How Do You Feel? A Sex Toy Material Guide Part 2
Welcome to part two of our material guide! In this portion, we'll be talking about glass, stone, and metal sex toys, as well as how to clean them. These three materials needed their own moment to shine and enough space to really stretch out what makes them ideal and unique materials! Let's start back up with glass and make our way through the last 3 materials. If you haven't read part one yet, feel free to head back and read that first for a brief description of the materials we'll be talking about. Let's get started!
So glass is a big topic. There's a lot that can go wrong and a lot that can go right, but if made cheaply, there will be much more that can go wrong. One of our favorite sex toy bloggers is Dangerous Lilly and she personally tested brands like Woozy, Lovehoney and Icicles using a polariscope, which is a little lens used to detect internal stress in glass. Pretty handy, huh? Clearly, you don't have to get yourself a polariscope to determine if your glass toy is body safe or not. Dangerous Lilly has done that for you! Keep in mind manufacturer when purchasing glass toys. Place of manufacturing and brand have a lot to do with the quality of your glass toy. All that information can usually be found on the box, or your sex toy retailer can research it for you on their end.
Most importantly, good glass products will be annealed. Anal what? No, not anal, annealed! Some toy experts have said that it’s nearly impossible to anneal away all stress in thick glass sex toys. Some “internet experts” have gotten the terms annealing and tempering confused; you probably wouldn’t find a tempered glass dildo, there's no need for that. Tempering makes it so the glass can handle intense heat, while annealing makes it so the glass can handle intense stress, be it pulling, pushing or trusting. Here's an excerpt from Dangerous Lilly's blog all about glass toys and glass testing:
"This is pretty much the one time in life where rainbows are bad. In my testing, I only ran across 2 mass produced brands that had pieces that weren’t filled with rainbows. It doesn’t matter which side of the filter you look through, if the piece is mass-produced in China with no tempering or annealing in any way then you will see rainbows. This means the piece is holding on to a lot of stress at various points and can break easily. It can be fine for a few years and then one day break easily – Sunny Megatron described this to me with a dildo that was great for a couple of years and then one day it took a light fall 2 feet from the bed to the carpeted floor and it broke."
Glass is really amazing for temperature play. You can boil or freeze glass to make the toy have a warm sensation or be freezing to the touch! Cheaper, stressed out glass has an easier time of cracking due to change in temperature, but that isn't as common as pulling too hard and having a handle snap off. This is why the quality of glass toys matters so much, and why you'll find a big difference in the price of glass toys by specific brands. As much as your wallet might be begging you, you'll thank yourself later when you purchase a high quality glass toy and not something that has the inevitability of breaking.
Metal toys are hard, smooth and tend to have a nice weight to them. Like glass, they can be cleaned easily and used for temperature play! Most of these toys are made of stainless steel or aluminum, but there are some luxury toys made of silver and gold as well. Aluminum is virtually the same as stainless steel, but if you're not a fan of the weight, aluminum is the material for you. Not only are metal toys non-porous, but they can be completely sterilized! While silicone is medically non-porous, metal is the safest to share with partners between cleaning. Metal can be cleaned a multitude of ways, and we'll be diving into that very soon!
Specifically talking about silver sex toys; in short, yes! Silver is a safe metal for sex toys. This statement comes with a few conditions, though. Generally speaking, silver is a good material to use because it’s precious and toys made of it are typically well-crafted. Silver is also very durable, so the next time your hands are all lubey and you drop your silver sex toy on the tile, usually the tile gets the bad end of that arrangement, not the toy. Silver, however, can also be the source of an allergy. First of all, there are people allergic to silver. If you are one of those people, then silver sex toys are not your lane of luxury sex toy. Since silver is a common material for, example jewelry, chances are that you'll know whether or not you're allergic to it before hand.
In the piercing world, gold has some stipulations and conditions as well. We're getting our material information from this realm since a fresh wound is about as sensitive as your booty or vulva. Gold is body safe only if it is 14k or higher, nickel-free, and alloyed for bio-compatibility. Gold higher than 18k is too soft to make toys out of because it can easily be scratched or nicked. Gold is also, get this, an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant. Right? How cool is that? Gold is super good for your body! Gold is a nonferrous material, like copper which is used to conduct electricity, therefore it may be putting up a magnetic field just by being in close proximity to the magnetic field produced by our bodies! So it's a positivity magnet! Maybe I should be wearing gold more often...
I love crystal sex toys! Talk about loving the toy you pick! Chakrubs is a brand we carry in the store that makes dildos, butt plugs, and yoni eggs out of genuine crystals like rose quartz, black obsidian and amethyst, and were kind of obsessed with them! If you're interested in crystal healing or collect crystals yourself, you might fall as far in love with these toys as we are. Crystal is non-porous and when polished smooth, they're as friction-less as metal toys. You can use any lubricant on crystal, just like plastic, metal and glass.
Technically, these too can be used for temperature play, but if you're buying a crystal dildo, it isn't exactly for that reason. These toys are more about the material itself, and what kind of gem you'd like for yourself. My personal favorite gemstone is rose quartz. It promotes positive energy, self love, lowers stress in the body and heart, and helps heal old anger/deep wounds. These are all things in my life I'd love to carry around every day, and that's why I love rose quartz! Having a Yoni egg or sex toy made of a crystal that promotes happiness or whatever pick-me-up you need in your life is a great way to promote positivity in your life! Do a little research into which gemstones call to you, or come pick up "Crystal Healing & Sacred Pleasures" by Vanessa Cuccia, the creator of Chakrubs! In this book, Vanessa talks about all different types of crystals and their positive properties, as well as how they work with your body.
Cleaning Your Toys; By Material
- Silicone: If it’s meant for anal play, consider boiling it every few uses. While silicone is considered non-porous, it’s actually microporous and can hang on to odors. If it’s a vibrator and not covered 100% by a silicone skin, then you need to pay special attention to the groove between the silicone portion and the plastic portion, around the buttons, etc. If you share your toys, then you’ll want to consider the cleaning options that sanitize, like boiling for dildos and plugs or 10% bleach solution rinse or alcohol wipe down (unless the manufacturer prohibits it).
**Vixen, maker of awesome dildos and creator of dual-density Vixskin, tested cleaning their dildos with rubbing alcohol. Even a day-long soak in the rubbing alcohol didn’t do a thing to the material. However some manufacturers specifically warn against it, these are usually the type of silicone vibrators that have a silky-soft feeling. Always make sure to read the box/user manual before you clean your sex toy!**
Bioskin is a silicone, but since [Fun Toys Bioskin Toys] are magnetically charging, I would keep to a simple wash with cleaner and warm water, rather than boiling with a bleach solution. Alcohol wipes should be fine if you need to sanitize.
- Cyberskin/TPR/Elastomers: Cleaning is best left simple, a gentle soap and water method followed by a dusting with cornstarch. Make sure these are 100% dry before you store them, as they can mildew. DO NOT clean these sex toys with harsh chemicals – the chemicals can stay in the pores of the material and when they come in contact with the delicate tissue of the vagina or anus, you can experience a multitude of uncomfortable side effects. TPR Elastomer isn’t really a material but more of a description, and isn't considered safe for everyone. Many cyberskin/TPR toys also use paint to add color to veins and heads and it does come off with cleaning. This is a good sign that you should replace your dildo and get a new one or try some different, safer materials.
ABS Plastic: ABS plastic is non-toxic and non-porous. Sometimes you will see it listed as having a PU coat – this means polyurethane, or you'll see it called "Velvet" which refers to the soft outer coating of the material - no it's not made of actual velvet. So far I have not seen PU coating peel or chip. No boiling here! Use the wipe-down method or soap and water. Shiny ABS plastic can handle rubbing alcohol, PU coated might not. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions if they have any. The only problematic hard plastic toys are those coated in a metallic paint – this can chip off!
Metal: Yet another non-porous material, so you can use any cleaning method! I’d say feel free to boil (place a dishtowel in the pot with it, metal against metal in a rolling boil could cause damage to the surface) and dishwasher top rack. Metal has amazing temperature-retaining properties, so let it cool down! Never use anything abrasive to clean your toy, and when traveling be sure to keep it in a storage pouch.
**Quality Stainless Steel shouldn’t have any pits or rough patches on the surface, won’t have a perfect mirror-like finish like chrome does, and is usually not magnetic.**
- Glass, Stone, Crystal: To be on the safe side, I wouldn’t expose stone, crystal or cheaper glass toys to the high temps of boiling water or a dishwasher – you just never know and you’d be really sad to ruin a beautiful toy. Most glass toys would be fine in boiling water or the dishwasher, but please keep in mind that the glass used in sex toys holds onto temperature really well, so it will be extremely hot for a little while. Best practice for boiling glass would be to include a small hand towel in the pot to prevent the glass dildo from cracking up against the side of the pot (just like metal). Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, though, before putting these through the extreme temps of boiling water or dishwasher. A 10% bleach rinse should be fine for these, as would a simple soap and water wash if you have no reason to sanitize.
Thank you for educating yourself on all these wonderful sex toy materials and how to clean them! As always, we hope you learned something new and I hope this blog shed light on a few sex toy material myths like cyberskin, bioskin, silicone and all the elastomer variables. When shopping for a new toy, as we've said 100 times by now, just do some brief research on the brand you're looking at or ask your toy retailer about the true quality of what you're interested in. Here at the Boutique, we give honest answers to find exactly what toy is meant for you, and we pride ourselves on not talking everything up to be the "best." Whats best for me isn't your fit and vice verse, so if you need help determining your best toy, just come on up and ask!
- GiGi V