So you have your fifth or fiftieth toy in your pleasure chest, they are all different shapes, sizes and materials. We’ve compiled a list of the main toy materials used, some information about the materials and best practices for keeping them clean, safe and you healthy! We’ve roughly ranked our favourites by the order they are in the list, from top to bottom (so to speak), just in case you want to know our thoughts and preferences when it comes to toy materials.
Silicone is probably one of the best and most popular materials available today for sex toys. It is non-porous, smooth, silky and durable. By far silicone (other than glass) will be one of your longest lasting toys, so the utmost care will ensure years of pleasure. 100% medical grade silicone is hypoallergenic, and will be the most expensive to initially purchase, however due to the lifespan it will prove to be quite inexpensive – no need to replace frequently. Many materials have a lifespan of a year, two tops before the material starts to degrade, become porous and become unsafe for use.
Lubricants: A water based lubricant formula is what you use with silicone toys. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations, as some silicone toy materials may be blended with other materials, opening other lubricant formula options. So if in doubt, stick with a good, natural water based formula.
Cleaning: Silicone sex toys can sterilized for the ultimate clean. Boiled in water for 3-5 minutes. Most can be tossed in the top rack of your dishwasher. Don’t try with any toy that is not waterproof, always refer to manufacturer’s guidelines. Blended silicone (not 100% silicone) should be cleaned with warm soapy water and rinsed thoroughly or use a good toy cleaner, to ensure the material is not damaged.
Pyrex glass is stronger than normal glass, which makes it a safe toy material. It is hefty, temperature sensitive, smooth, rigid, non-porous and super easy to clean. It is becoming the material of choice for many toy connoisseurs. Designs can be beautiful display pieces you wouldn’t want to hide away.
Lubricants: Any good quality lube formula is safe with glass.
Cleaning: Just toss it in the dishwasher, use mild soap and water, 10% chlorine solution or toy cleaner. Avoid any sort of abrasive cleaner, so the surface doesn’t dull or scratch.
Metal sex toys have become quite popular, as you can get them made from stainless steel, gold and silver. The key to metal toys is material and craftsmanship, if lesser quality materials are used or the manufacture of the product is sub par, you are in for problems. Only buy products from reputable manufacturers.
Lubricants: Any type of lubricant is safe to use with metals.
Cleaning: Cleanup is simple, boil in water, mild soap and water, or 10% chlorine sanitizing solution. Do not use any sort of abrasive cleaner (baking soda, jewelry cleaners) on metals as it may scratch/alter the surface. Avoid the dishwasher as rinse aids tend to be acidic and will harm some metals. The key to metal after cleaning, ensure it is completely dry.
Plastic / ABS / Acrylic
We’ve lumped all these plastics together, as there are so many formulations of plastic out there, we couldn’t possibly cover them all off individually. These all tend to be hard, smooth, non-porous and a lower cost material. With no ‘give’ to the material, they tend to lend themselves to external or non-thrusting type toys. Eden’s Orchid only carries phthalate-free toys from reputable manufacturers, so there is no worry there, but buyer beware when shopping for toys made from this material elsewhere.
Lubricants: Our go-to is a good water based formula, but depending on the materials used, refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations should you wish to use another type of lube.
Cleaning: Wash with mild soap and water, many can be wiped down with sex toy cleaner or even rubbing alcohol. Check the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.
Rubber / Latex
Firmer than both silicone and jelly toys, these tend to be very inexpensive toys and as such their lifespan tends to be quite short. For obvious reasons anyone with a latex sensitivity or allergy should avoid this type of toy material. Allergic reactions are not worth risking even if you got a ‘great deal’ the toy!
Lubricant: We recommend a good water based formula, but typically rubber materials are compatible with silicone/hybrid formulas. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Cleaning: Cover your rubber toy with a condom to make cleanup super quick and easy. Clean up with warm water and mild soap, or a good quality toy cleaner.
Realistics / Simulated Skin
This material is a thermal plastic, and known by many names by manufacturers – UltraSkin™, Cyberskin™, Soft Touch™, Fauxskin™, NeoSkin®, Futurotic™ and others. This material provides a real skin like feel to toys and is mainly used for skin-to-skin contact toys (male masturbators, dildos) as it warms to the touch, is supple, soft like real skin. Thermal plastic is a porous material and not overly durable. Due to the porosity of the material, they are difficult to maintain, as the pores can harbour bacteria and also require a specially designed power to keep the material dry and pliable when stored.
Lubricant: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, as the materials differ, but water based formulas are typically safe for all toy material types.
Cleaning: A good quality, hypoallergenic spray on sex toy cleaner your best bet to keeping this material as clean as possible. Using mild soap and water will leave residue in the pores and when wetted again (next playtime with lube) it may suds up, which is not a good thing. Spray on cleaners, applied very generously, get into the porous surface of the material and can be rinsed off, as cleaners do not tend to stick to materials like soap. With this material always ensure it is completely dry prior to storage, moisture stuck in pores can cause mold and fungus growth. When completely dry apply the recommended/included powder, or if you have run out corn starch can be used. Do no use talc/baby powers.
Ahh, jelly. There are a vast number of jelly toys out there, too many to shake a stick at, so to speak. Where to begin with this material. Eden’s Orchid only sells phthalate-free jelly toys from reputable manufacturers. There are vast numbers of this type of toy in the market, and the general rule of thumb if a reputable manufacturer states phthalate-free it is. Cheap knockoffs and clones proliferate this section more than any other (online auction and marketplace sites should be treated as buyer beware as some jellies have phthalates (toxins that you want to avoid)), as it is an inexpensive material different types of jelly sex toys. The draw of jelly toys – they are very, very flexible, usually bright and uniquely coloured and the initial purchase price is relatively inexpensive. Jelly is porous and does take more care to keep clean.
Lubricants: Follow the manufacturer recommendations, but a good water based formula is always a safe bet.
Cleaning: Mild soap and water or sex toy cleaner. When using soap and water, ensure to rinse well or repeatedly to remove any soap residue that can hide in the porous surface, which can cause irritation or sudsing on subsequent use.