If you’ve researched sex toys, you’ve probably seen blogs warning against jelly (and no, not the type of jelly that you put onto your sandwiches). Jelly is a type of material made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and rubber, and as its name implies, it can be very soft. It’s compatible with all water-based lubes. It’s also relatively inexpensive, so it’s a popular choice for consumers.

Of course, you should understand exactly what you’re buying before picking up any new toy. Here’s what you need to know about jelly and other soft rubber materials.

Are Jelly Sex Toys Safe?

The biggest question is whether jelly is safe. Because a number of different substances can be added to jelly toys to create a soft, realistic feel, it’s difficult to make assumptions.

First of all, it’s important to note that “inexpensive” doesn’t necessarily mean “unsafe.” Many materials are both cheap and effective – latex is a notable example. You shouldn’t let the price of a toy dissuade you from making a purchase. With that being said, it’s true that some jelly toys are porous, meaning that they’re covered in microscopic holes; this makes them impossible to sterilize. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses can grow in the pores, and even if you use a high-quality cleaner, you can’t be sure that you’ve eliminated all of the contaminants.

However, this isn’t always the case. The term “jelly” refers to a wide range of products, and reputable manufacturers tend to use high-quality plasticizers that prevent those tiny holes from forming. Even if your jelly toy is slightly porous, there’s currently no evidence that moderate toy usage could increase your chances of infections, provided that you clean your toy thoroughly after every use (check out the last section of this article for cleaning tips).

If you’re using a sex toy made from a porous material and you’re worried about infections, you can use a condom to protect yourself. This also allows for easy cleanup, so you might consider picking up a pack of condoms to use with your toys – of course, if you forego the added protection, you’ll probably be fine as long as you buy your products from a well-known manufacturer.

A potentially bigger cause for concern is the presence of phthalates, which are a class of chemical used to soften hard rubbers and plastics. Phthalates may affect testosterone production, and while they’re used in thousands of different products, it’s unclear whether they’re completely safe for internal use. Some jelly toys don’t use phthalates; to find these products, look for a phthalate free feature when browsing our site.

If I Decide to Buy a Jelly Toy, How Can I Keep It Clean?

One of the big reasons that jelly sex toys are popular is that they feel great. They can be soft and flexible, which allows the user to target erogenous areas effectively. They transmit body heat very well, and they’re inexpensive enough that you can buy toys in a few different styles without breaking the bank. However, like all sex toys, they require some upkeep.

While some sites say that you can’t disinfect jelly toys – and this is probably true for especially porous materials – regular cleaning will certainly limit the chances of an infection. For the best possible results, we recommend a water-based sex toy cleaner. Toy cleaners spray onto the surface of your toy, and you can wipe them away with a clean, lint-free towel to get rid of potentially harmful microorganisms. Alternately, you can use a mild antibacterial soap, but be careful to choose a cleaner that won’t break down the jelly. Always store your toy in a cool, dry, and clean place.

We carefully evaluate the toys that we offer in our store, but if you experience irritation after using a product or if you see the symptoms of infection, talk to your doctor. Don’t continue to use a toy that seems to have a harmful effect on your body.