Food grade vinyl is a safe material for sexual products but, still, one that absorbs bodily liquids and will dissolve if exposed to oil based products. Keep it away from massage or other oils; oil melts vinyl. Use water-based lube. If you have any elastomer toys in your collection don’t store them adjacent to this or other food grade vinyl toys; they will adhere to each other! If you have a collection of toys comprised of a variety of materials, it’s safest to cloth (fabric) bag them or otherwise physically separate them. . The material has some porousness and for this reason we recommend one use (i.e. Anal or vaginal, no crossing back and forth – even after cleaning) and one user. To clean, use a cloth dampened with water and a mild antibacterial soap or a sexual product cleaner. Wipe away from (not toward) the controls. Air or towel dry.

My vibe is some kind of vinyl but I don’t know if it’s food grade (I got it at a home sex toy party). Is it safe to use or should I throw it away?

“Vinyl” can be a generic phrase to mean any number or variety of manmade rubbers. Plasticizers are used to soften PVC vinyl. If vinyl does not have any softeners, it is very hard PVC plastic. Think “plumbing pipe”. There are different grades of vinyl, from food grade for your plastic food storage containers or baggies (which don’t give off a smell) to economical grade that are used in some lower end athletic shoes and other products. You can get a fair idea of the grade of a vinyl by the smell (this is basically the vinyl off-gassing). The more you smell, the lower the grade. Since the adult industry is not regulated by Health Canada (or the FDA or EPA) customers can find themselves with “unlabeled” product, as is your situation. There are, however, some telltale clues.

We offer this (totally opinionated) scale to help you decide whether to toss it, give it a biohazard suit (a condom), or try it but keep it for a short, solo-act time, not a long, long time.

(1) GROSS: It feels like jelly, smells like petrol or glue, if housed overnight in a Ziploc bag it adheres to the bag or leaves a sticky slime behind, or has a Trademark (or brand) name like “Cyberskin”, “FutureFlesh” “Jelly” etc. TOSS IT!

(2) MILDLY GROSS: It isn’t stinky or sticky. WRAP IT IN A CONDOM. May be used as a trial product as long as you use a condom and dispose of the toy soon – though it’s better for the planet if you visit a fruit or vegetable stand for your next experiment.

(3) ACCEPTABLE: Says Food Grade Vinyl on the packaging and is from a reputable maker (i.e. offers a warranty). CLEAN IT AND SET ITS EXPIRY DATE. Clean it properly (use a toy cleaner) and keep it around for no more than one-year. Never share between users or uses.

(4) PRETTY GOOD: Says Elastomer on the packaging and is from a reputable maker. Elastomers are not vinyl. It’s a completely different material that starts out soft and has product added to make it harder. This product is then removed by high vacuum so there are no residual hardeners. No solvents are used in the process and there is no latex. This type of material is ideal for manufacturing a variety of textures. Individual Elastomer products may feel differently from each other because each can be made of the same compound, just cured differently. Use a toy cleaner. No sharing. Keep away from oils, latex, and other vinyl toys. Expect about a year of use. Can keep using for another year with a condom once the shaft is discoloured. In other words, give it a SHORTISH, SOLO-ACT.