Rubber Maintenance

Latex is a natural material that requires special care not necessary for fabrics. It is sensitive to many external factors that may ruin the garment due to tearing, discoloration or weakening. This guide will offer instructions for proper care of latex garments, leading to many years of enjoyment.

Things to avoid

  • Oil: Oils will degrade latex. Avoid any contact with oil-based lubricants or solvents, hand creams, grease, leather, etc. Always handle latex with clean hands, as body oils will also damage latex.

  • Metal: Latex will react with copper, brass and bronze resulting in unsightly brown stains. This includes contact with pennies. Handling of these metals before touching light colored latex may also result in discoloration.

  • Sunlight, heat and humidity: Exposure to sunlight or other UV light sources will cause "blooming" white patches where the colour has been bleached; dark colours are particularly prone to this. Exposure to heat and humidity may result in discoloration or degradation. Latex is flammable and should not be exposed to raised temperatures; do not dry on radiators, by heat sources, or tumble dry!

  • Sharp objects: Any sharp object can puncture or tear your latex. Use special caution if dressing with long fingernails.

  • Flame: Latex is flammable!

  • Ozone: Produced from oxygen by UV-radiation from (industrial) type fluorescent lamps. Thus, prolonged storage without a protecting bag, likely in a non-specialised shop, will lead to damage not unlike sunlight: discoloration and turning brittle.

When dressing in latex clothing, patience is the key. A dressing aid is necessary to help the latex easily slide over skin. When preparing to put on a latex garment you can use powder or lubricant, depending on personal preference. Simply powder or lubricate the interior of the garment with unscented talcum powder or lubricant. Corn starch has been used as an alternative to talc, but should be avoided as it has been proven to play a role in latex allergy promotion. These dressing aids may also be applied to the body to make dressing easier

Now start putting the garment on. Do not pull hard or use excessive force or you may damage it. Slide your hand flat between the garment and your skin. Pull away with your entire hand and shift the latex as you do so. Repeat this movement until your garment is in place. If it is difficult to get the garment on, it is likely that you are not using a sufficient amount of dressing aid. Some people may prefer to wear cotton gloves to protect the latex from long fingernails.

Latex can be worn in matte or polished finish. To achieve a shine, coat the garment in a silicone lubricant or other latex polish. It can be sprayed or spread onto the latex with bare hands or a soft, lint-free cloth. Do not rub too hard, or the latex may be damaged. When wearing transparent latex, using a lubricant on both the inside and outside of the garment can increase the transparency.

Cleaning your garment
Latex should be cleaned shortly after wearing to remove any body oils that it has been exposed to. Rinse the garment well in warm water. Some manufacturers recommend using a mild soap, while others suggest only water. Hang on a plastic or wood hanger to dry, or lay flat to dry. The garment can be wiped gently with a soft towel to decrease drying time if desired. When one side is dry, turn inside out and let the other side dry as well. When completely dry, separate any latex that has stuck together and lightly dust the garment with talc to prevent any further sticking. Some will use a small amount of silicone dressing aid instead.

I recommend Dawn soap original. It cuts through the oil and grease your natural body oils leave behind but gentle enough not to damage the latex. Whatever cleaner you decide try to use one without any fragrances because they might cause a chemical reaction to your latex and leave an unexpected result.

Storing latex garments 
Prepare your latex garment for storage by washing, drying and lightly powdering as previously described. Keep the latex in a black plastic bag in a cool, dry place. The garment should not be stored still covered in silicone lubricant, as the lubricant will leach into the seams and may cause them to come unglued. It is not recommended to store light and dark pieces of latex in direct contact, as this can cause discoloration of the lighter latex.

Even with the best of care, latex may sometimes rip or tear. These damages should be repaired when the problem is small, as this increases the chance that the garment can be salvaged. Adding a patch can repair small rips or tears. This can be done at home, or by sending the garment to the manufacturer or to another latex company that offers this service.
A short explanation of how to patch a latex garment can be found at the website of Nimue’s Latex. A summary of this article follows here.
What you will need:

  • Rubber cement

  • Medium grain sandpaper

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Small latex or rubber patch

Clean both surfaces that you are gluing together with rubbing alcohol. All rubber conditioner and lubricants should be removed beforehand with soapy water. Lightly buff both surfaces with sandpaper to enhance bonding. Start with a small part of the patch; attempting to glue the entire patch at once may result in an unsightly repair. Apply a small amount of glue to both surfaces. The latex will initially curl, and then gradually uncurl as it begins to dry. While the glue is still tacky, press the two pieces together. Use a brayer or roller to remove any air bubbles. Let the patch dry overnight before testing.

Here is a youtube link to one of my own personal favorite rubberboys.
Material pulled from:
Videos tutorials to come. Stay tuned.