, varied length of time washing them, varied lengths of time sampling them, not following instructions, not permitting enough drying time to represent the cleaning method, crowding toys in the UV machine, bumping toys with my hand... I didn't do a great comparison of all the specimens (quantifying growth etc.) and there's bias.
If I were to do it again I would hire a lab tech to help me. I would do multiple runs of the same experiment (so multiple samples run through the same tests), I would take a sample of the toy after the reset flushes, I would determine a better way to reset them, I would test more cleaning strategies, and I would test more materials -- including jelly rubber so I could see the science of the pores. Oooo and I would experiment with drying -- drying the body fluid and drying post cleaning. What are the germ results post-cleaning but after toys have been stored in silk bags or drawers?
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This episode on how to clean sex toys is sponsored by  I have a bunch of their toys that I want to keep clean and cleaning supplies, including this UV sanitizing machine so we can test what worked best.  Guess what works and what doesn't.


There are charts that show the best way to care for sex toys based on material and they're really helpful.  They align with what I know about infections diseases and hygiene.  The thing is, if I'm going to hold up this bottle and recommend it for the things that you put on your precious parts, I want to make sure that it's effective.  Dr. Doe's sex toy cleaning experiment.  

Step one, map out the experiment based on what I want to study.  I don't use porous materials like jelly rubber because of the chemicals they leech, so I went with a 100% silicone dildo, which I've used in lots of presentations and (?~0:46) demonstrations, a plastic speculum, a glass dildo, though probably not Pyrex, and a new out of the box silicone vibrator.  The cleaning methods I chose were a condom, dish soap, mild soap, two different cleansers, baby wipes, and the UV machine.  

Step two, I made a lab where all the specimens could be in the same area with the same lighting and temperature.  

Step three, I labeled all of the petri dishes to make sure that the right specimens made it into the right spots. This includes an untouched petri dish to show what agar looks like without any influence and four samples of the toys' baseline data, so that without cleaning or disinfecting my playthings at all, here are the germs.  

Step four, I started by testing all the toys as is, without any body fluids or cleaning, just to get their original state data.  If none of the cleaning methods ended up working, I wanted to know whether or not they improve the situation.

Step five, next I did what I call a flush and I washed all four toys with dish soap and sterilized them in the UV machine.  Even though this machine doesn't kill everything, it's incredibly user-friendly.  You can simply plug it in and then charge your toys while they're being disinfected.  In 10 minutes, the light goes off and your toys should be safer.  

I took the ten minutes while the toys were being sanitized to get turned on, so that I would have lots of vaginal fluid to use between cleanings.  Once the light went off, I did a direct collection of the toys (?~2:05) clean.  This is what came of that.  The top portion of the dish is the toy before cleaning.  The bottom portion is afterward.  Very little growth happened except on the dildo, where the webby white mass from its as-is sample actually spread from the top to the bottom.  These are not post-cleaning germs.

Next, I put each of the toys in my.  I reasoned that it's more convenient, more germ-laden, and that I could hold off putting vaginal fluid on the toys during the condom portion of the experiment.  So where it says flush is the toy cleaned and where it says direct is where it's soiled by my saliva.  Wash 'em!  Wash 'em, wash 'em, wash 'em.  Gave them a dish soap bath, no UV ten minute wait this time.  I know, inconsistent.  Then I put a condom on them, put them in my vagina, took the condom off, and tested the toys that way.

From this data, I can't say if the growth is from previous steps that didn't get killed or if the condom even works, but I can compare it to this little swath of leftover petri dish where I straight-up q-tipped my vaginal fluid onto the dish, and I can compare it to this one, which is vaginal fluid from the condom.  I will 100% take post-condom results over no condom results.  Everything got washed with dish soap again.  Then saliva.  Then dish soap washed again to show the effects of dish soap specifically.  The results were pretty amazing, especially for the silicone dildo and the vibrator.  That being said, I don't know the effects of the harsh detergents on materials long-term.  Sex toy experts prescribe cleaning just about everything with a mild, unscented soap.

So reset with another dish soap flush.  Resalivate the sex toys, and then I used the mildest unscented soap I have, specifically made for vaginas, shaped like a vulva.  On the dildo and speculum, it was awesome, but glass and vibe, not so much.  I think the discrepancy here is due to moisture still on the toy when I took the sample.  The toys weren't dry and then there's also the possible contamination from the kitchen sink to the lab, my hands.  Flush and saliva everything again and then I moved on to Adam & Eve's 4 in 1 cleanser.  

Anti-bacterial, deodorizes, disinfects, and sanitizes.  Whoa.  Apply 4 in 1 pure and clean foam directly to toy, gently scrub the toy's surface, rinse with warm water.  Clean before and after each use to extend the life of the toy.  I was skeptical.  Adam & Eve is really good to Sexplanations, but how do I know that it isn't just expensive soapy water or creepy chemicals that aren't safe to have in my orifices?  The results are impressive, so I'd like to go with totally worth it.  If you clean off the foam and you use a condom.  The speculum sample doesn't even look like I used the petri dish.

Wicked is another toy cleaner on the market which you can get from  Is it good?  Wash everything with dish soap, mouth the toys, spray Wicked 4-6 inches from the item, wait one minute before wiping with a damp cloth and allow to dry.  I think I dried it with paper towel that lives amongst the airborne germs in my kitchen, so here we are five days later.  The results of cleanser two aren't great.  At least if you don't follow directions.

The last two tests were baby wipes and the UV machine.  Same pattern, reset with dish soap bath, coat in mouth.  Can I just wipe a toy down for more immediacy and spontaneity or do I have to get up and spray it and wash it and dry it?  Pretty good.  Definitely more appetizing than not cleaning them at all, though the glass and the dildo do have lots of little white growths.

I'm guessing a microbiologist would say that smaller doesn't mean less harmful.  Okay, so baby wipes, better than nothing but not disinfecting.  Finally, the fancy option.  Wash with dish soap, slobber slobber slobber, into the UV machine for 10 minutes.  Final results on the UV machine.  Amazing on everything except the speculum.  Weird.  Maybe I bumped it with my hand while taking out another toy.  It does say don't crowd the toys.  Maybe it only works with certain materials.  

The takeaway, kids?  There are lots of limiting factors on my research.  Sexologist, not lab tech.  I've listed in the description a bunch of human errors I know I made and what I would do differently if I did it again.  I would definitely test my finger, one sex toy to rule them all!  As for cleaning my sex toys, I'm actually going to stay curious.  I know that lots of you are smarter about germs and materials than I am and hopefully you'll let us know in the comments what I'm overlooking and how best to interpret these results.

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