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Latex rubber is a natural product, extracted from trees, and processed into sheeting. The process of manufacturing latex clothing can be time consuming, and complex, so latex garments are often expensive. Because latex naturally degrades from exposure to light, air, and chemicals, the proper care and maintenance of your latex garments are key to ensuring a long life for your gear. This page is written for the beginner, but has useful information for the experienced as well...

 
beforehand...

Approximately 12% of the world populous has an allergic reaction to latex. These reactions can range from the severe, life threatening kind, (type 1,) to dermatilogical reactions, (type 4,) such as skin rashes, red bumps, or blistering of the skin. These reactions are the result of a naturally occurring protein in latex, and occasionally a a result from powder used in commercial latex products, such as medical gloves. Some people also experience contect dermatitis, with reactions such as dry, itchy skin, or mild irritation. If you have never experienced latex, it's a good idea to have a patch test done by a medical professional to ensure you are not allergic... If you're not sure, don't dive in full force until you've tested a small area of your skin for a reaction first!

For most people, this is obvious, but just in case: Never use oil or petroleum based products, or greases on your latex! These products excelerate the degredation of latex significantly, and your investment in latex will disintegrate quickly. Never use mineral or baby oils, petroleum jelly, or lotions on latex. Lubricants should be "condom safe" or "latex safe", water-based or silicone-based products. My personal favourite is Pjur Eros, which is a silicone lubriant. They also make a phenomenal latex dressing aid.

 
putting it on

For the beginner, slipping into latex for the first time is an exciting prospect, but you can not rush in! Latex clings to the skin, hair, and can easily tear or shred if not treated with care. You'll need a lubricant, dressing aid, or powder.

The conventional way of slipping into latex is to use a powder, typically a talc derivative. (The powder should be non-scented and non-medicated, since these powders usually contain oils and chemicals harmful to latex. Plain, unscented baby powder is the most common safe product.) Liberally dust the inside of your garment with the powder, and shake out any excess. It also helps if you (or someone helps you) dust yourself in the powder, brushing off any excess. Then, slip carefully into the garment.

The powder method is cost-effective, but I dislike it for three reasons. First, it's messy... powdering latex, and dusting out the excess gets powder everywhere. Second, if it is humid, or warm, you'll be damp or sweaty, and the powder clings to the moisture, making it somewhat ineffective. Finally, once in the latex, sweat mixes with the powder, and leaves behind this white filmy residue on the inside of the latex, as well as on the skin. While harmless, it's an inconvenience that can be avoided.

I reccommend Pjur Cult Conditioner and Dressing Aid, which is typically sold in 100ml bottles, and is available through the Pjur website. You, (or a friend) rub a little bit of the lubricant all over your body, and you just slide right in... This method works with any latex-safe lubricant, but some lubricants are more affective than others. (I would avoid scented lubes- no one wants to be near someone who reeks of faux cherries all night.) Remember, before using a lubricant product for the first time, read the bottle for warnings and precautions, and test a small amount on your skin to ensure you don't have an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients.

If you are having trouble getting into your latex, it's a sign that you need more lube or powder... Instead of grabbing the latex material with your fingers, which increases the likelihood of leaving finger indentations or causing damage to your clothing, use your whole hand to pull the clothing. Use your hand to shift the latex and gradually shift until the garment is in place properly and you are comfortable. Use as much baby powder or lube as you feel you need; excess can always be wiped off as needed.

Be sure to watch your fingernails and any sharp edges on jewelry or watches, as these will catch the latex and possibly cause a tear.

 
one you are shiny...

Latex is not like other clothing, or even other fetish clothing, such as leather or vinyl. It's typically thin, so you may feel naked in the areas you are wearing it. The tightness of the garment can affect circulation, as well as air flow; tight garments may have you feeling restricted and confined. It does not breathe, nor absorb moisture, so if the environment you are in is cool or cold, you will feel the cold quickly. If you are in a warm or hot environment, you will be hot, and sweat; the sweat will collect in the latex, since it is non-permeable. Many describe latex as a second skin, which is a sensual experience for some, and a disconserting experience for others; sensations such as breezes, liquids sprayed on the latex, or someone rubbing or polishing the latex can generate sensations of warmth or cool beyond what you might expect.

Some things to consider about your garment is the fit, (ideally, garments should cling to the skin, but not tight or stretched- or loose if you prefer,) the environment, (the temperature should be moderate, or slightly below a temperature where you would be comfortable with exposed skin,) and your comfort, (if you feel sexy, you're more likely to enjoy the experience.)

While wearig latex, avoid sharp objects like jewelry or long fingernails, and cigarette embers. Contact with these items can destroy or shred your garment. Copper and magnesium stain latex permanently.

 
taking it off...

When you are ready to remove your latex, the same care and process as was used to get into the garment(s) should be demonstrated to remove them. Typically, additional lubrication is not needed at the removal stage, since sweat collects in latex, and makes removal a bit easier. Instead of grabbing the latex material with your fingers, which increases the likelihood of leaving finger indentations or causing damage to your clothing, use your whole hand to pull the clothing. Use your hand to shift the latex and gradually shift until the garment is easy to slip off. (The use of additional powder to remove latex is not suggested, since the liklihood of a dry removal is small.)

Another method of removal is the shower method- step into a shower with the latex still on, and remove carefully under a stream of lukewarm water. (This accomplishes the removal, and helps to rinse off the latex at the same time, however, I find that the shower tends to wash away the remaining lubrication provided by the dressing aid, which actually can make it more difficult to remove the garment.)

 
cleaning

After wearing latex, it will have been exposed to sweat, your naturally occurring body oils, and possibly other fluids. Sweat and body oil contribute to the degridation of latex, so it is strongly suggested that you clean your latex right away.

Ideally, latex should be cleaned in lukewarm water, without soap. Turn the garment inside out, (so the surface exposed to sweat can most easily be flushed clean,) and swish it around in the water. Hang it on a plastic (not metal) hangar right-side-out to dry. (You may need to turn the garment inside out again and hang it up to complete drying.)

In some cases, a simple swish through water may not be enough... While Iusing soap and detergents on latex can cause the latex to degrade, it does help to clean the latex, remove polish and build-up of silicone lubricants, and helps to remove any powder residue that plain water can not. When my latex needs a bit more than plain water, I typically use a (very small) dose of dishwashing detergent in the water. It is vital to be sure to rinse the latex throughly in clean water after the fact to be sure all traces of soap are removed.

Another product I reccomend is Pjur MedClean; an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal spray lotion, (also available in wipes,) that is latex safe, but which helps keep your latex cleaner than clean.

I've even known people to put their latex into the washing machine with some dish detergent on a gentle cycle... (but never in the dryer!) Because of the agitation and spin cycles, this might to damage to some garments, but it is a easy way to get them clean...

 
shining and polishing

While shining a latex garment seems like it should be easy, it requires patience, a gentle touch, and practice. Fortunately, the longer you have an item, and the more often it is shined, the more it will retain it's shine.

Shiny, polished latex is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer a matte finish for their latex, and some have preferences based on the colour of the latex. Personally, I like latex shiny and well polished regardless of colour. Similarly, shining products are a matter of personal preference as well. Some prefer a wet shine, while others perfer a high gloss, and each product has different results.

I prefer a high gloss shine, and use the Pjur Cult Conditioner, or Pjur Eros Original BodyGlideto achieve this. But, this gloss can be aqchieved with any number of latex polishes. I prefer the Pjur Eros BodyGlide, since it is safe, non-toxic, odorless, and flavorless. Silicone sprays can also be used, (a higher grade, food quality spray is strongly reccomended,) or you can even use ArmourAll in a pinch, but some of these products are not safe to get in your mouth, and I like to know that my latex is safe to lick.

Regardless of the polish you choose, the application method is the same. You can spread the polish with bare hands, (a task others are likely to volunteer for-especially if you are wearing the item at the time,) spraying or coating the garment evenly, spearing it evenly across the entire surface using bare hands, or a soft, lint-free cloth, until the surface gleams. Do not rub hard, and avoid sponges, course cloths, or anything rough, (like lower-grade paper towels,) since this might scratch or damage the latex. The goal here is not to wipe the polishing product off, rather just to spread it around evenly. You should probably do this in good lightning so it's easy to spot areas which need touching up or extra care.

 
latex storage

Some people are absolutely meticulous about the storage of latex, keeping it in a light-proof bag or container, full of powder, in a dark, dry place- or in a special, climate-controlled closet. While this is certainly the best way to ensure the longest possible shelf-life of your latex garments, it's not wholly practical.

Personally, I like to keep my lat5ex polished, and ready to be worn. Some items I keep in a closet, and others I fold nearly into drawers- ensuring they are treated well with a latex conditioner/polish beforehand.

Here are the storage facts:

  • Latex should be stored in a cool environment, (ideally between 10° and 22°C, [50°-72° F]). Optimal storage is at the lower half of this range. Exposing latex to temperatures below 4° and above 35° may cause the latex to break down more rapidly.
  • Light, (especially light containing ultraviolet rays, such as sunlight and flourescent lighting) excel the natural decomposition of latex. Storage should be in a dark area, as free from light as possible.
  • Because latex is not water permeable, a humid or moist environment is not reccommended; the mostire can get trapped in folds and creases, and mold and bacteria may develop. A dryer environment is ideal, at a humidity below 65%, but above 10%.
  • For long-term storage, an elevated area is reccomended to keep the items away from ozone, which accumulates in low areas if air is stagnant.
  • Do not store latex in an air-tight container; stagnant air, trapped moisture, and chemicals released from the latex itself will expedite it's decomposition.
  • Latex items should not be stored with leather. Leather items often contain petroleum-based dyes or conditioners which degredate latex.
 
repairs and tears
Latex is a naturally degrading product. Depending on the age and care put into maintaining your garment, tears and rips may not be out of the question. On newer garments, if a split, tear, or rip occurrs, the manufacturer may be able to make a repair, for a small fee. If the seam splits, some manufacturers offer a warranty, and may repair the seam for you.

Latex repairs can be tricky, but think of it as a innertube repair, and buy a patch kit. Your repair may not look phenomenal, but you'll still have your garment! I suggest putting patches on the inside of the garment whenever possible, and using a good quality latex and adhesive. (Be careful to use an adhesive designed for latex- some non-latex safe adhesives will slowly deteriorate the latex.)
 
about chlorination

Chlorination is a chemical process where a chlorine atom is bonded to the surface of the latex so that it does not stick to itself. Because latex has a 'surface tension' which makes it want to stick to itself, skin, and hair, chlorination is a way to reduce the sticking effects of the latex. This is achieved with chlorine gas, which is highly toxic and corrosive. This process also tends to slightly discolour latex items, making a black latex item greyish, and a natural latex item become more brown in colour. Because of the hazardous nature of chlorine gas, I do not reccommend attempting this process at home. There are a number of latex clothing manufacturers who offer this service.

 

 



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