There are plenty of guides for this on the internet, although most focus on the two-sided process, and I was also given some great advice on Twitter but wanted to document things as an aide-memoire and I hope it helps you too.
Why chlorinate latex clothing?
I don’t own that many pieces of chlorinated latex, but they have their use! Chlorinating the latex reduces the “stickiness” but at the expense of reducing the lovely smell, making it feel thicker/more brittle and reducing the shine.
So, chlorinated latex is easier to put on, but doesn’t look as good – the solution, only chlorinate the inside surface!
CAUTION: When chlorinating rubber, Chlorine is produced in the process! It is seriously harmful to your eyes and lungs, and you must wear suitable protection in a well ventilated space.
Good ideas are Rubber gloves, a protective apron or other protective clothing, and goggles or a facemask (the closed kind). A shower and eye washing sink nearby. And a second person in case something goes wrong to help.
You will need:
- 2 plastic buckets, 10L in volume
- 10% hydrochloric acid
- 14% sodium hypochlorite solution
- Sodium carbonate powder/granules
- Eye protection (goggles)
- Respirator suitable for acid gases, eg 3M 60926
- Rubber or nitrile gloves
- Apron or disposable clothing
- Rubber boots
The following is for a full catsuit, halve the quantities if you are just doing a single T shirt.
Please read the full tutorial beforehand.
First comes the preparation of your Latex:
- Wash and dry the latex thoroughly, any talc or oil residue will interfere with the process.
- If you are single-sided chlorinating absolutely cover the outside surface with silicone oil/lube. Make sure it is a thick layer and fully covers all of the outside.
- Turn it inside out and clean the inside again, removing any trace of the silicone (just leave the silicone on the outside, which is now inside). You might find Bostik No. 4 latex cleaner helpful here.
- You can try taping up the openings, but these will come undone anyway, so I wouldn’t bother.
Now for the chlorination:
- Wear your protection.
- Add 10L of water to each bucket – one will be for the reaction, the other for washing.
- (again this is for a full catsuit, halve the quantities for a T-shirt)
- Add 150ml of sodium hypochlorite to the first bucket and mix well.
- Add the garment and wet fully.
- Add 150ml of hydrochloric acid. This will produce chlorine gas!
- Turn the garment around in the chlorine water (and turn inside and out if doing both sides) for 1-2 mins for a T shirt, 3 – 4 mins for a full suit.
- Place the latex into the second bucket and turn over and inside out to wash off the solution.
- Add sodium carbonate to the first bucket to neutralise the acid, until it stops fizzing. You can now dispose of it down a drain.
- Wash the latex in detergent several times as soon as you can to reduce the chlorine smell, and leave to dry.
If you are single-side chlorinating, hopefully the silicone oil will have formed a barrier and prevented the reaction from occurring and you are left with a slippy inner surface but lovely and shiny outer one. Win win!