Silicone is hypo-allergenic and non-porous, making it a snap to clean and easy to share. Silicone toys may be used both anally and vaginally with only a good washing with hot soapy water in between. Silicone also warms quickly and maintains heat so it's more comfortable more quickly. Silicone is so hardy that you can boil it for a few minutes for extra cleanliness or throw it into the dishwasher if nobody objects - as long as there's no motor, of course! The only thing that will really harm silicone is a knife—and it shouldn't be used with silicone lube.
Jelly Rubber, Jelly Vinyl, and Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) are porous materials, and sometimes have an odor when they're removed from the package. Though these materials aren't as long-lasting as silicone, they are less expensive and give you a chance to experiment with toys without breaking the bank. These toys can be cleaned with a mild soap and warm water, and can be used with water- or silicone-based lube. Because jelly and rubber are porous, we recommend that these toys not be shared or used both anally and vaginally. That way bacteria and odor don't have a chance to be trapped in the pores of the toy. If that isn't practical for you, then we suggest you invest in a toy cleaner and use it religiously. Just don't forget that jelly is a short term ride, not a long-term relationship.
*A note about pthalates and jelly toys: There are some concerns with toys that contain pthalates - pthalates act as endocrine disrupters and are likely carcinogenic. The sex toy industry is largely unregulated in Canada, so just because a toy says that it's pthalate-free doesn't necessarily mean that it is. Any jelly or rubber toy listed as "pthalate-free" on our website has been third-party tested so we know that it really doesn't contain pthalates.
Elastomer is a soft, elastic material that is pthalate-free, latex-free and non-toxic. Elastomer is porous, but is less porous than jelly rubber or vinyl. If you want to share toys of this material or are concerned about bacteria gathering on the surface, we'd recommend using a condom over your toy. This material is a nice option if you want something softer (and less expensive) than silicone, but want to stay away from jellies. Give your elastomer toys a good cleaning using warm soapy water or a non-toxic toy cleaner, and let them air dry. Careful not to store elastomer toys touching one another! If you do, they'll mold into each other to form one giant super toy, and that is not as fun as it sounds. Use only water- or silicone-based lubes.
Cyberskin is a combination of silicone and PVC. It offers a very realistic texture but is quite porous. An unlubed condom will keep cyberskin toys clean, and dusting the toy with cornstarch after washing will keep it feeling silky. Cyberskin toys should not be used with oil- or silicone-based lubes, but work well with anything water-based.
Stainless Steel and Tempered Glass are hard, non-porous materials that can be easily sterilized. Toys made of these materials can provide a lot of pressure, which can be especially nice for g-spot or prostate play. On the other hand, sometimes they can feel too hard, and the larger toys may be uncomfortable at times. Glass and steel toys are often very beautiful and are appealing to those people who like their toys to be as pretty as they are fun. Can be used with any type of lube, just be careful not to drop your glass toys! While tempered glass is quite sturdy, it may shatter on hard surfaces like ceramic tile.
Plastic is less porous than vinyl or rubber, but keep in mind that many plastic toys have seams that can trap bacteria. Some plastics, like ABS plastic, are completely non-porous,making them very body-friendly. Plastic is a good option for a toy that's inexpensive and transmits vibration well, though these may be a little louder than softer toys. Like those made of other hard materials, plastic toys are fun for times when a lot of pressure is nice or necessary, and can also be a good option for providing focused vibration.