What’s Neoprene Material and Everything You Need to Know

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Does the name of neoprene ring a bell in your mind? Remember the time when you step into your local store to buy a wet suit? If you read the tag on the wet suit, there is a high chance that you may have seen the word “neoprene material”. Not only for wetsuits there are far more applications of neoprene material today around the whole world. To be exact, it is the very first successful synthetic rubber that was created. This synthetic rubber has become popular mainly due to its heat-resistant and water-resistant properties. Primarily it is more popular as an alternative to rubber. If you want, you can easily find these in your local craft store. Before getting into more details, let us find out about the history of neoprene in the first place.

Going back to history!

Just like many other inventions, neoprene was created as a means of solving problems that occurred in history. To be exact, after world war I, there was a rubber shortage. Wallace Carothers, a chemist at Harvard University was able to successfully tackle this crisis by inventing the neoprene material in 1931. Back in the day, this material was known as “duprene”. In addition, it was widely used for insulation, gaskets, telephone wires, vehicles, and so on. Moreover, neoprene was solely used for military purposes. Thus, ordinary people could not get the material nor use it on any occasion. However, after the end of the tragic war, things changed.

What is it used for?

Image of dumbbells and yoga mats made of neoprene material

Well, it would be ideal to say that neoprene material goes hand in hand with many different industries due to its unique properties. For instance, you can find this material quite easily in wetsuits, braces, backpacks, and for yoga products. So, you may have already encountered this material by the time you read this article. In addition, not only for everyday use but there are also far more applications of this material. This material is widely used in starting from construction, automotive, fire prevention accessories, and aircraft to aerospace, and glazing. Now that you know its uses, let us find out the commonly asked questions and answers about this material.

Is neoprene material washable?

Imagine you have a neoprene wet suit or a bag in which you need to clean up. It will be frustrating to wash the garment since you may have no clue about it. The first thing you can do is check the tag of the garment. Most of the time, the label contains instructions on how to wash the neoprene material.

If not you can follow the common practice as we find out. Based on it, the ideal way to wash the neoprene is hand washing. Just like your precious clothes, neoprene is delicate in which you have to treat it with care when washing them. So, do not put the neoprene fabric in the washing machine in haste. Even though the material is washable, using a washing machine can damage the neoprene. If it is inevitable, make sure to adjust the spin cycle before washing the garment.

Will it make me sweat and be hot?

Image of a man wearing neoprene wetsuit and holding a surfboard

Neoprene material can lock the heat of your body and make you feel warmer. So, it is not as breathable especially due to its closed-cell structure. However, it does not mean that the fabric or the garments are only for winter. For instance, you can give a go for a sleeveless shirt that is manufactured with neoprene. You won’t be sweating all over as the body heat can escape quite easily.

How long neoprene material will last?

Typically, the material itself is durable so it will last about 5 to 10 years. If you have to frequently get new neoprene garments, there is a chance that you may have done something wrong that may damage the material.

  • Carefully rinse the water after using (wetsuits)
  • Use a gentle detergent or soap to clean
  • Avoid direct sunlight when drying
  • Avoid any other chemicals
  • Do not iron/ tumble dry
  • Avoid the dryer and hang the garments to dry

Am I allergic to neoprene material?

Based on the studies even though it is rare, you can be allergic to neoprene. In addition, according to dermatologists, the risks can be divided into two which are allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and miliaria rubra. Once you come into contact with neoprene you will experience itching, swelling, and skin eruptions which are the signs of allergic contact dermatitis.

As we mentioned before, the breathable property is not a specialty of the neoprene material. Moreover, due to its properties, your body heat cannot escape and blocks the sweat glands. This will lead to miliaria rubra which is often visible as a rash with small bumps. If you see any of these signs. see the medical attention of a physician. Unfortunately, the only solution is that you have to avoid the neoprene material and garments altogether in case of such an allergy occurred. However, we like to remind you again that these allergies are quite rare all over the world.

Parting Thoughts!

After reading the above common questions and answers, hopefully, you will find all the answers that you are looking for. Since now you are aware of how to deal with the neoprene material, make sure to handle it with care. It will help you to use the neoprene garments without ruining them and use them for all the years to come. In addition, just like any product out there, neoprene product manufacturing will differ based on the brand. So make sure to get the best neoprene products along with quality, so they will last long.

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