What makes a Sex toy body-safe ?
The top 3 things that tell you it is safe to use inside your body.
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.
1. How CLEAN it can be
The porous vs non porous type of toy choice.
How clean and germ free can it 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 ?
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 3 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 , Cleaned vs. Sterilized
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.
Porous vs. Non porous materials
The most Porous materials
Jelly / rubber
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) / vinyl
Chemical rubber latex
Some porous product descriptions and product names that 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
Leather, Suede. 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 woods, crystals, stones.
( For more details see the how to clean your sex toy blog post. )
Cleaned vs. Sterilized
Cleaning only takes off surface germs, sanitizing wipes does a similar job, maybe just a little more with the disinfectant, but not a full and proper sterilization (see why you need that in the link below!)
On the Squeaky Clean Toy marketplace, we require total sterilization of 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.
( For more details see the can you get an sti from a sex toy blog post. )
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. We have a blog post all about Bad Dragon toys and they position themselves at the top end of the sex toy range & use only platinum-cure silicone, but this does come at a cost – do consider whether the cheap option is really worth it.
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. 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 !
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.
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.
Words to look out for – PHLATHLATE free
The main 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.
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, and use the forum threads for any wider discussion.
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. 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.¨
Don´t forget about Latex.
Latex, of course, is something people can have a natural allergy to – but you probably already know this, as most condoms are made of latex.
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 it´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 to tell you something is phthalate free either – try to always look at the ingredient list.
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.
Minimise the risk.
Top Quality brands to look out for
These are the most recommended brands on all the research we found on toys. They act responsibly and either use the safest non plastic materials, top grade materials, or some sort of proprietary plastic materials combination yet say they do not contain phthalates.
We realise that some use porous materials. Choices for men are limited with non porous materials, they are usually made of the more porous material as they need to be softer. The general opinion seems to be that men are a little less sensitive to women, and that the toys are mostly put on the outside of the penis as opposed to inside the vagina. So we include the brands that seem to be making sure their more porous toys are safe from toxic materials.
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, lower quality sex toy. I know which I would choose !
Bad Dragon (silicone)
Mr Hankeys (silicone)
NJoy toys (medical grade stainless steel)
Lovehoney (Desire range of luxury toys, and Fifty Shades of Grey range )
Fleshjack (silicone dildos)
Dame (Eva toy – silicone)
And we will keep updating here with the safest 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
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.