We often hear issues regarding the resistance bands becoming sticky over time from our customers and decided to do a bit of research to find the root cause for resistance bands turning sticky over time.
Why do resistance bands stick together? The natural latex rubber used in resistance bands when exposed regularly to direct sunlight or heat and with ageing starts deteriorating. The polymer chains of latex rubber get snapped, making it soft and loose like sticky glue.
Many questions must be arising in your mind about how to restore resistance bands to the original state and how to keep resistance bands from sticking each other in the first place.
To provide you with an affirmative answer to these questions, I researched various scientific journals and significant R & D resources.
Here is our advice –
Let me first explain to you the science behind how the material of resistance bands got originated to make you understand why resistance bands become sticky with time.
WHAT WE ASSURE YOU BEFORE BEGINNING –
Once you understand the concept, you won’t get misguided by other solutions provided all over the web, which doesn’t stand valid when it comes to resistance bands.
What is the material of resistance bands (in the first place)?
For newbies, the resistance bands are preliminary made from natural latex rubber, while some resistance bands are made out of non-latex (synthetic rubber) for people allergic to latex.
For viewers interested in knowing more details about materials, go through this useful article – Latex vs. Non-latex resistance bands which material to choose?
How latex rubber (used for making resistance bands) is made?
To answer this question, let us go back to the chemistry classes of school days.
We searched through the primary material science-related websites and stumbled upon an essential online resource – www.polymersolution.com
Now just as the environment can cause the rubber to crack, flake, and decay — “dry rot” — it can also cause the rubber to revert to its original state….. The rubber starts behaving more like latex, and any insults you hurl at the failing rubber product will probably stick, rather than bounce off!”
Let me explain to you the above with more details for your better understanding.
The latex used in resistance bands is the rubber in its most natural form. The rubber syrup is first extracted from the rubber trees by cutting into the bark of the tree. After that, sticky and loose rubber solution is collected in the containers like in the picture below.
This raw rubber syrup contains loose chains of polymers that are poorly bonded with each other. This loosely connected molecules of natural rubber in water gives them their initial stickiness.
To provide raw rubber syrup elasticity, this natural raw rubber is subject to a process named vulcanization in the presence of heat and other chemicals to make the internal linking between the polymer chains stronger.
Why resistance bands get sticky with time?
Once you understand the reason, you would be able to judge the next course of action in follow up.
The latex rubber used in exercise bands is used in every nook and corner of your home, including the kitchen. You must have noticed your wireless speakers, remotes, and handles of other electronic devices covered with rubber layers for insulation and better grip sometimes.
However, you must have noticed that they get sticky over time and attracts lots of dust. Similarly, resistance bands get more viscous with time.
? In technical terms,
The polymer chains of latex rubber get affected with time, and interlinking between the chains gets affected. If you now rewind the reason behind the stickiness of raw rubber syrup, the resistance bands have returned to a similar state with resulting stickiness.
Factors causing stickiness of resistance bands –
Now, you understood the process of resistance bands causing stickiness.
Preliminary, the ageing of rubber is responsible for the sticking of resistance bands together. After all, latex rubber is made out of natural resources and bound to decay with time.
Sometimes, premature decay of resistance bands happens due to overexposure to direct sunlight, heat, and salty water.
There are numerous other factors that are covered in depth in this fantastic article – Are resistance bands safe?
How do I recover sticky resistance bands to their original state?
To this point, you thoroughly understand the reason behind the stickiness of resistance bands. There are several solutions out there in the market, both offline and online, like the use of isopropyl solution, methylated sprits, and other alcoholic products to deal with the stickiness of latex rubber.
Let us jump to the next question in continuation-
Should I be using alcoholic products!.
Well, the isopropyl and other rubber cleaning solutions are useful only for electronic products and other utensils.
These alcoholic products react with rubber and remove the sticky rubber layer from the sides of the remotes, speakers, and hair dryers altogether. Hence, instead of repairing the rubber, alcohol removes that damaged layer of rubber, leaving behind the shiny plastic or metal of equipment.
Here are few questions i ask you now-
Is such kind of action by alcoholic cleaners useful for resistance bands?
Do you want your resistance bands to be stripped with a knife?
Do you want to compromise with the quality and strength of the resistance band?
Well, the answer is undoubtedly a ‘BIG NO.’ The alcohol, if applied over the resistance band, shall soften the rubber so that it is easily removed with some damp cloth. It is a useful aspect in the case of electronic gadgets and utensils. However, the above methods will compromise the strength of resistance bands.
When it comes to removing stickiness from resistance bands, you may achieve a bit using soap or other chemicals; however, they do so by eating into the rubber. As per our research, there is no way that latex resistance bands once got sticky, can be restored to the original state without compromising with the strength and safety of resistance bands.
In our opinion, if you find your resistance sticky at some point, do not hesitate to replace them in the first place as stickiness is the indication of deterioration of resistance bands.
You can well imagine the risk of resistance band snapping under extreme pressure during exercise. So act proactively.
Related Questions –
Can lubrication help you prevent the stickiness of resistance bands?
Lubrication is helpful, especially in the case of rubber sealants, for preserving them and providing an extra layer of protection from moisture. However, resistance bands are not like sealants which, once lubricated, need not be touched again. Just check this article for more insights – do we need to lubricate resistance bands?
How to lubricate resistance bands?
In case you use resistance bands regularly in a swimming pool with high chlorine content or near seashore with salty water, lubrication can be useful. Silicone grease is the best alternative for this purpose. But due care is needed as also detailed in how to lubricate resistance bands.
Can I repair the broken resistance bands?
Never try to repair the resistance bands once damaged or broken. Any fixation of resistance bands creates the weak links, which shall never be as strong as the original set up of resistance bands. Numerous cases of resistance bands snapping and hitting of the face have been reported. So act in advance and replace them immediately.