Gear Maintenance: How to Care for Your Wetsuit
Taking good care of your wetsuit can make a huge difference in the lifespan of your suit and keep it functioning longer. Besides, it only requires a few easy measures. So let’s go over how to properly clean, dry, and store your wetsuit, as well as list a few things that you should avoid doing if you want your suit to look and feel great.
1. Rinse your wetsuit with cold fresh water after each use. Salt water and chlorine can cause neoprene to lose its flexibility. Leaving sand on your suit can also shorten its lifespan.
2. If you want to wash your suit more thoroughly and/or remove any unpleasant odors, soak it in a tub of warm fresh water (not over 120F / 48C) mixed with mild detergent, liquid soap or special wetsuit shampoo for at least 15-20 minutes.
3. After soaking, rinse the wetsuit thoroughly, inside and out, with fresh water in order to get all the soapy residue off.
Drying Your Wetsuit
1. After you rinse or wash your suit, leave it inside out to dry. It’s important to let the inside of the suit dry to avoid any odors or mildew from building up. Keep all the zippers open to ensure maximum air circulation and complete drying.
2. To avoid stretching out the shoulders, put the wetsuit through a large plastic coat hanger or over the washing line so that it folds in half near the waist. Hang it indoors, such as on your shower rod, while it dries. If you must hang it outdoors, make sure it stays shaded, as direct sunlight degrades the fabric.
3. Flip the suit the right-side out once the inside is dry.
4. Make sure the suit is fully dry before putting it away for storage.
1. It is best to store your wetsuit laying flat. If that is not possible, use a thick hanger to better support the weight of the suit.
2. Store your wetsuit in a dry temperature-controlled environment.
3. Make sure any Velcro fastenings are done up as this will help avoid abrasions on the neoprene.
Wetsuit Zipper Care
1. Zippers are designed to be pulled closed or open in a straight line. Try to avoid pulling on the zipper pulls at an excessive angle to their intended path of travel.
2. Keep your zipper free of harmful dirt, sand and salt deposits by regularly cleaning it with a special zipper cleaner, or use any soft brush to remove the dust from between the zipper teeth.
3. Lubricate the zipper to protect it from corrosion, chlorine and other pollutants. Carefully open and close zipper to thoroughly distribute the lubricant.
Things to Avoid Doing With Your Wetsuit
- Do not use any harsh chemical cleaners, alcohol, solvent or petroleum-based substances to clean or lubricate any part of your wetsuit.
- Don’t wash your wetsuit in a washing machine.
- Do not use hot water to rinse out your wetsuit as it will dry the neoprene and make it less flexible.
- Never iron your wetsuit. Rubbery stuff and hot irons do not go well together. This may seem obvious, but still, this is the standard warning in the wetsuit instructions.
- Do not fold your wetsuit up and store it when wet. This will result in a stench from the neoprene and possibly mold growing on your suit.
- Avoid leaving your wetsuit on the sun. UV rays cause the neoprene to age much quicker. Dry your wetsuit in the shadow or indoors.
- Try not to pull too much on the suit when putting it on or taking it off, as this can result in torn neoprene and blown seams. Also, be careful to avoid using the tips of your fingers. Fingernails can damage your suit.
- Do not leave your wetsuit in the trunk of your car in a parking lot on a hot day.
- Don’t fold your wetsuit during storage because that can introduce a permanent crease and damage the neoprene.
- Avoid using metal hangers for storage, as these can rust and result in staining.
- Do not store your wetsuit in the garage, especially if it is used to park a vehicle. The exhaust emissions from the vehicle can over time deteriorate the neoprene.
Feel free to check out our range of Wetsuit Accessories that will help you with proper wetsuit care and storage.