Latex fashions should in general be treated like any other fine clothing such asas fine silks used for evening wear. Although latex, properly constructed, is less subject to damage than silk, affording your garments the same care you would give to an expensive dress (or suit) will help avoid the pitfalls below, which even the best latex fashions are subject to.
Mild Unscented Soap (Such as Dove or Ivory Bar Soap)
Sink or Bathtub
Corn Starch: Much finer and safer than baby powder or talc.
Latex should be cleaned shortly after wearing. Body oils slowly degrade latex, making it sticky and weakening the material. Start by rinsing your latex under lukewarm water. Next, take your soap and create a very light lather. Use your hands to wash the latex. Try to avoid getting soap into the seams. Rinse thoroughly.
Lay flat to dry on a clean, non-metallic surface, such as a towel. You can let it air dry or gently towel dry. Once dry sprinkle corn starch all over the garment, inside and out. Corn starch makes the latex completely dry and ready for safe storage
Once the garment is completely dry, fold and place in an appropriately sized plastic zip lock bag. Do not store latex in printed plastic bags, as the ink may transfer to the latex. If your garment has any metal buttons or grommets, place a piece of masking tape on both sides of the metal to keep it from staining your latex (primarily for light colored latex. And store in a dark, dry place.
Hanging your garments won't damage anything. However, over time if a garment is heavy, straps and shoulder areas can become stretched out. If you hang your latex, use hangers that are soft. Never put latex on metal hangers. Do not store near a heat source or in the presence of sunlight.
Polish latex using silicone based polishes only. Do not under any circumstances use anything with a petroleum base (greases,oils) and do not use any other oils on latex. These will very quickly destroy the strength of the garment. Do not dry polish; you may scratch the glossy surface.
Avoid contact with metals. They stain and degrade latex.
Avoid contact with sharp or abrasive surfaces. Do not put on or take off while wearing sharp jewelry and watches, and beware those long nails, especially with the thinner stuff. Garter tabs can damage thinner latex as well.
Avoid contact with greases or oils (including make-up). These degrade the latex. If contact is made, wipe off and wash the garment as soon as possible.
Latex does have porosity to some chemicals. Inks and dyes can irreversibly stain light colored latex.
Latex has about the same reaction to heat or flame as polyester, so watch those cigarettes.
Latex will slowly degrade in the presence of ultraviolet light. Fluorescent light presents little hazard to latex, but sunlight will do significant damage over time. Wearing your latex outdoors for short periods of time will not readily affect the material, but constant exposure, such as storing or displaying latex fashions in the presence of sunlight will.
Avoid extreme heat or cold. Although not as sensitive as sheet vinyl to temperature, latex, nonetheless, has limits. Heat (like in a closed car on a hot summer day) may damage latex. Extreme cold below -20 degrees Celsius or below O degrees Fahrenheit will begin to stiffen latex. In this condition, latex is easily damaged by flexing, creasing, or putting under any weight. Allow latex to come up to temperature before attempting to reshape stiffened garments.
Latex is damaged by chlorine and is not like neoprene (the material used in wetsuits and other water sports clothing). Do not use for swimming.
There are a small percentage of individuals who react to latex and or to garments that do not breathe. If you find that your skin reacts to wearing latex after a short period of time, do not wear the garment, you may be allergic to latex.
Some small breaks in latex can be repaired using a solution of rubber cement slightly thinned with rubber cement thinner (Coleman camp fuel will also thin rubber cement). Lay the latex to be repaired on a flat glass or plastic surface. Ensure both inner surfaces are clean and apply a thin film of the glue to both INNER surfaces (a small, stiff acid brush works best). The surfaces will curl slightly, this is normal. Wait 15 minutes until the curl relaxes. Join the surfaces carefully. Clean excess glue to the joined inner surface. When dry and flat, back the glue surface with thin Lycra spandex or panty hose with glue applied to one side. If you have spare latex from another garment that has outlived its useful life, this works even better. Use talc or polish to remove glue tackiness at the joint prior to folding or wearing. The same repair can be done with mask making or molding liquid latex worked on in several layers. However, the bond is nowhere near as strong. The only advantages are that the latex will not curl and the resulting surface is not tacky and will not stick to itself. Wait 24 hours prior to wearing.
These repairs are adequate for non stress areas, but will not likely extend the garment's life indefinitely. Areas under considerable stress (armpits, crotches) usually require a gusset of latex on the inside of the garment to ensure the break won't re-open. Do not use bicycle repair, vinyl repair, or wetsuit repair kits to fix latex garments. Bicycle tubes, vinyl, and wetsuits have a very different chemistry, and chemicals designed for their repair will not also repair latex.
Excess glue can be cleaned off with rubber cement thinner or Coleman camp fuel. Do not rub! The thinner makes the latex very soft and easy to scratch.