Neoprene is quite a common material in clothing. Wetsuits, workout waist belts, even some high fashion clothes were from this rubber-like material. It is said to be a durable thing, withstanding saltwater, sweat- anything that can potentially damage ordinary fabrics. It can also last for a long time, with some being able to wear their articles for years while still maintaining a good condition.
However, even resilient things have to be taken care of. One of the most overlooked aspects of neoprene care is washing. Many people tend to end up damaging their items made of this material because of bad practices. However, it is relatively easy to clean as compared to other materials, and we at Eazihome would like to help you with that.
No Ifs or Buts- Air Drying Only!
Rubber and rubber-like materials are resilient to liquids. However, when combined with sunlight, it may cause cracks and other kinds of damage. Neoprene is not an exception. Because it is mostly used in activities that involve water (e.g., swimming, exercising), neoprene gear tends to be more vulnerable to those kinds of damage. Grazia, a fashion magazine, emphasizes the importance of air-drying right after wearing neoprene articles to prevent permanent folds and creases from forming on the material. The same goes for washing neoprene. To quote the article from Grazia, “Only allow the product to be exposed to the sun when being worn and store it away in your wardrobe.”
Detergent, But With Reservations
Of course, when cleaning something, a cleaning agent is in order. Neoprene is no exception. However, sources differ on what you can or can’t use. Aquazealots, a company selling diving gear, insists that only neoprene cleaners must be used. Others state that it is fine to use detergent, as long as it is those that are deemed “gentle.”
As laundry professionals, we recommend that if you could, use special neoprene cleaners. As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But, since neoprene cleaners are a bit expensive, gentle detergents could also do the trick. To prevent damaging the neoprene, mix the detergent with cold water before actually washing the entire thing. Handwashing is the way to go for neoprene. This way, you can control how you can clean off the dirt and grime on your gear. However, if you prefer to use a washing machine, it is best to set the washer on its gentlest cycle. This way, the neoprene still gets thoroughly cleaned without getting damaged.
Proper Storage is a Must
As said, proper care must be observed to prevent cracks and creases from forming on the surface of the neoprene. This step is also considered essential, especially when storing the material. Like silk, it is necessary to keep it on its natural shape to prevent damages. Because neoprene is not agreeable towards heat*, it is best to keep them in a cool, dry place.
*Fun fact: neoprene is chosen explicitly by makers of workout gear because of the way it conducts heat. It is also precisely why divers prefer this material since it keeps their body warm despite being submerged underwater for extended periods.
Need Advice? Ask Laundry Professionals… And Fitness Experts
If you are unsure of how to clean your things made of neoprene, give your friendly local laundry shop a call! As handlers of almost every conceivable material used in making clothes, we can surely guide you in what is best for your gear. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask your gym instructor too. As users of things made of the same material, they surely can advise on how they maintain their neoprene in tiptop shape. Either way, it is best to trust the experts in keeping things as good as new.
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