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The CK Beginner's Guide to Toys

Introduction

Due to the delicate nature of adult toys we've compiled this easy to read guide that highlights the materials your toy might contain, how to properly care for those materials, and how to keep yourself safe when using your toys. Simply use the navigation links below this introduction to skip to what you need! We hope you find this guide useful and informative during your shopping experience.







Cleaning Your Toy

Toys should be cleaned before and after each use to prolong the life of your toy and to prevent growth of harmful pathogens.
For devices with replaceable batteries the batteries should always be removed first. Only waterproof toys are safe to completely submerge in water.



Simple clean – This method consists of simply washing your toy before or after use with a mild unscented soap or toy cleaner and hot water; suitable for most toys and materials. The simple clean method is ideal for toys being used by a single person without symptoms of infection.

Deep clean – This method involves 70% rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to kill surface microbes; suitable for silicone, glass, and metal toys. First wash the toy with an unscented soap or toy cleaner and water, dry the toy and cleanse the surface with your solution of choice. Finally, thoroughly rinse the toy and allow to air dry on a clean surface. Deep cleaning is a perfect way to sanitize toys which are used for multiple partners, for anal play, or if the user has previously had an infection to prevent reoccurrence.

Sanitizing – The most thorough method of cleansing, only suitable for silicone, glass, and metal without electronic components. First, wash your toy thoroughly with a mild unscented soap then set it aside on a clean surface. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and submerge the toy or toys for at least ten minutes to fully kill surface microbes. After the ten minutes is up turn off the burner and remove the toy or toys with metal tongs, placing them on a clean surface to cool. Sanitizing is a great option for toys used with multiple partners or for anal play.

UV Sanitizing – This method uses a UV-C light device to sanitize the surface of a toy and is suitable for any material with or without electronic components. Prior to placing your toy in the UV light chamber you should wash it with mild unscented soap or toy cleaner, next follow the instructions for the UV-C light device to ensure your toy is adequately sanitized. This is a great option for any toy owner especially if you invest in high end electronic devices.



Cleaning Methods By Material

Simple Cleaning
  • Most materials

Deep Cleaning
  • Silicone

  • Glass

  • Metal

Sanitizing
  • Non-electronic Silicone

  • Non-electronic Glass

  • Non-electronic Metal

UV-C Sanitization
  • Best method, all materials



** Always check for cleaning recommendations from the manufacturer prior to choosing a method.


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Storing Your Toys

To properly care for your toys it is important to store them in a clean dry place when not in use. Batteries should be removed if possible and rechargeable toys should never be left on the charger. Keep individual toys wrapped in protective cloth as some materials can bond together if they are left touching for a prolonged time or in the case of glass and metal the materials can potentially be scratched or damaged.
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Preventing Infection

Proper care and storage are integral components of toy ownership. Toys that are used internally can potentially harbor infection causing microbes and pathogens. In order to prevention infections or reinfections here are some useful tips to protect your body.

Know your toy! When purchasing a new toy know what it’s made from. Buying less expensive toys made from porous materials is fine, especially for beginners, but knowing the material will allow you make the best decisions for care of your toy and your body.

When using toys made from porous materials like TPE and PVC we suggest using a one on one rule; one body, one purpose. Put simply this means porous toys should not be shared with multiple partners and vaginal toys should not be used anally or vice versa.

Porosity describes a material with small pores that may harbor microbes and chemical residue, porous toys should be discarded after six to eight months of use to prevent risk of infection.

Porosity and Sex Toys

Highly Porous
  • Polyvinyl chlorine (PVC)

  • Thermalplastic elastomer (TPE)

  • Stone or natural fiber

Semi porous
  • Silicone

  • Sealed wood

  • Latex

Non-Porous
  • Glass

  • Stainless Metal

  • Hard Plastic

When in doubt use a condom. Many people may not be aware that condoms are useful for internal toys to protect against infection with harmful pathogens like yeast or trichomoniasis. Just remember to discard condoms after each use and continue to clean toys before and after each use.


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Vibrating Toys

Take care of your cables, rechargeable or AC powered electronic toys will include USB or wall adapter charging cables. It is important to remember to never leave your toy on the charger as this can shorten the lifespan of the battery which is permanently fixed in the toy. Carefully store your cables so that they are not bent or twisted and make sure they are in a safe place where they will not get lost.

Pay attention to temperature. With the exception of some toys designed to produce heat it is important to pay attention to the temperature of your toy. Some less expensive designs may not have a safety shut off in the case of over-heating and they should be powered off immediately if you suspect it is getting too hot. Over-heating is sometimes an indication of a malfunction or defect in the toy.

Be careful in the bath! Not all toys are meant to be used in water so it is important to refer to manufacturer recommendations prior to introducing your toy to the bath. Some toys may claim to be waterproof however in the case of toys with replaceable batteries they should be treated as splash proof incase the internal compartment is not resealed correctly before use.


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Common Warnings Explained

Do not use on unexplained calf pain.

Deep muscle pain or cramping in the leg may be an indication of a type of blood clot known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When vibration is applied to DVT there is a chance the blood clot could travel through the body and complications may arise should the clot move into a vital organ like the lungs or heart. For this reason it is recommended to never use a vibrator or massager in the presence of unexplained cramping or pain.

Do not use on irritated, inflamed, or swollen flesh

This second warning is fairly straight forward, because vibrators do create mild repeated impact to induce stimulation they may intensify or exacerbate existing conditions that are the result of external trauma. For your own safety it is best to avoid using massagers or vibrators if you have an existing injury or pain.

This product is sold as a novelty item only.

Manufacturers may use this warning to ensure consumers do not believe that the product is useful for therapeutic purposes or that it has be tested for efficacy in these manners. Novelties are used at the consumers own risk.

This product contains chemicals known in the state of California to cause cancer

Typically this warning is applied to certain porous materials like TPE or PVC if they are distributed or manufactured in California because the materials in question frequently contain fragrances with phthalates. According to Proposition 65 any product that may contain chemicals which have shown carcinogenic activity in humans must feature this warning in order to be sold, owned, or manufactured in the state of California.


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Toy Materials Comparison Table


Click on a link for more information

Material Lubricant Porosity Vibration Flexibilty Durability
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Any Non-Porous Excellent Rigid Durable
Acrylic Plastic (Lucite) Any Non-Porous Excellent Rigid Highly durable
Polyvinyl Chlorine (PVC) Water based Highly Porous Fair Flexible Fairly durable
Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) Water based Highly Porous Fair Highly flexible Fairly durable
Styrene Ethylene Butylene Styrene (SEBS) Any Highly Porous Good Highly flexible Durable
Borosilicate Glass Any Non-Porous Good Rigid Durable
Metal Any Non-Porous Excellent Rigid Highly durable
Silicone Water based Semi-porous Excellent Flexible Durable

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS Plastic)

Sometimes referred to as hard plastic or simply plastic this material is completely non-porous and excellent at conducting vibrations as well as carrying a relatively low price tag. Hard plastic toys are sometimes available in what is called medical grade which is a quality of ABS plastic that is used for surgical devices or IUD birth control like the Mirena. As the name suggests ABS plastic or hard plastic is only available in a rigid form which is best suited to prostate or g-spot stimulation.

Acrylic Plastic (Lucite)

Similar to ABS plastic with enhanced strength and clarity this material is non-porous, rigid, compatible with any lubricant. Commonly used for for pumping devices.

Polyvinyl Chlorine

PVC or Vinyl is a common material used for beginner friendly toys with a low price point. The material is inexpensive and can be applied to a wide variety of shapes and styles of toys. Along with the low price this material is not as durable as other materials available and therefore has a relatively short expected lifespan. Density of PVC may range from squishy and soft to rigid and can come in a variety of colors with varying opacity. Polyvinyl chlorine is combined with softeners to achieve the desired rigidity for the product, because of this PVC toys may contain certain irritants, like phthalates, and it is generally recommended that they be covered with a condom during use to prevent exposure to these chemicals, because PVC is highly porous applying a condom before use will also help to protect against harmful pathogens. Other common names for polyvinyl chlorine are jelly rubber, vinyl, PVC, and synthetic rubber.

Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE Rubber)

This highly porous material is most frequently used for stroking toys because of its incomparably supple skin like texture. Companies like Fleshlight and FantaFlesh employ patented formulations of this material for the sleeves of their vaginal, anal, and oral penetration devices. Some notable cons of TPE include high maintenance care. These materials are best cared for by being carefully washed only with warm water or specific wash recommended by the manufacturer. After washing they should be allowed to fully dry before placing them back into the hard case and last a thin layer of corn starch is usually brushed on to preserve the silky texture. Another unfortunate truth about TPE toys is that due to the highly porous nature and recommended cleaning practices they should be discarded if the user is found to have any form of STI to prevent likely reinfection from the device.

Styrene Ethylene Butylene Styrene

SEBS is an offset of TPE, this formulation included synthetic latex rather than chemical plasticizers to soften and add flexibility to the toy. SEBS is a better more body safe alternative to TPE and PVC however it is still highly porous.

Borosilicate Glass

Borosilicate, used for high quality bake-ware, is the most commonly used type of glass for adult toys. This type of glass is extremely strong, shatter resistant, and tolerate to extreme temperature. Even better the material is completely non-porous, compatible with any lubricant, and can be molded into many sensual shapes and designs. The rigid characteristics of glass toys make them ideal for prostate and g-spot stimulation. For an added rush let your toy sit in a bowl or ice or warm water prior to play!

Metal

Metal toys are available in a vast selection of grades and qualities although most internal sex toys are either made from stainless steel, surgical stainless steel, titanium, or aluminium. Primary differences between these materials are weight, durability, and smoothness. Surgical steel (SSS) is a heavy weight material that can be fully sterilized if needed and is highly scratch resistance and smooth. Surgical and standard stainless share many qualities, such as weight and polish, making them both ideal for internal toys used by novice to advanced consumers. Titanium is an extremely high grade of metal which is considered completely hypoallergenic and is best suited for prolonged wear, as in ball stretchers or butt plugs. Titanium is also not as heavy as steel while maintaining the same strength and durability. Titanium is the only metal that can be colored using anodization which does not apply potentially harmful chemicals to the surface. The last metal we’ll look at is aluminium. This is a less expensive and light weight metal which is ideal for beginners however aluminium may be more susceptible to surface damage than other options so it is not recommended for long term wear applications and should be checked for roughness before every use. All metal toys are safe with any lubricant, may be boiled or chemically sanitized, and are non-porous.

Silicone

While many misconceptions exist about silicone and how it is created this material is widely regarded as the “Cadillac” of toy materials. This less porous material is soft and capable of mimicking the soft touch of skin while being made in a variety of colors and densities. There are different grades and curing processes to create a silicone toy, the highest quality would be platinum cured or medical grade, while other grades may maintain the unique silky feeling while being blended with other less expensive materials to keep costs down. Platinum and medical grade silicones are cured with platinum which is used as a catalyst in the process; this leads to curing that does not produce any chemical bi-products. The most notable difference between silicone material toys and other materials available is that they have a high tolerance to heat, which means that despite the fact that silicone toys are still slightly porous they may be boiled in order to completely sanitize the surface (with the exception of electronic toys). Most types of plastic or rubber do not possess the heat tolerance of silicone so they can only be fully sanitized using UV sanitization devices. Silicone is also considered extremely body safe because silicone materials typically are not blended with harmful chemicals to soften or alter the texture.