Latex Guide

Everything you need to know about latex and good latex care.

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    Latex or rubber?

    What is the difference?

    In many cases, latex refers to the material that is originally produced from natural rubber and is based on the milky sap of the rubber tree. Rubber, on the other hand, is often used to describe the material that is made from synthetic rubber based on petrochemical raw materials. This definition is actually wrong.

    Because regardless of whether synthetic or natural rubber is used as a base, vulcanization turns it into rubber. Strictly speaking, latex is only an intermediate stage in the production process before vulcanization. It would not be suitable for use as clothing, for example, because it is not elastic, but retains the changed shape after deformation (stretching).

    By the way, “latex” based on natural rubber can be even more durable than a synthetically produced material. On the other hand, allergies are mostly due to the supposedly natural natural rubber because of the proteins it contains. Perhaps because latex based on natural rubber sounds better than a synthetic material made from petrotechnical raw materials, the term latex has become so common.

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    Glued, dipped or sewed?

    Processing types?

    Latex can be made into garments and other in several ways. Basically, we distinguish three techniques: gluing, dipping and sewing.

    Latex can be made into garments and other in several ways. Basically, we distinguish three techniques: gluing, dipping and sewing.

    Latex sewing has not gained much acceptance because every needle stitch damages the material and especially because the thread is not elastic to the same extent as the latex. The result is seams that tear easily. However, such a look of a seam may be desired. In such cases, an additional latex strip is usually glued under the seam to ensure durability.

    Dipping is done by immersing ceramic molds in liquid latex. In the process, a very thin latex layer is formed with each dipping process. The desired material thickness is achieved by repeating the dipping process until the thickness is reached. This process is common for gloves, for example, because the fingers would be difficult to shape otherwise. However, the latex always flows a little after dipping and when drying, and thinner and thicker areas are created, which can then tear more easily.

    So-called sheet latex is used for gluing latex. These latex webs are manufactured industrially by rolling out liquid latex very uniformly and then winding it into webs on rolls and selling it for further processing. Well-known providers for this are, for example, 4d-Rubber and RadicalRubber. The designers or manufacturers of latex clothing can then choose from several colors and thicknesses of this roll material and make the cuts and glue them together.

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    Chlorinated latex

    Advantage or disadvantage?

    A special attraction of latex is its smooth shiny surface. However, this also requires regular care, otherwise it will look dull and the material will stick together. Chlorination of latex chemically etches and permanently alters the surface.

    As a result, the material appears rather satin to silky glossy and is somewhat less elastic. Instead, the surface no longer sticks together but rather glides together like nylon.

    Another important characteristic of chlorinated latex is that it can no longer be re-bonded, or only by intensive pretreatment. This can become a disadvantage even for a small repair. Ultimately, however, both variants need care. Even though chlorinated latex does not focus on shine, VIVISHINE care products prevent it from getting gray haze.

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    The right latex thickness

    How thick should the latex be?

    There is no clear answer there either. Material thicknesses between 0.25mm and 0.8mm are common for latex clothing, in exceptional cases (e.g. for a belt) even significantly thicker.

    The thinner the material, the easier it adapts to the body shape without constricting. On the other hand, sometimes some firmness is desired, for example, for a collar. And last but not least, of course, it is obvious that the thinner the latex, the more sensitive it is to damage (fingernails, get stuck, chafe…).

    Therefore, for a photo shoot a catsuit in 0.25mm can be ideal, those who wear it more often and do not want to be overly careful with it better choose 0.4mm. A thickness of 0.6mm for a tight suit is already very robust and shapes the body. This can give a great feel when cut well. But it can also pinch if the cut does not fit exactly. (see also fit). For wider cut clothes (coat, jeans, shirt) a slightly thicker material of 0.6mm or more is often useful, because then the shape creases less.

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    Latex CARE

    Powder or oil?

    Which is better for latex care?

    Admittedly, the question cannot be answered unequivocally. The fact is that either powder or a suitable oil is needed to prevent the material from sticking together. When new and during processing, latex is always powdered.

    This can be easily wiped off where glue is to be applied, so that the glue can hold. This is not possible with oil. Some people like the powdery look, which looks a bit like the tubes of tires. However, a glossy look is much more appealing to most people.

    This means that, as a rule, no powder is desired for the treatment of the visible outer surface.

    You can, of course, powder the inside and apply oil on the outside for shine if you prefer powder on your skin. However, some are allergic to powder or it itches. And when you sweat a white sauce is created – oil seems to be the better choice for the most part. In any case, mix powder and oil is crap! Because no matter how much oil is used, it will not create a beautiful shine if it combines with the powder underneath to form a lubricating film. So, for example, a new powdered garment first thoroughly wash off the powder and then leave in VIVISHINE.

    On the other hand, as preparation for repairs (return or gluing), thorough washing and subsequent powdering is recommended. This can also be a good solution for longer storage in a compressed state (e.g. suitcase). For such cases we can recommend, for example, talcum powder from Optimal Products.

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    Latex discolorations

    Through contact with metal

    Unfortunately, no remedy has been found for this to date. Latex reacts in combination with moisture, possibly salt and especially non-ferrous metals (brass, copper, gold, nickel…) and can discolor unsightly. Usually these discolorations are yellow to brown and very unpleasant, especially with light-colored latex. The only measure against it is prevention. So be especially careful with latex and jewelry or piercings, for example. If in doubt, it is better to omit or remove something before discoloration occurs.

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    Incorrect latex care

    Possible damage

    Unfortunately, it happens again and again that the wrong care products are used because nothing suitable is available at the moment. Special care should be taken with various oils, because they can irreparably damage the latex. For example, baby oil, skin creams or fats penetrate the material and decompose it. First it becomes wavy, then quite soft and often ends up with the so-called latex cancer, where it becomes brittle and breaks. So please do not save at the wrong end…

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    Latex glue

    Latex milk or vulcanizer?

    Two main types of adhesives are commonly used: a milky latex adhesive or vulcanizing adhesive. In both cases, it is important that the bonding areas are thoroughly cleaned beforehand and, above all, de-oiled. For this purpose we recommend VIVICLEAN.

    The latex milk is more suitable for thin latex or if, for example, zippers are to be soaked in order to bond them with latex. The vulcanizing agent has a higher adhesive strength for this purpose and is therefore recommended for stronger material.

    For a stable adhesive bond, it is recommended to pre-treat the bonding areas with a so-called buffer (for example TIP TOP Liqid Buffer). This is a chemical roughening of the surface. This works reasonably well even with chlorinated latex. If this causes the latex to become very wavy, it helps to apply the buffer on both sides, which later evaporates invisibly. Then apply the adhesive or vulcanizing agent to both halves of the bonded areas and allow to dry. Then put the parts together and when they fit, press them firmly together.

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    The right fit


    The pleasure of latex clothing depends largely on the fit. Not only that it looks better when the latex fits but also because it lasts longer. Experience shows that holes or tears almost always occur in places that are subject to heavy wear, for example, in the shoulder area, crotch or buttocks. If the latex here is not anatomically shaped and fits properly, increased material stress occurs there, which can lead to tears relatively quickly. Of course, this problem is especially apparent in tight clothing. Therefore, when buying here necessarily make sure that the cut fits your own figure or go straight to the custom-made.

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    Latex allergy


    Latex is airtight and worn directly on the skin you sweat easily. This can cause irritation in sensitive skin, and in the worst case the skin reacts allergically. This allergy can affect the material latex itself or be triggered by accompanying circumstances.

    Latex clothing is typically made from natural rubber and it contains proteins. These can be the reason for an allergic reaction. However, it is often not the latex itself that triggers an allergic reaction, but the powder with which it was treated. A significant proportion of allergic reactions are known from areas where latex gloves are (have to be) worn for protection or hygiene reasons. Therefore, in some cases, it helps to thoroughly wash off the powder and allow, for example, VIVISHINE products to care, shine or dress. And in general, good care and cleaning against bacteria is recommended to avoid skin irritation.

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    Wear latex in everyday life


    Of course, latex looks and feels sexy. So is it just something for home or maybe for scene parties?

    On the other hand, the shiny surface and stretchiness also offers interesting possibilities for fashion designers and people who just don’t want to wear only jeans or pleated skirts made of flannel. Many stars do it on stage. Of course, they want to stand out and not hide. And that is exactly the point: If then you should wear latex confidently or convinced and not want to mask or hide under it. We think it is a question of combination to which occasion latex can be worn in public today. A latex leggings combined with a long knit sweater goes quite as fashionable or even combined with a pair of jeans and a latex shirt you can dare to go to the subway.

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    Wash latex

    After each wear?

    There is no universally valid statement on this. However, every time you wear it, some lint or dust will remain on the surface and particles from the skin, such as sweat or skin grease, will remain on the inside.

    If this is left as it is, it can soak into the latex from the inside in the long term and dirt from the outside will reduce the shine. We therefore always recommend at least a short wash after each wear for long-lasting enjoyment of your latex clothing.

    With the right latex care, the latex will last longer.