I have been involved with manufacturing latex clothing from latex rubber sheeting for 30 years.
Latex clothing has become quite expensive due to the high cost of latex and labour so it is a good idea to care for your purchases carefully.
This guide is equally true for moulded rubber items
CARE OF LATEX CLOTHING
Damage to latex clothing usually occurs when it is being put on ( or taken off). Allow the garment to warm up if it has been kept in a cool place. Do not be impatient. Do not tug at localised areas of rubber or it will rip. Rubber is very stretchy but eventually it will tear without warning. We recommend a light dusting of baby or un-perfumed talc, some people like to use corn flour. Seek assistance with zips if you are having difficulty.
Latex is bio-degradable but it will last a long time with care. We recommend storing the clean garment hung up in a cool dark wardrobe with perhaps a black trash bag over it. Rubber will fade in strong light. After wearing wipe down with a soft dampened cloth , do not scrub. If it has got particularly disgusting wash in lukewarm water with a very small amount of washing up liquid by hand. Do not scrub or wring. Rinse well, pat dry with a lint free towel and allow to dry naturally do not use heat. Water streaks can usually be removed with a damp cloth afterwards. Dust well with talc inside and a little outside to stop it sticking. If you want a glossy finish this can be achieved with either silicone spray or liquid, or a purpose made polish for latex clothing. We do not recommend the use of household or automotive polishes. Do not rub hard - you are not polishing a chrome car bumper - this will spoil the surface, use a very soft lint free cloth (a cut up well washed old t-shirt is ideal) . You will not achieve that perfect wet look gloss that you see in magazines this is done with lighting and enhancing the pictures digitally.
Do not spray perfume or cologne on the rubber, the alcohol contained in these products will not do the rubber any good. Light colours stain very easily when in contact with some metals, particularly those found in coins. In fact all colours will stain when in contact with nickel it just shows more on the lighter colours. It is due to the metal reacting with a chemical used in the curing process and creating a light brown stain. Dampness will greatly increase this reaction. Store any a garment which has metal trimmings carefully- use tissue paper to cover the trims. Many of our customers enjoy their garments for years, they just need a little more care than textile clothing.
Whitening of latex is caused by two things
1) Exposure to light, usually sunlight, I have seen patterns left on latex garments by the sun reflecting off perfume bottles. Keep your garments covered and in a wardrobe. Unfortunately this damage is irrepairable.
2) Latex rubber does actually absorb some moisture and this causes a white bloom on the garment. This is is quite common with garments made from freshly manufactured latex sheeting which have been transported in cold weather then delivered to warm surroundings. This will wipe off with care using a very soft cloth.
I have recently seen ruined garments that have been cleaned/polished with a liquid cleaner (milky white/blueish ,not a spray) sold as a rubber polish. The liquid gathers in folds and under press studs and actually melts the latex over time, otherwise it seems OK, just ensure that you carefully remove all the excess polish.
I have noticed the recommendation of car bumper polishes and tyre (tire) cleaners. Any product that contains petroleum distillate or abrasives will degrade the latex although the initial results may look pleasing.
We only advise the use of silicon spray applied sparingly. It is usually an aerosol available from industrial sewing machine suppliers, engineering/ industrial suppliers and auto shops (Halfords in the UK).
We are always happy to supply small repair pieces.
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