All the while, we might have thought that our rain boots are made from rubber and our car seat covers from leather. Little do we know that we are using many items that are made from neoprene.
Neoprene was discovered in the 1930s when there was a high demand for rubber. It possesses most of the characteristics of rubber. Thus, neoprene is referred to as synthetic rubber. Natural rubbers are made from the extractions from a certain tree, while neoprene is produced through chemical synthesis.
Among the most common uses of neoprene are the manufacture of scuba diving gear, laptop sleeves, lunch boxes, mousepads, lab gloves, remote controls, tires, and a lot more. In homes, neoprene can be seen as sofa covers, pot holders and handles, and fabrics. Indeed, neoprene is so versatile that you can almost find items made from it everywhere on this planet.
The raw form of neoprene can be bought from manufacturers in either solid rubber or latex form. Through the process called vulcanization, synthetic rubber or chloroprene rubber sheets are produced. The versatility of neoprene can be traced to the following natural characteristics of this amazing synthetic material.
Highly Resistant to Damage
Fabrics and other home items made from neoprene are durable and are not easily damaged. They are weather-resistant and do not readily succumb to wear and tear and scratches. It is also resistant to fire, making it the ideal material for the manufacture of fire-fighters gear. Being water-proof, neoprene is used in producing gaskets and hoses because it does not degrade easily over time.
Flexible and Stretchable
Neoprene is often used in the manufacture of fabrics. Because of their natural elasticity, designers use neoprene in combination with other materials such as polyester to produce the ideal elasticity of fabrics. This is the reason why wetsuits are made from neoprene is the ability of the material to stretch up to 5 – 6 times from its original size.
Efficient in Keeping Body Heat
Gloves and boots made from neoprene are ideal during the cold winter months because they can help in keeping you warm by not letting some of your body heat escape. Because they are water-proof, your hands and feet cannot be soaked with water even if you play in the snow.
Safe and Washable
Neoprene is a safe product to wear and use in other home devices and items. It only becomes toxic when it is exposed to direct heating. Items made from neoprene, such as seat covers, can easily be washed. You can wipe your seat cover with a solution of water and mild detergent, rinse it by rubbing a clean cloth soaked in water, and dry clean it with a dry cloth. For apparels, it is always recommended to hand-wash them gently with mild detergents, rinse them without over-squeezing, and air dry them in an area not directly exposed to the heat of the sun.