Proper usage, cleaning and storage of your latex wear is essential to its long term appearance and longevity. Unlike cloth, fur, leather and other materials, latex is very delicate and requires special cleaners and care to maintain properly. While latex is not difficult to maintain, there are certain things you must do to ensure it remains supple and sexy for many years. If you are new to latex, use the following guide as a basis to care for your gear.
Donning and Usage:
- Latex is a naturally sticky material. When completely clean, latex will stick to itself and to your skin, making it very difficult to put on. Before you don your suit, it is important to lubricate it first. The most common way to lubricate latex is to apply a thin coat of plain baby powder to the inside – this will reduce the friction between the suit and your skin and allow it to slip on easily. Some people prefer to use a latex-compatible lubricant or silicone oil to prepare the suit before use – applied either to the suit or to the body. Whatever method you choose, be sure to check the label for latex comparability.
- The golden rule of donning latex gear is to take it slow. While latex is quite supple and stretchy, it does not handle sharp pressure well. Always be sure to work your rubber-wear on gradually, one part at a time. Depending on your entry zip location, you may need to step into your suit or pull it on over your head. Be sure to give yourself enough support and sit where necessary to ensure you don’t slip and stress the latex unnecessarily. When pulling the latex over your body, support the material as much as possible and avoid pulling on any one part excessively.
- Certain suits are not meant for solo use and are very difficult if not impossible to don by yourself. Quad suits, thick-latex and certain inflatables are very difficult to put on alone, and it is recommended to have a partner to help out. Remember to communicate with your partner while you are donning your item, particularly when donning restrictive items, and items that have breathing tubes that could block your airway.
- Remember that latex is a fragile material and can puncture easily! Always pay attention to your surroundings and avoid anything sharp! It is best to prepare a safe play area before getting into your gear. Latex can also puncture from within, so be sure to keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed and smooth before working with latex.
- Latex, and many care products are extremely flammable! Always be sure to keep away from sources of ignition such as heaters and furnaces while wearing and caring for your items, and always store your item in a cool, dark place.
Using Inflatable Items:
- When using inflatable items, it is best to inflate them with an air pump. Using your mouth to inflate your suit will force moisture between the layers which can reduce its life. Make sure to use a pump that is compatible with the valves on your suit.
- When pumping up your item, it is very important to keep an eye on its size and to not overinflate them (remember that thinner latex can stretch a lot more than thicker latex). It is best to have a partner inflate your item, or to inflate in front of a mirror so you can gauge its size. Always inflate you creation slowly, and inflate them one part at a time if you have multiple chambers.
- Always have a plan when using inflatable items! Whether you are pumping them up with a hand pump, or using an electric pump, compressor or air tank, always be aware of how quickly you are inflating, and monitor how your mobility is changing. As your suit inflates, the pressure on your body will increase substantially, making it more difficult to move. Stop inflation immediately if you have any difficulty breathing.
- Never put yourself in a position where you cannot stop the inflation, or cannot deflate your suit! For this reason, we recommend using inflatables with a partner whenever possible.
Cleaning and Storage:
Properly cleaning your latex wear is essential to maintaining its appearance and maximizing its lifespan. Just like a fursuit, keeping your latex gear clean will also keep it free of germs and bacteria that would otherwise thrive in the warm, damp environment.
Latex is a delicate material and cannot be cared for like most fabrics. As a result, it is important that you have the right equipment to care for your suit before you begin using it. In general you will need the following items:
- A delicate dish detergent such as Dawn or Palmolive (avoid anything meant to “cut grease”)
- Plain, unscented baby powder such as Johnson’s
- Latex polish such as Black Beauty or Vivishine (available online)
- Silicone lubricant or oil such as ID Silicone Lube (available at most adult shops)
- Latex-safe toy cleaner such as Ready Toy Cleaner (available at most adult shops)
- A sturdy plastic, wide-shouldered hanger such as those at dry-cleaners
IMPORTANT! Latex is very sensitive to cleaners and is easily destroyed by harsh chemicals. Never use oils, creams, cleaners or lubricants on your latex gear without first checking the label for compatibility! Always test any cleaners on an inconspicuous location before use. We cannot be held responsible for any damaged caused by incompatible cleaning products!
After any period of wear, no matter how brief, it is important to clean and dry your latex gear. If you are not familiar with latex gear, use the following information as a general guideline for washing and storing your suit:
- Remove your suit slowly and carefully. It helps to remove your gear while in the shower as the water will help the latex slide off easily. If you have an inflatable item, be sure to seal all valves tightly before getting it wet to avoid letting water between the layers.
- Pour a bath of warm (not hot) water and squirt in a generous amount of dish soap. Mix the soap into the water and carefully lay your suit into the bath. Use your hands to gently scrub the suit from end to end, being sure to expose every part to the soapy water.
- Turn the suit inside out and repeat the process, washing the suit from end to end. It is important to remove all traces of sweat and body oils since these can break down latex.
- Empty the bathwater and rinse the suit thoroughly under luke-warm water. Be sure to remove all traces of soap.
- If semen or other bodily fluids were spilled onto the suit, spray the effected areas liberally with a latex-compatible toy cleaner. This step is optional, but is good hygienic practice – particularly if you will be sharing the suit with a partner.
- If you will be polishing your suit using Vivishine, pour a fresh bath of luke-warm water and mix in a liberal splash of Vivishine. Mix the Vivishine with the bath water and gently lay your clean suit into the mixture, being sure to coat the suit evenly. Drain the bathwater once complete.
- Invert the suit and empty any water that may have gotten inside. Hang your suit above a drain using a plastic, wide-shouldered hanger. Do not use a metal hanger as metal will stain latex. Let your suit drip-dry – this will take about 1-2 hours. Do NOT hang your suit from a shower head or curtain as the weight of the suit could damage these components.
- Turn your suit inside out and hang it above a drain once more, allowing the inside to drip-dry completely.
- Once your suit is dry, apply a thin coating of baby powder to the inside. Avoid getting baby-powder on the outside of the suit as it will diminish the effect of the polish.
- Turn your suit right-side out once again. If you will be polishing your suit with a topical polish or silicone oil, lay your suit on a flat surface and coat it with a liberal amount of polish, working it into the material with small circular motions. Use a rag or your bare hands for best results.
- Store your suit either hanging in a closet or folded gently in a sheet or other breathable cloth. Avoid sealing your suit in a container as any humidity build-up will encourage the breakdown of the latex. Always keep your latex out of direct sunlight, away from sharp corners and away from metal, chemicals or other things that could stain it.