Keeping it Fresh: Cleaning, Storing and Maintaining Latex
In our last article, we taught you how to properly lube up, put on and shine your favorite latex outfit. Unfortunately, as much as we’d all like to, we can’t keep our fashionable latex wear on forever. Eventually, at the end of the day (or night, if that’s more your style) you have to get undressed, clean off both your clothing and yourself, check for and repair any damage, and put your latex away in proper storage.
We know – it sounds daunting. However, these are important steps which will help your latex last for years and years without losing its curve-gripping tightness or sexy shine. Maintaining, cleaning and storing your latex properly is an investment that will keep paying off for as long as you remain a part of the rubberist community.
Like all of our helpful guides, this one is drawn from advice compiled from the various Laidtex staffers regarding their own personal clothing care routines. We’ve broken down the topic of “maintaining” your latex into four key points: undressing, cleaning, storing and repairing damage and will investigate each in detail. The goal of this article is to present a complete picture of how to keep your latex wear in perfect, 100% tip top condition for as long as you possibly can!
Luckily, removing your latex outfit is not any more complicated than getting into it – and possibly even less so! As you did when you got dressed, choose an easy-to-clean location such as a tiled bathroom for your disrobing process. This will make any leftover bits of talcum powder or liquid lubricant far easier to remove once you are finished undressing.
Remove your latex outfit slowly, starting if possible with the head and top of your body and moving down towards the feet. If you are wearing an outfit such as a dress or shirt which must be taken off via lifting it over the head, we recommend seeking the assistance of a friend or partner. Stand in front of a mirror so that you can keep an eye on yourself and make sure you are not pulling or stretching any part of the garment too far.
It’s likely that you sweated at least a little bit while wearing your latex outfit. Don’t worry, all of us do it – latex is a fairly non-breathable material, and can trap all your body heat inside of it especially if you’re wearing it in a crowded environment such as a club or party. Sweat will not cause any permanent damage to latex. However, it may cause the garment to stick to your skin, especially near sweat-prone parts of the body such as the armpits or crotch.
If you find that your latex outfit is sticking to you, DO NOT pull or tug on it to unstick it. This will almost certainly cause the garment to stretch or tear. Instead, hold your hand as flat and level as possible and slowly insert it into the stuck area. This will create space between the suit and your body for air to enter and allow the latex to be moved away from your skin without damaging it.
If that method does not work and you find that the latex is still sticking, hopping in the shower can provide a quick fix. Warm (but not too hot) water will lube up the latex and help unstick it from your skin. As an added bonus, taking a shower with your outfit on can kill two birds with one stone by allowing you to wash off the excess lube or talcum powder!
Once you’re fully out of your latex clothing, the next step is cleaning up. As we mentioned above, you can wash off yourself with a simple bath or shower. If you used liquid silicone oil as a lubricant, take extra care to make sure that none remains in your hair, as it can dry over time and become sticky and uncomfortable.
After cleaning off yourself, it’s time for the subject of our next section – cleaning your latex!
How to Clean Latex
Cleaning off your latex outfit after each wear might seem like a tedious chore, but it can be crucial in helping to prevent long term damage. Keeping your latex clean will help it remain shiny and snug for years to come.
If you used talcum powder and wore your latex for only a short amount of time, you may be able to get away with a simple rinse and dry. However, if you used liquid lubricant OR if you sweated any significant amount while wearing it, we recommend a more thorough cleaning. While sweat and silicone oil will not damage latex simply by coming into contact with it, they can cause discoloration or odd, unpleasant smells if left there for too long. As removing a bad smell from a material as non-breathable as latex can be quite the difficult process, we recommend that you save yourself the hassle and clean each garment frequently!
First, rinse off each garment one at a time using lukewarm water from your sink or shower. Make sure to rinse the inside especially thoroughly, as this is the side which comes in contact with both the lube and your sweaty skin. Make sure to remove all remaining traces of silicone oil or talcum powder to the best of your ability.
Once you have completed this step, it is now time to give your latex clothing a wash. Use a sponge or soft cloth; avoid anything too rough or ridged as it can get caught on the material and result in snags or tears. Pat the garment down gently with the cloth or sponge – do not make harsh “scrubbing” motions as they can cause the fabric to stretch or tear. Once again, pay extra attention to the inside of the piece to remove any remaining traces of powder or lubricant.
If you are worried about unpleasant odors from excess sweat, you may use a gentle, mild soap or shampoo. Make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that whichever you choose is unscented and does not contain any potentially harmful additives such as oils or cornstarch. Baby shampoos, dish shampoos, and anything designed to be hypoallergenic or used on sensitive skin are often good choices. Stay away from hand soaps, which are frequently scented, and detergents, which are almost always contain too-harsh chemicals.
Once you are sure that your latex outfit is clean, use another soft, lint-free cloth to pat it dry. As during the washing stage, avoid making harsh rubbing or scrubbing motions which can damage the material.
It is EXTREMELY important that you wait until each piece of clothing is COMPLETELY dry before putting it away. The slightest bit of remaining moisture can encourage the growth of mold, mildew, fungus or harmful bacteria, all of which can permanently ruin your favorite latex outfit if given enough time.
We recommend hanging your latex up to dry in addition to patting it with a soft cloth. Choose a non-moist or humid, well-aired location near a source of heat or fluorescent light. DO NOT hang your latex up outside or near a source of ultraviolet (UV) light, as more than a small amount of exposure to direct sunlight and/or UV rays can cause fading and discoloration.
Although allowing your latex to air-dry can take several hours or, depending on the climate, even multiple days, it is the only safe way of drying your clothing without risking major damage. DO NOT, under any circumstances, attempt to iron your latex garments or put them through the washer or dryer. (This includes sending them to a professional dry cleaning service). Excess heat will cause the latex to discolor, stretch, sag, and even possibly melt.
Once you have confirmed that each piece of latex clothing is completely dry, you can safely put them away until the next time you need them. See the following section for tips regarding proper latex storage techniques!
Putting Away and Storing Latex Clothing
When choosing a place and method to safely store your favorite latex outfits, the most important consideration is to pick somewhere dry, dark and as close as possible to room temperature. Although latex is typically a quite durable material and can retain function for many years, there are a number of environmental factors which can warp and damage it permanently.
- Extreme cold will cause latex to lose its supple nature and become significantly less elastic. Meanwhile, extreme heat can result in latex stretching out too much or even melting. For best results, keep your latex as close to room temperature as possible at all times. This will also prevent the latex from sticking to itself, which will benefit you in the long run as you will find it easier to put on the next time you wish to wear it.
- Fluorescent light is typically okay, but both sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light can cause latex to quickly fade and lose its bright, bold color. It is recommended that you store your latex somewhere dark, such as a drawer or windowless closet.
- Dampness – such as residual sweat, lube or water – and high humidity can cause mold or mildew to grow on or near your latex clothing. This can also result in the latex absorbing unpleasant scents which can be difficult or impossible to get rid of. Make sure that your latex is completely dry before putting it away, and store it somewhere where moisture cannot easily reach. As an extra precaution, we recommend storing each piece in a plastic garment bag or wrapping it in a dry material such as undyed tissue paper or nonstick plastic.
However, the natural environment is not the only concern which must be taken into account when you are choosing where and how to store your latex clothing. There are also a handful of what we here at Laidtex like to call human factors which should also be avoided.
- A number of common metals, including but not limited to copper, bronze and brass, will cause stained, discolored patches to appear when they come in contact with latex. It is for this reason that we recommend you do not layer latex with any kind of buttoned jackets or carry coins such as pennies on your person when wearing your favorite rubber. However, this also applies to storage. Avoid hanging your latex clothing next to or storing it on top of anything containing buttons, belt buckles, zippers or other metal add-ons. Additionally, if you are hanging your latex outfits in a closet, make sure to always use PLASTIC hangers rather than metal ones!
- Like metal, the nicotine found in products such as cigarettes, cigars and tobacco will cause latex to stain and discolor. Unfortunately, it is not enough to avoid wearing your latex clothing to smoke-friendly environments such as certain restaurants or clubs. If you or someone you live with is a smoker, it is important to store your latex in such a way that it will not come into contact with any secondhand smoke. We recommend wrapping your latex in plastic – such as a garment bag – if you live with smokers or regularly entertain guests who smoke.
- Oils and dyes. We have discussed the risk which oils and dyes pose to latex clothing in several previous articles. Depending on the chemical composition of these substances, they can cause anything from small discolored patches to large permanent stains to degradation of material quality. For this reason, avoid using scented air fresheners or other similar products in any closets or drawers which contain latex. In addition, put away your latex so that it is not touching any other pieces of clothing – including other latex garments. This is almost certainly guaranteed to cause bleeding and running of colors over time. If you will be using a closet, hang each piece on a separate hanger. If your latex will be stored in a drawer or container, wrap each garment in a dry, undyed material such as plastic or white tissue paper.
This list may seem extensive and complicated; however, we promise, it’s a lot more simple than it sounds! Start by designating a drawer, plastic storage container or section of closet specifically for latex clothing. Then, wrap each folded piece in plastic or tissue paper, and place each hanging piece inside a garment bag and on a plastic hanger.
Turn off all lights in the closet or room where your latex will be stored, and keep them off as much as possible. If you live in a moist, humid climate, take out your latex outfits occasionally and check them for water damage. That’s it – you’ve got a perfect storage setup which will keep your latex both gorgeous and functional for many years!
One last tip – for that little bit of extra protection, re-coat your latex in a light layer of talcum powder before putting it away in storage. Talcum powder will not damage latex, no matter how long it stays in contact with the material. In addition, it absorbs moisture, which will help keep your latex cool and dry, especially if you do not intend to wear it for several weeks or months.
It’s time to move on to our last set of instructions – how to repair your latex should it happen to become damaged despite taking the proper precautions.
Repairing Torn or Damaged Latex
If you follow the rules laid out in this and our other guides, we can almost guarantee that your latex will stay in perfect condition for as long as you wish to keep wearing it. However, what about those times when a rare accident does happen, and your latex accidentally becomes torn, snagged or otherwise damaged? What if you begin to see small faded or discolored patches?
If the damage is major and easily noticeable, we recommend taking it to a professional such as a tailor to have it repaired or buying a brand new piece from our extensive, fabulous collection of gorgeous latex outfits (found here). However, smaller tears or stains can often be repaired in your own home using simple, inexpensive tools found at a number of common stores.
This section will provide tips on how to fix the two most common types of damage which latex can suffer while being regularly worn.
Rips and Tears
In our guide to full-body suits, we discussed the use of glued seams made from rubber cement to create suits made from multiple flat pieces of cut latex. Rubber cement is a strong adhesive which has the added bonus of not causing any discoloration or other damage to latex clothing. As a result, rubber cement can be used to seal and repair rips and tears in your favorite latex outfit!
Start by laying the torn latex on a flat glass or plastic surface such as a tabletop. Make sure that no part of the material is sticking to itself. Handle the garment gently to avoid making the rip or tear any worse than it already is.
If the garment which you are fixing uses thicker, heavier gauge latex (typically 0.5mm or higher), you may be able to use standard rubber cement without any additions required. However, if you are working with thinner-gauge latex (lower than 0.5mm), we recommend that you mix a specialized thinning agent with your rubber cement to avoid creating unsightly clumps or bubbles. These thinners can be found at most craft or hardware stores. The Laidtex staff recommends those made by the brands Elmer’s or Bestline!
Keep your movements gentle as you apply the rubber cement with a soft brush. Avoid making any pulling or tugging motions which can widen the tear. As much as possible, stick to a thin layer of rubber cement, as it will be the least noticeable when you wear the outfit again.
Once you have finished applying rubber cement to the torn area, allow it to dry thoroughly before wearing the outfit or returning it to storage. Attempting to wear it before the rubber cement has properly dried could result in it adhering to your skin, which can be extremely difficult to remove.
If you cannot find or do not have access to rubber cement, other strong glues MAY be able to substitute. However, as always when working with latex, avoid anything which contains oils or other scented additives, as these can cause further damage rather than providing the intended fix.
Stains and Discolored Patches
Unfortunately, stained latex is not quite as easy to repair. If the stain or discolored patch is too large, we recommend taking it to a professional who has experience working with latex or replacing the piece entirely.
However, if the stain is tiny or located on an inconspicuous part of the garment, you may be able to cover it simply with liberal application of your shining agent or spray of choice. This will not remove the stain entirely, but may be able to hide it or direct the eye away from it.
If the latex becomes stained with something less permanently damage, such as spilled food, first attempt to remove it by gently wiping down the area with a soft cloth or sponge dipped in lukewarm water. Some of our Laidtex staff also prefer to use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, as it is soft, undyed, and unscented in addition to being specifically created to remove stains.
For more stubborn stains, some rubberists will use a tiny amount of isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol. However, rubbing alcohol has not been confirmed compatible with all types of latex garment. If you plan to use it, we recommend trying it out on a spare piece of scrap latex or an inconspicuous part of the outfit (such as the underarm) to ensure that it does not cause any additional damage.
You should NEVER attempt to use bleach or any other chemicals specifically marketed as stain removers (such as Zout or Tide Pens) as they are far too harsh and will permanently damage the latex. We also recommend avoiding hydrogen peroxide, acetone (nail polish remover) and any chlorine-based products.
As always, if you use water or any other liquid to clean or treat your latex outfit, allow it to fully dry before wearing or storing it to prevent the growth or mold or mildew.
With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to keep your latex-filled wardrobe smooth, sexy and shiny for years to come. However, even though you’re keeping your currently owned outfits perfectly functional, it’s always the right time to purchase some brand new ones too! Head on over here to browse our catalog filled with alluring latex outfits in a variety of sensual, irresistible styles.
And, of course, if you have any questions about care, cleaning, storage, or any of our products, don’t be afraid to contact the Laidtex staff at any time. We’re always ready to help you fill your wardrobe with the latest latex fashions – and keep them looking clean and gorgeous too!