Think you know how to take care of your wetsuit properly? Well – you’d be surprised how often vital wetsuit care gets overlooked, even by professionals! But there are a few simple steps you can do to reduce the main causes of wetsuit degeneration. And considering good wetsuits don’t come cheap, it’s definitely worth protecting your beloved kit as best you can.
Whether you pick up a wetsuit from the local car boot, or spend £300 plus, taking care of your wetsuit will help prolong its life 10-fold. Taking care of your wetsuit properly will also stop it from developing a horrendous smell too! Trust us … you’ll want to look after your wetsuit for this reason alone!
….And before you think of it, no, you can’t simply toss it into the washing machine (in fact please don’t do this!)
So here are our vital wetsuit care tips. They’ll take you less than 10 minutes at the end of each use, and your wetsuit (not to mention bank account) will thank you for the benefits.
Wetsuit Care Tips
We’ll start with the most important tip of all …
- Always rinse your wetsuit off in fresh water after each use.
- The easiest way is to dunk your wetsuit in a bucket of fresh water for 5 minutes, hose it down, or (what we usually do) take it in the shower with you! This will rinse out all the salt, seaweed, chlorine and other water particles that are the main culprits for weakening neoprene fabric… AND the main cause of wetsuit smell.
- Do use a special wetsuit shampoo or wetsuit cleaner.
- Do not use hot water on your wetsuit.
- This causes the neoprene to become less stretchy. Use cold or warm water instead.
- Lay your wetsuit out flat to dry instead of on a hanger.
- Waterlogged wetsuits can be very heavy and so hanging them on a thin hanger can cause the material to stretch out of place. We lay our wetsuits out flat on a bench or a trampoline to dry. If hanging your wetsuit is unavoidable (which we know it often is) use a special wetsuit hanger that is less likely to damage the fabric and (let’s be honest), rather convenient.
- Leave your wetsuit to dry inside out and away from direct sunlight.
- This will protect the wetsuits outer surface. UV rays will cause neoprene to age (just like our skin!). Plus the inside will dry first making it sooo much nicer to put on again a few hours later.
- Try not to fold your wetsuit.
- The material will degrade fastest at the creases. Store your wetsuit lying down flat if possible, or on a thick padded hanger.
- Do not iron your wetsuit.
- As neoprene is a form of rubber the high heat will ruin and potentially melt the material.
- Keep your wetsuit away from any strong chemicals, aerosols, alcohol, solvents or petroleum.
- These will compromise the formation of neoprene and cause the wetsuit material to degrade rapidly.
- Put your wetsuit on gently.
- Often you’ll find yourself heaving on your wetsuit in a hurry. We all want to get in the water asap. But take your time to avoid ripping or snagging the material.
- It also helps to keep your nails short as long figure nails easily dig into the spongy fabric and cause cuts in the material.
- Do not use a brush or any type of coarse sponge on your wetsuit. This will roughen the fabric and cause the neoprene to develop a fluffy snagged outer.
- For stubborn smelly or dirty areas simply rub the wetsuit against itself. Inevitably your wetsuit will get marks that just won’t budge, but don’t worry about these in the slightest. They are a symbol of the adventures you’ve had!
- And finally, as we said earlier, do not machine wash your wetsuit.
- Washing machines damage neoprene and standard washing powder is far too harsh. If you absolutely have to, do so at your own risk and put it in by itself on a cold temperature wash, with a low spin cycle and use only special wetsuit cleaners.
For more information about wetsuits, check out our Wetsuit Guide here.