Latex gaskets will naturally degrade over time and eventually need replacing; however, with proper care, latex seals can last many years. Here are a few tips to help you get the most life out of your latex gaskets.
The following is directly from the manufacturer who makes latex seals for the majority of dry suits and dry tops on the market:
- It is advisable after use to wash seals in clean, salt-free water, dry with a towel, lightly dust with talc, tuck the seals inside the suit, and store non-creased in a light free cool place.
- When handling gaskets, keep sharp objects away from them. Pushing ringed fingers through latex seals can initiate a tear.
- Latex can be damaged by oxidation, heat, prolonged exposure to light, in particular direct sunlight and artificial light with high UV content, oils, solvents, and greases.
- The garment should be stored in cool temperatures away from heaters.
- Latex seals store best in darkness. Exposure to direct sunlight or artificial lights with high UV content is best to avoid at all costs.
- Avoid contact with copper or copper-containing alloys.
- Keep away from naked flame.
- Avoid contact with oils, greases, and solvents.
- When stored, seals mustn't be creased as this places the latex slightly under stress
Here's our take:
- After you use your gear, hang it up to dry.
- Do not store a garment with a latex neck gasket on a hanger. Hanging long term will put a crease at the center back of the neck gasket. The weight of the garment over time will strain that area and cause it to fail prematurely. We see this a lot.
- After your garment is fully dry, place it loosely folded in a Rubbermaid container to prevent exposure to fresh air. Ozone exposure from the fresh air is the leading cause of gasket degradation.
- Store the Rubbermaid container in a dark, cool place that doesn't see much temperature or humidity fluctuation. The back of your closet is probably a perfect spot.
- If you're storing a dry suit and you won't be using it for a few months, it might be best to store it in a vacuum bag or a tied plastic trash bag.
- Avoid getting bug spray or sunscreen on your gaskets. If you do, clean it off with rubbing alcohol.
- Dusting your gaskets with baby powder will allow them to slide on much better.
- UV exposure isn't much of an issue with modern dry suits because most have a neoprene over cuff but try to keep gaskets out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
- Don't walk around in latex socks without shoes.
Trimming Latex Gaskets
Most latex neck gaskets and some latex wrist gaskets can be trimmed to size. Don't be afraid to trim a gasket for a better fit. It's straightforward and only takes a few minutes. Trimming a gasket won't shorten it's life if done correctly. All latex gaskets get trimmed at the factory. If anything, you may find your cut to be cleaner than the factory cut. Here's a link to our article about trimming latex gaskets.
Latex gasket manufactures do NOT recommend the use of 303 Aerospace Protectant or similar UV protectants on latex seals. We see more trouble with people using UV protectants more often than not.
Go here to see our blog on repairing your latex wrist gaskets.
Go here to see our blog on repairing your latex neck gasket.
Questions or concerns? Reach out to our customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.