Maintaining LARP weapons

What’s a good way to maintain / tidy up our ‘standard’ NZLARPs swords.
They look at lot like the ‘Ready for Battle’ swords on Paddywhack, but I don’t know what they’re made of (do they differ in terms of core, outer, and spray coat? I’m new to all this).

Specifically, I have one that is a bit sticky now, and has fluff on the blade because of this. It didn’t come off with just a warm water rub and I’m reluctant to blindly try detergent / solvents without knowing what’s safe for the material or might dissolve stuff.

So what would be good here?
Warm soapy water, and if that doesn’t work, what other cleaner might do?
And when that’s done, is there something I should spray on it / coat it with to protect it? I’m not certain why this one has got sticky and fluffy and other swords I see haven’t.

Silicone! Paddywhack sells it, but you can just buy a giant spray-can from the Warehouse (or probably the supermarket):

Spray it on, then wipe it round, and it will stop stuff sticking. Though there’s a limit to what it can do - I left a couple of champion swords in their bags for too long, and they’re now perpetually sticky and have fluff no matter how many times I spray them.

@Ryan_Paddy, any formal suggestions?

Hi Ged,

To start, LARP swords should always be dried off if they get wet, so I really do not recommend using warm water at all to rub it. If something is sticky and fluffy, it is already on the path to being worn out.

It is typical for silicone spray to be regularly applied to maintain a coating on the sword as latex is naturally very sticky, on top of ensuring it is never caked in mud or water for a long period as this erodes the material over time.

All the swords in the NZLARPs gear library get maintained by the gear officer using silicone spray where possible that you can find over the counter but any in your personal possession that isn’t owned by NZLARPs (or is being borrowed) should have some kind of maintenance performed after every use (and spraying before each use is also helpful!)

In addition, heat causes the latex to become sticky, therefore causing this problem. So storage sometimes causes this issue and is unavoidable. I’ve had the same swords for probably 5 years, and they are perfectly fine with regular care and have no stickiness or fluff.

tl;dr if stickiness is happening there is no way of fixing it beyond just trying to maintain them properly (re-latexing things is often not worth the time or guaranteed to work) This will happen over time from use and storage issues (or at an accelerated rate if not cared for) Best you can do is use silicone spray regularly, keep it away from water and mud and heat


Some commercially available silicone contains heavy metals, solvents or propellants that cause latex to degrade. If you find a pure silicone, it’ll be fine. Bear in mind that automotive silicone spray is made for plastic and rubber surfaces and not for natural latex (or for the mysterious latex weapon “top coats”), so there’s no guarantee that every silicone you find is a good fit, unless it’s the pure stuff. Test it on a small area and leave for a few days.

The silicone sprays from larp suppliers are pure silicone so they don’t have this issue. They’re more expensive by volume, but you don’t tend to use a huge amount of it. So it just depends what your tolerance for experimentation, risk, and price is.

Note that commercially-made latex weapons have 4 layers. The fibreglass or carbon fibre core, the closed-cell foam, the coating of latex, and finally a “top coat” that is a magical secret sauce that differs between manufacturers, which makes the weapon more waterproof, durable and non-sticky (if it was just latex it would get sticky really fast). The silicone goes over the top coat, so you’re not actually applying the silicone to the latex directly (unless your top coat has worn thin in places, which can happen). Most suppliers apply silicone before they sell the weapons, but it wears/dries off which is why it pays to apply it before storage each time.

EDIT: wrote “silicone” when I meant “latex”


Thanks for the great info. This should be a useful resource for the future.