What makes a Sex toy body-safe ?
The top 3 things that tell you it is safe to use inside your body.
We have tried to cover everything we can think of regarding sex toy safety.
There is always more and we will continue to update this article with new information for you.
1. Clean 2. Well made 3. Non toxic
Don´t forget that silicone easily absorbs the smells around it, so if you want it to smell of roses, keep it clean regularly.
We owe it to our society and our environment.
“When we started this marketplace, we were thinking – people should be able to sell on their unwanted sex toys, just like they do with clothes, and other things they no longer want, but are still in great condition. After all, sexual activity is continually touted as being good for our health, our mindset, our happiness, and our overall wellbeing. So why can´t we normalise this very normal and essential part of our lives too? In time, we believe this will all be mainstream.”
But like most things… it’s not that simple.
There is little to no regulation in the sex toy industry ( check out no. 4 for the latest update on that!), and as a result there are many many types of toys that are not safe enough to use even ‘first-hand’.
We learned this when we were initially helping to build this marketplace. We feel that people who can’t afford to buy the top notch adult toys shouldn’t have to only have the choice of buying toys that may not be good for them instead. So it’s one of the reasons why we were determined to continued with this marketplace, so that we could showcase and perpetuate the use of only good toys – or even just to recycle good parts of toys.
We should all be aware.
We shouldn’t have to compromise on the overall quality of the toy. So we all owe it to ourselves to be aware of which type of toy is good for us, and which is not.
We are not prepared to allow the second-hand sale of those toys that we felt were not body-safe to sell even as new products in a shop, and we do not even allow the resale of some seemingly great toys in new condition, that we know have the potential to degrade in safety over time.
Be careful what you buy – even as a new toy.
As the sex toy industry grows even more, it makes the choices for good sex toys much smaller than you would believe. So in turn, the SQUEAKY marketplace for GOOD second-hand sex toys is much smaller than the overall second-hand market out there (we reject about 90% of submissions daily), but it’s where you can be sure that only the highest quality and most body-safe ones make it to the public board.
1. How CLEAN it can be
The porous vs non porous type of toy choice.
How clean and germ free can a toy get ?
2. How WELL it is MADE
The cheap vs high-quality toys choice.
Is it mechanically and functionally safe, so that it won´t hurt you – with any intentional or unintentional use ?
3. The MATERIAL it´s made with is NON TOXIC
The toxic vs. non toxic material choice.
Does it contain chemicals that are bad for your skin, or your insides ?
Learn how to choose the safest toy for you
Essentially, you have 3 choices to make. We all know that the best quality checked toys made of the safest materials are going to be best for us, but they´re also usually the highest price.
Brand marketing tells us a lot, but we also like to depend on industry standards to keep our best interests at heart. And that´s where the problem lies. There isn´t a government led standard for sex toys – yet.
So we´re all learning, from each other, and from other industries like children´s toys, the medical profession, and the beauty business. We´ll share the information so you can make the best, informed choices about what you want to use on your own body.
The sex toy industry is learning too and it´s nice to see more responsibility being taken- as always though, the reputable brands are leading the way. So we´ll point out the best ones to watch below.
The easy choices, and the grey area
We´re gathering all our information below, and we will keep updating so that you can find the best, safest toys to buy. There are lots of opinions on the internet, and we´ll sum up what we find here. However, we want to be led mostly by the science, so keep coming back here to see what we uncover.
In short – 100% Silicone is deemed the best, along with other non porous toys, and Jelly toys are deemed to be the worst ! Even though we have seen many people advise just putting a condom over your jelly cock before using it, we still decided to put ours in the bin after doing this research, rather than put it on the marketplace. And we no longer accept jelly rubber toys for sale on Squeaky Clean Toys.
In the plastics world – between Silicone & Jelly – there is a large grey area that needs explaining. We´ll try to make it easier here for you to educate yourself about all the possibilities, so that you can spend your money wisely.
Different ways to stay safe
All 4 are different ways to stay safe, but they also overlap – in a confusing way ! For example, toys were originally all hard, then ´progress´ led to the development of softer, more moulded models – for our comfort. So softer, more maleable toys meant they could be easier to use, and for some people, they hurt less ! But softer no longer means better in every way.
You will also find that nowadays, a lot of toy manufacturers are finding cheaper and cheaper ways to make the material soft for us, so that they can keep the price lower. Cheaper methods and cheaper materials aren´t always best for us ( surprise !)
At the same time, the higher quality brands are finding more expensive ways to vary the density of safe, but expensive, silky soft feel materials like silicone.
So it does seem to be true when it comes to most sex toys, that you tend to get what you pay for. The cheaper, unbranded toys are much more likely to be made of a material that contains chemicals that aren´t good for you. They might also be less likely to function as well, or last as long.
Glass and metal remain solid, but have the advantage of being friction free, and many people are also finding the beautiful hardness of a glass or steel dildo is more stimulating and hits their g-spot head on – and stays there – aaaaah ! The hard materials like this are also perfect for hot and cold temperature play, so there so many ways to develop your sexuality with them.
Softer materials means that the toys squidge and bend more, and to do this the little holes in the material allow it to compress and expand… or be flexible as we know it. So, softer toys are more likely to be porous, and porous is harder to clean completely. But, porous does NOT mean toxic ! However, some porous toys can definitely contain toxins. Essentially your toy needs to be without BPA ( which makes plastic more resilient) and Phthalates ( which can be used to make them soft).
Sell your toy on the live marketplace now
Porous vs. Non porous materials
Porous means they have microscopic holes in the material, and this generally occurs with softer materials. So the issue is that it´s more difficult, or sometimes impossible to get to the root of each little hole to clean it. That´s why these toys need the maximum type of cleaning, and drying, and should be left for the longest time before you use them ( if someone else has used them before you.) This is more difficult to do if you are sharing a porous toy with someone else in the heat of a sex session !
The level of porosity varies with different materials, but completely non-Porous toys are deemed the best for you as they are much easier and faster to clean fully. However, you will still find an awful lot of toys that are sold, are made of porous materials. If you end up choosing a porous toy, try to choose the least porous type, one that is well made and non toxic.
The most Porous materials
Jelly / rubber
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) / vinyl
Chemical rubber latex
Proprietary named porous product materials
(They can use a combination of materials)
Flesh like, Soft skin, Synthetic skin , Fleshlight, Fanta Flesh, CyberSkin – pretty much anything that says real skin feel.
Slightly Porous materials
Some woods, crystals, stones.
Elastomer, thermoplastic rubber (TPR),
thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).
Silicone, Metal (Steel, Aluminium), Glass (Borscollite, Pyrex), Hard plastics (ABS, Lucite).
Some protected/polished or sealed woods, crystals, stones.
( For more details see the how to clean your sex toy blog post. )
Cleaned vs. Sanitized vs. Disinfected vs. Sterilized
Cleaning only takes off surface germs, sanitizing wipes does a similar but better job, maybe just a little more with a disinfectant, but not a full and proper sterilization (see why you need that in the link below!) Manufacturers should instruct users on how to clean and maintain their toys. Anal toys require more disinfection after each use, as do toys that have been shared. We find a difference between sharing toys and selling on toys – a time difference for one (for more details see the can you get an sti from a sex toy blog post. )
On the Squeaky Clean Toy marketplace, we require total sterilization of any used sex toys that are likely to be inserted into your body, so as to draw your attention to this. Porous toys cannot be fully sterilized as the sterilizing processes have not conclusively proved that they can fully sterilize porous materials. Additionally, boiling water and bleach are not usually possible with these types of material as they will ruin the toy. If bleach is used it can also get stuck in the pores, and again that isn’t body-safe either! So this is why any used, porous materials are not accepted. In fact, we have gone further and not allowed the resale of any toys that are reported to be new or unused. We don’t want to take any risk of a toy having being used and sold as not used, and we also don’t want to even encourage the sale of new items made of porous materials.
Let´s stay sex positive
Already, the old fashioned ´stigma´ of owning a sex toy is disappearing – at least 50% of the population own at least one ( source: livescience.com). Part of that statistic though, might be because they had to buy a second one when the first didn´t suit them. Or perhaps as their sexual needs changed or developed, they needed something different – and so it goes on. It´s easy to see why we have 2,3 or many more.
So let´s all stay positive and keep this industry as squeaky clean as we can by voting with the toys we choose to buy.
2. Well made
Price & Brand
Price and brand reputation tell us a lot. Let´s be honest with ourselves though, we all know that if a toy is both unbranded and cheap, we need to ask ourselves more questions about their reputation, quality checks and the toy materials for example, before we might choose to spend any money on it at all.
Smell & Feel
How the toy looks, functions, and smells tells us more – but you don´t get to see that until you have the toy in your own hands.
You´ll find a lot of sites stating that if it smells of chemicals don´t buy it. This is true of PVC and jelly and even other porous elastomers. These materials can be full of porous holes and will stain easily, taking on colours from nearby objects too. But it´s worth remembering that the mighty safe silicone material also absorbs smells quite easily, so when it´s just out of a new package it might also have that ´new´ smell for a while too. If you have a silicone toy, remember to store it well and not in a place where it can absorb smoke or perfume easily.
The shape of a toy is also important. A sex toy should be smooth to the touch and shouldn’t have any sharp edges or bits sticking out that could hurt you.
Fit for Purpose
How will your body accept it or react to it, and is this good for you or bad? For example, for Anal toys such as butt plugs, it is essential that the toy has a wider base so that it doesn’t get sucked up into the anus and on into the rectum. The anus, unlike the vagina will suck an object up inside – this was one of the main reasons why the new ISO 3533 standard was formed in the first place.
When designing a toy, the manufacturers need to take into consideration the risks of objects being retained by the body, and make sure that they can be extracted by hand or simple medical tools if necessary. So the shape, size, material and geometry all need to be taken into consideration.
It isn’t manufactured sex toys that can be misused. It’s a well known fact that hospitals are having to pull household objects or foods out of people’s anatomy too! So please make sure that anything you put in your body can be easily pulled out by hand. Anything that you control elsewhere such as a locking device or a vibration, can be unlocked or turned off easily by some means at home. You shouldn’t have to have it surgically removed and also add to the risk of damaging your insides.
Minimise the risk.
This is all about getting the balance right by minimising the risk. If you took no risks at all you would never leave your house, and how many risks are there even inside your house ! The main chemical culprit we have all found in some softer sex toys is Phthalates, and it´s there because this chemical has been used to soften plastics pretty much everywhere in our lives- A government article on it us even titled ¨The Everywhere Chemical¨ !! So, let´s help each other stay informed, so we can make wise and educated decisions.
What causes a toy to be toxic for us? This section is mainly about the material or combination of materials (including additives and colouring) that make up our toys. Any chemicals or substance within the materials used in making the toys should fall below any quantities known to be harmful. Even the materials used in curing the toys are important to consider – for example platinum-cured silicone toys are regarded a far superior to tin-cured silicone toys.
I´m afraid the more we read about toxins in every aspect of our lives, the less we´d want to even live ! It seems that there are toxins in everything from our water to our make-up and soaps, our perfumes, in our household goods and much much more. It´s everywhere.
So this is why we often look to the children’s toys industry and the beauty and household industrys to see their standards first. If something has been approved ( or not!) for childrens toys or for food contact then this is a great start!
Companies that make the bigger toys like SquarePegToys, MrHankeys or Oxballs, along with fantasy toy makers have got a great reputation for making the highest quality platinum cured silicone products. We have a blog post all about Bad Dragon toys and they position themselves at the top end of the sex toy range. But this does come at a cost – which is probably why these toys just fly off the shelves when listed on the Squeaky marketplace.
Natural Latex for example, as some people are allergic to this. Some softer men’s toys such as masturbator sleeves can be made of latex. You should know if your body is allergic to it – a lot of condoms are made of this material so most people seem to already be aware of it.
It’s important to know if your toy material is compatible with other materials (lubricants, oils, etc.) or will they alter or degrade the material of your toy by being in contact with it. There is a myth that you cannot use silicone lube with silicone toys for example. We say ‘myth’ because it isn’t always true – some manufacturers say you can and some say you can’t and it depends on the purity of the silicone. So always check the manufacturer’s instructions on that.
How will your body accept it or react to the material, and is this good for you or bad? Manufacturer’s should be making sure that the material of the toys inserted into the vagina or anus do not cause any sensitive reactions when they come in contact with the body’s mucosa.
Think about materials used in the medical industry – medical grade silicone for implants and titanium for hips. This gives us a good idea of which materials are the best to use in sex toys too! Did you know that titanium is considered to be the most biocompatible metal, due to its great strength, low density and its resistance to body fluid effects!
Words to look out for – PHLATHLATE free
The main one ( but not the only one) is phthalate which came to light in children´s toys and pacifiers decades ago and they´ve been banned from there. So we know we shouldn´t have this particular plastic softening chemical in our adult toys too. DEHP seems to be the worst kind of phthalate, so this is the one to look out for.
¨DEHP is present in plastic products such as wall coverings, tablecloths, floor tiles, furniture upholstery, shower curtains, garden hoses, swimming pool liners, rainwear, baby pants, dolls, some toys, shoes, automobile upholstery and tops, packaging film and sheets, sheathing for wire and cable, medical tubing, and …¨
Source: Public Health Statement from the Agency for toxic substances and disease registry
This isn´t scientifically let, but you will read these opinions elsewhere so it´s good to include them here. It seems that there isn´t enough direct evidence to stop all this, or to even know what other chemicals might be unsafe – but the gist of the blogging opinions is that when you see what these chemicals can do to hard plastic, do you really want any of that leaching into your insides too ! Some say that the cheaper chemically softened materials (even if it doesn´t contain any dangerous phthalates ) could mean that the product will wear out quicker, or that the material might break down faster. So at the very least, we would advise changing that toy to a more recent version, or a better quality altogether. (This is yet another reason why we do not support the selling of softer non-porous toys on the Squeaky second-hand toy marketplace.)
We want to make it easy for our buyers and sellers on the marketplace to be as transparent as possible. So we encourage you to ask questions publicly about the products on the comments thread of the listings.
We provide easy tick checklists for sellers when they list their toy, so that they can give as much factual information as possible. We have a long & comprehensive blog post for buyers and sellers called How it Works covering all you need to know about the process of buying and selling on the marketplace.
But what if someone ticks the wrong box – e.g. they say it´s made of silicone but it looks more like a jelly toy ! Well, it´s true that pictures can be deceiving, but this is where we need you to be upfront and ask the seller to confirm the material. We also have a very strict pre-approval process so that we can also check the item out and make sure the details are, to the best of our knowledge, correct.
Our FAQ page has several questions advising what to do if you feel that a toy has not been accurately described. If you write on the public comments, it can help other people too. After you press the BUY button, your conversation is not public – but our moderator can see it too.
You might also find that a toy material consists of a combination of materials, which is why it is perfectly correct to say silicone, but it may not be silicone alone. This, is why people bang on about it having to be 100% silicone, to know it’s tip-top, absolutely-only made of silicone – if that is what you’re after.
But, whilst the world gets itself sorted out, this is all about minimising the risk. If you took no risks at all you would never leave your house, and it seems there are already so many risks right there in your house ! So it´s about being wise, being informed, and getting the balance right. Do read up on Recycling sex toys in our blog article.
The main toxin talked about is phthalates, and the main culprit material seems to be jelly like toys. That does not mean that every jelly-like sex toy is absolutely, definitely unsafe, but it is something to be extremely aware of. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission prohibits any children´s toys that have more than 0.1% phthalates, so we feel it should be the same for adult toys too.
¨In the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), Congress permanently prohibited children’s toys or child care articles containing concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of three types of phthalates: di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP); dibutyl phthalate (DBP); or, benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).¨
Naughty or nice materials ?
PVC / Vinyl are next to explore on our naughty list, so be aware of these too. It´s the soft vinyl that needs phthalates to make them soft and DEHP is the worst type of phthalate, so read the ingredients if you´re going to put it inside you.
However – there are definitely some vinyl / PVC vibrators our there that have been tested and they´ve been found to be phthalate free (source: womensvoices.org) YAY – that´s a really positive step!!! But as it´s not regulated, you can´t always be sure, and the jury is still out on what they´re replacing the DEHP with !
Dame products are very pro body-safe materials, and they say in their blog…
¨Modern flexible PVC doesn’t necessarily contain phthalates, and some of it can be medical-grade. Like silicone above, “PVC” doesn’t necessarily means “bad” or “good” — it’s a case-by-case situation.¨
…but of course, these are still POROUS materials.
We also do see the phrase “medical grade TPE” written, especially for dolls. When we asked one manufacturer about this they said it was 50% silicone and 50% TPE. So, whilst there can be confusion or unknowns about a material, and there is a possibility that they can be porous, we err on the safe side and do not accept them on the SQUEAKY marketplace. This is one of the reasons why we don’t accept any porous materials for insertable/penetrable toys in particular, even if they are new.
Materials that have never been chemically altered in the first place are of course the safest when it comes to leaching any add chemicals – as they are usually natural materials like glass, steel, and wood. However even these can come in different qualities.
Next, it just so happens that the non porous materials like Silicone, and the harder ABS plastic and Lucite / plexiglass are also safe.
It also appears that manufacturers have been finding ways to not have phthalates in some porous and non porous materials – for example Elastomer (i.e. TPE / TPR) materials.
Toys made more recently are more likely to be safer, but that´s not all set in stone. In fact, speaking of stone, there is very little information about what natural substances can come from stones or crystals once it´s inside you.
Don´t just depend on one blogger, as their post may have old information. Don´t just depend on the supplier label either on the front of the box. Try to always look at the ingredient list – on the back or base of the box.
Back to silicone ( sometimes written silicon ). It is heralded as the top toy material as it is a silky smooth, hypo allergenic material that feels a little soft to the touch. The quality of the silicone has to be good however, low grade silicone can still contain chemicals apparently. Of course, medical grade silicone is the tip top choice but really we are finding most say that food grade silicone (FDA approved) is as far as you need to go.
The new standard for sex toys
Finally, there is also now a new sex toy industry standard for manufacturer’s and importers of sex toys – the ISO 3533:2021(E). It encourages manufacturers to do a risk analysis on any potential hazards that could be found by using their toys – from the use or misuse of the toy, to the design and materials used, and the user information supplied with the product.
We just purchased this first international regulatory document to see what it had to say. It is a secure document so we aren’t allowed to just show it here but it looks like we have covered some of the thoughts in there already.
What you need to know is that it is a voluntary standard so manufacturer’s can choose to follow it. In the mean-time, marketing information on packaging and retail sites can be misleading. So, we advise choosing the best ethical sites to shop with, and choosing the best brands to buy from.
Buy only the best brands and models
From all the research we found on toys, we have started to compile a list of the most recommended brands and models. These brands seem to act responsibly and either use the safest non plastic materials, top-grade materials, or some sort of proprietary plastic materials combination that allow them to say they do not contain phthalates.
We realize that some brands still use porous materials. Choices for men’s toys are more limited with non porous materials, they are usually made of more porous material as they need to be more realistic and softer to use. The general opinion also seems to be that men’s bodies are a little less sensitive than womens, possibly because those toys are mostly put on the outside of the penis as opposed to the inside the vagina. So we include the brands that seem to be making sure their more porous toys are safe from toxic materials even though we do not include them on the second-hand marketplace.
The Squeaky Clean Toy marketplace will allow you to get a better quality second-hand sex toy, for the price you would have to spend on a brand new cheaper, but lower quality sex toy. I know which I would choose!
Some of the best silicone sex toys you can buy
Medical grade silicone is a higher quality because it is generally used on silicone body parts that are left inside your body ( e.g. breast implants) but sex toys are not generally left inside your body so it isn’t strictly necessary to have this grade. How the silicone is cured is also incredibly important – Platinum cured being the best (as opposed to tin-cured).
Bad Dragon, and lots of fantasy style toys,
Fun Factory, Hot Octopuss, Luzarte, Maia, Manhuud,
Lelo , We-vibe, Mr Hankeys, Lori di Carlo Baci,
Womanizer, Dame, Nalone, Adrien Lastic, Vikskin, SquarePegToys
Minna Life, Ioba Toys, Viotec, Doxy, Oxballs,
Realcock/ Realdoll, Fleshjack, LÁmourouse, WetforHer, Tantus… and lots more on the marketplace
REPUTABLE STAInless steel sex toyS
NJoy toys (medical grade stainless steel)
REPUTABLE Glass sex toyS
Crystal Delights, Unbound Babes, A Touch of Glass, So Divine, Blush, Diogol
And we will keep updating here with the best and safest sex toy brands as we find them. Thanks for reading.
To be the ultra safest, the way seems to be to go with food grade silicone upwards, and with the harder non porous materials like glass, steel etc. Or to put a condom over anything else… but hey, they´re made of rubber aren´t they ! I think we need to look into that now too. (If you´re allergic to natural latex remember to get a non-latex variety. )
In the mean-time – play safe, and keep it clean, but above all, have fun, keep exploring and developing, and celebrate life !
The Squeaky Blog
Sex machines, saddle machines, hand-held thrusters, & strokers. How to buy & sell used sex machines, & features to look out for.
Includes the buyers guide, the sellers guide, how a transaction works, info on fees & payments & protection, and the community guidelines.
Buy & sell your used sex toys online using our guides to help you.
The Bad Dragon range, toycare, where to buy and sell Bad Dragon dildos.
Clean, sterilize, dry, and store your toys correctly. Different ways to clean all your sex toys.
What makes buying a used sex toy much safer than sharing during sex? Learn how long germs live outside the body, and how to kill them. See what the experts say!
What you can do, and what you should not do when getting rid of a sex toy. Discover all the options in the USA, UK, Europe, Canada and Australia.
What does your sexy horoscope say about you – is it true? Also, see your favorite toys & favorite sex positions.