How to Tell if A Toy Is Truly Silicone
Recently at the store, we were sent a demo of a toy that looked like it might have been 100% silicone, but a few things about it made us wonder and it prompted me to write this article detailing what makes silicone a great material for sex toys and how to spot a toy that is not safe.
Silicone is easy to clean, non-porous, body-safe, and long-lasting. It can be all sorts of colors, can be made to different firmness & density levels, and it transfers vibrations well.
Generally, consumers are aware that silicone is a durable, body-safe material for sex toys. Companies using cheaper materials to make their products are aware of this and will market their products using terms like “silicone-like” or “silicone-feel” to make that connection in buyer’s minds that it is a reliable product.
This can be tricky to navigate, but we are here to provide you with a few tips to discern if a product is truly silicone or not!
Firstly, a company should NOT be claiming a product is completely silicone if that is not true. That is not to say that some companies won’t lie about what their products are made of, but it would be rare for a product to be marketed as 100% silicone if that weren’t true.
However, if you are not sure, there are a few at-home tests you can do and some sure-fire (pun-intended) signs that a toy is not silicone.
A 100% silicone toy will not have any weird chemical smells wafting off of it. Your toy may temporarily carry a scent from the packaging, but if it is completely silicone that will wear off quickly. If a toy smells like chemicals, that is a good sign to not put it in your body. If a toy smells like ANYTHING, whether it is roses or caramel or chemicals, it is also a good sign to not put it in your body.
We talk a lot about scented products that are marketed towards people with vulvas that will make them “smell like cherries” or something ridiculous like that. Vulvas and butts are supposed to smell like vulvas and butts and “cleansing” them with anything other than soap and water will do more harm than good. 100% silicone toys do not have an odor.
A 100% silicone toy will not leave any residue or greasy sensation on your hands when you take it out of the package. It should feel soft and smooth to the touch, but not like you got something on your hands after handling it.
A test we did on the product that was sent to the store was to lay it down on a piece of paper and observe if it left any residue. It did. You can do this test at home too! A toy that is safe for internal use will not leach oils or colors, the paper underneath it will be completely dry and clean.
The sex toy store I worked at in Amsterdam did not have as high of standards for their products as the Tickle Trunk does. They also did not have demos out on the shelves that you could handle before buying. I wanted to buy a rechargeable vibrating rubber duck toy (how cute would that be to discreetly have in your shower?) but when I opened the box to handle it before making my decision, the inside of the packaging was dyed yellow from the toy. If a product is leaving behind a scent, an oil stain, or any coloring, it will do that inside your body too.
A fun fact about silicone: it will not melt if you hold a flame to it for 10-30 seconds, but other materials will. When in doubt, we will hold a lighter to a sex toy we are suspicious of. Toys made of thermoplastic rubber, pvc, or other rubber blends will melt when a flame is held to them. If anything, silicone toys will get a bit of soot on them from the lighter which can easily be rubbed off or washed off with water, but they will not melt.
We don’t necessarily recommend that you do this at home and for sure don’t do it in a store, but if you’re curious when you come by the Tickle Trunk, ask us to show you some examples of toys we’ve melted.
Other features of true silicone toys:
You can boil them to clean them if they do not have electrical components. You should be able to clean them in the dishwasher too if they do not have any electrical components, but we do not always recommend this just because dishwasher detergent can be harsher and food bits may get on your toy.
You can store them in a bedside drawer touching other silicone toys and they will not stick together. This is not the case with other rubbers, just ask us to show you our bin of melting bad toys.
100% silicone toys should not be used with silicone lube. The solid, toy-version of silicone, and the liquid, lube-version of silicone share a similar chemical structure and you may or may not remember from high school chem class, but “like dissolves like”. You can pair silicone toys with water-based lubricant!
Because silicone is non-porous, it should not become discolored over time. There are some exceptions to this, such as clear menstrual cups. Lighter colored menstrual cups may change appearance over time. Not because they are not silicone or are porous, but because the outside layer will simply get stained after repeated use. Continue boiling them or cleaning with dish soap and warm water and you are good to go!
100% Silicone toys should last you a very long time with proper care.
The quality of the materials of the products we sell is incredibly important to us at the Tickle Trunk. All of our dildos, vibrators, butt plugs, and other insertable toys that are not glass or metal are 100% silicone. If we are not sure of something, we test it first. If we are still not sure, we do not take the risk and choose not to sell it.
If you have any questions about sex toy materials, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Reddit thread explaining the chemistry
Erica - The Traveling Tickle Trunk