The internet is full of tips and tricks for how to pick the perfect sex toy and how to make the most of it in the boudoir. But what you do after using your toy is just as important as what goes down during the main event.
After you use a sex toy, it’s important to treat your body just like you would after having sex—i.e. sneak off to the powder room. “You should urinate before and after using a sex toy to reduce the risk of UTIs,” says Leah Millheiser, M.D., director of the Female Sexual Medicine program at Stanford University Medical Center. “If you’re using a sex toy intravaginally, it’s no different if you were having penetrative sex with a partner.”
But what about Old Faithful? Turns out your sex toy does need some special treatment. Here’s how to take care of your sex toys after you use them, according to the experts.
It’s important to wash your sex toy before and after you use it, says Millheiser. “If you throw your vibrator in a drawer, it’s still building up lint and dirt,” she says. (Yuck.) You want to rid your toy of dust bunnies before and bodily fluids after.
If you’re using one toy for both anal and vaginal stimulation, make sure you wash it after round one before moving to round two. If you don’t, “you can transfer bacteria that can lead to infection, especially UTIs,” says Millheiser.
To wash, use antibacterial soap with water—never an antibacterial gel or hand sanitizer, says Millheiser, unless you’re prepared for some serious stinging.
“Even after cleaning a sex toy, it doesn’t necessarily get rid of all viruses,” says Millheiser. “Cleaning is not perfect, which is why it’s so incredibly important not to share toys.” In other words, sharing is not caring when it comes to you and your partner’s toys. After you use, store them separately so you can remember whose is whose before your next throw down.
“If you have a battery-powered toy, it's a good idea to remove the batteries when you store the toy,” recommends Sarah Tomchesson, head of business operations at the Pleasure Chest. Storing your toys with their batteries can not only drain the juice, it can also decrease the life of the toy, she says.
Remember that lint? To prevent unwelcome stowaways next time you use your toy, keep it in a lint-free area. “Store your toys in a nice box or wrapped in a handkerchief,” says Tomchesson. “It not only keeps the toy dust-free for your next use, it's also good for certain toys made of soft materials not to be stored touching each other or in extreme heat.”
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.