Urinary tract infections certainly aren’t fun. Common symptoms include burning or stinging sensations, itching, and unpleasant pressure, and while a quick round of antibiotics will clear up most UTIs, you definitely want to limit your chances of infection if you can.

If you use sex toys, cleanliness is extremely important. You don’t want to give bacteria a chance to grow, and while you have nothing to worry about if you properly care for your toys, you should know how to minimize your risks. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Choose a Sex Toy Made with Non-Porous Materials. Bacteria can hide in tiny holes in some materials, so sex toy manufacturers stick with body-safe substances that don’t have these little holes. Some of the most common non-porous materials include silicone, ABS plastic,metal, and glass.

Avoid using products made with cheap vinyl, latex, and jelly. If you choose to use toys made from these materials, cover them with condoms or dental dams.

Use an Appropriate Lubricant for Your Toy. Some lubricants can damage sex toys, creating little pores in non-porous materials and giving bacteria a chance to grow.

Never use silicone lubricants with silicone sex toys, as the silicone will quickly break down into a gummy mess. Oil-based lubes can damage many toys, and they’re not safe for vaginal use. Water-based lubricants are always the safest option, since they won’t damage any toys designed for penetration – after all, your natural body fluids are primarily made from water.

Be Careful with Anal Toys. Pretty obvious tip, right? By nature, your anal toys will attract a lot of bacteria, so you need to completely sanitize them after every use (see below).

Don’t let your genitals contact any anal toy until it’s been sanitized, or you’re practically asking for a urinary tract infection. Likewise, you should never share anal toys without using latex condoms; your bacteria is very different from your partner’s, so stay safe. This is also a good time to remember that latex condoms are not compatible with oil-based lubes.

Sanitize Your Toy Properly. We strongly recommend dedicated toy cleaners, as they’re designed to gently clean adult products without causing damage. They’re very effective and easy to use, and they won’t leave behind any unpleasant odors.

Depending on your toy’s material, you may be able to sanitize it in your dishwasher or by bleaching or boiling for several minutes. This is a good practice for anal toys, since they need to be completely sterilized between uses. Check your toy’s user manual for cleaning instructions.

When you’re finished cleaning up, make sure that your toy’s completely dry before you put it away. Water can attract bacteria, so wipe down with a clean, lint-free towel.

Store in a Safe Place. Don’t just throw your dildo in your sock drawer – store it properly. Keep your toys in their individual storage bags, boxes, or cases. You don’t want your toys to mingle, and you certainly don’t want them touching dirty laundry or other unsanitary things.

Store your toys in a cool, dry place. If you haven’t used a toy in a while, give it a quick cleaning before using it again. Check carefully for cracks and deep scratches, and if your toy is damaged, don’t use it.

When you take proper precautions, sex toys are fun and safe. Your chances of contracting a UTI are very low if you clean your toys after each use, but talk to your doctor if you get infections on a regular basis. Finally, you should always seek medical assistance if you have any of the symptoms of an infection; if left untreated, a UTI can become an emergency, so don’t take any chances.