There are many materials for sex toys out there, and not all of them were created equal. Here is a list of some of the most popular and how to care for them.
Yes, this is a long post. Still, I hope it gives you a good idea of what materials are out there and what I’m talking about when I do reviews.
These materials may look solid, but are actually full of teeny, tiny holes. These holes are part of what keeps the toys soft, however, they also allow body fluids, bacteria, and viruses to live and thrive inside the toys. If you choose to use any toys made of these materials, stick a condom over them and never share them between partners!
As a rule of thumb, wash these toys well with soap and water, then spray down with toy sanitizer before storage. Store them so they are nowhere near your silicone toys or chemical reactions may melt your toys. Also, use a condom on these toys as many porous materials may contain harmful chemicals or cancer-causing phthalates.
An old standby, latex rubber toys are inexpensive to make and soft to the touch. The material is opaque and
springy to the touch. It should not have a smell to it outside of a “rubber” smell; smells can denote chemicals or bacteria. Latex toys are safe with any non-oil lube. Oil based lubricants cause rubber to break down, so do not use them! Vaseline is also a bad idea because it breaks rubber down and is toxic.
Silicone Mixture (ex: Silagel)
These are mystery rubber toys that contain silicone and mystery rubber mixed together. They are not regular silicone and should be treated the same as mystery rubber. Many companies sell these knockoffs of 100% silicone toys thinking nobody will notice that the materials are different. Only buy 100% silicone (preferably medical grade) if you want a silicone toy.
Jelly Rubber (Mystery rubber, gel)
This are usually what your inexpensive clear toys are made of. Typically, the mystery rubber toy is made of plastic polymers. These toys are loaded with chemicals to make them soft and squishy.
Sadly, some of these chemicals are dangerous for the body, so make sure you buy only phthalate and toluene free toys if you use gel toys. As you do not know what is in these toys, do a spot test to see if the toy cleaner or lube will react to the toy. Find a spot on the base of the toy and add a drop of the substance you wish to test. Wait an hour, then wipe it away. If nothing happens, most likely it is OK to use that substance on that toy.
Cyberskin (Ultraskin, Softskin, UR3 ect)
This material is basically mystery rubber that has been dyed to opaque colors then blasted with air so it is very light and spongy. It is extremely porous and can contain dangerous chemicals, so do not use it without a condom! Clean and care for as with mystery rubber, then dust with corn starch and place into a clean zipped-shut bag for storage.
Fleshlight (Real Feel Superskin)
This is yet another mystery rubber with a fancy name. Unlike most mystery rubbers, however, the care and cleaning is more dificult. Never use soap on a Fleshlight! The soap can have chemical reactions with the material, leading to chemical burns on your skin. Use rubbing alcohol or water only and dust with corn starch before storage.
Typically these toys have a smooth shine to them and may be opaque. Some people confuse these for silicone toys due to their look and feel. Vinyl is lower in chemicals than mystery rubber is and is much safer for the body. However, it vinyl still semi-porous and should not be shared between partners. Any kind of lube, including silicone based lube, works on vinyl toys.
Soft vinyl can be cleaned like the other porous toys. Hard vinyl should be cleaned with 70% rubbing alcohol (or higher) from your pharmacy then allowed to air dry.
Hard Plastic and Acrylic
Hard plastic is, well, plastic that is hard. Acrylic is clear and hard, but is not glass. The two are very similar in care and cleaning, however. If the toy has a cord, make sure you use a condom for easier removal. This keeps the toy working for longer. When you are done, wash the toy off with soap and water, then use 70% rubbing alcohol (or higher) to disinfect. Allow it to air dry.
Stone, wood, leather and other natural materials.
Unless you know a lot about the stone used to make the toy, treat all stone toys as porous. Wood toys, even if varnished, are also porous. Any kind of lube works on these toys. Cleaning wood and stone is the same as with most other toys, however, after cleaning wood, you may wish to apply oil to the wood in order to keep it in good condition. Leather should be disinfected with 70% (or higher) rubbing alcohol, then treated with leather cleaner and softener.
After reading that novella on caring for porous toys, you will be pleased to know that all non-porous toys are extremely simple to care for: wash them with soap and water after use and boil them for 15 minutes or toss them in the top rack of the dishwasher to disinfect.
These materials, as the title suggests, do not have the tiny holes that the other materials do making them much safer for the body. These toys may be disinfected, then shared. However, if the toys are not disinfected before sharing, use a condom to be safe.
Steel and Brass (Metal)
Shiny, smooth, and great for holding temperature, metal is one of the most worry-free toy materials out there. Any kind of lube will work on metal. Clean and polish any brass or silver frequently to prevent patina from forming. Stainless steel and gold toys do not require polishing, however!
Silicone (vixskin, ect)
Silicone comes in thousands of colors, textures, and hardnesses. Personally, I would be careful if a toy is not made of medical grade silicone (ex: Bad Dragon), but medical grade silicone is one of the safest toy materials on the market. It’s so safe, doctors implant it inside of people’s bodies!
Silicone is easy to care for, but there are two things to be careful of. Never use silicone lube on a silicone toy. The lube will adhere to the toy, destroying it. Also, never store silicone near any porous toy, especially if it’s made of mystery rubber. There is a high chance the chemicals in the mystery rubber will interact with the silicone causing the silicone toy to melt.
Glass (Pyrex, tempered glass)
Glass is the slickest, smoothest toy material available. Many also feel that glass toys are some of the most beautiful and openly store them as “art objects”. Pyrex or tempered glass can be boiled and is fairly drop resistant. Non-tempered glass should not be boiled or frozen in case there are air pockets that can make the toy break.
Although glass is a safe material to use, be careful to check your toy before usage for any cracks or chips. Discard or relegate any damaged glass to to “art only” status if any damage happens. Any kind of lubricant may be used on glass.
Yay! You made it to the end! Yes, it was a very long read, but, hopefully, this will give you some bearing on the toys I review. I prefer nonporous toys and most of my toys will be silicone. I will not review any mystery rubber toys as the materials can be dangerous to your health.