One of the most important questions for a long-lasting wetsuit is: how do you take care of your wetsuit?
The most effective method to maintain your wetsuit is to clean it after each session with cold freshwater, especially if it has been in salt or chlorine water. The next best thing to do is dry it in the shade and store it dry. Store it by hanging the wetsuit folded around the waist on a thick plastic hanger. It will help you enjoy the wetsuit longer.
When and how to clean your wetsuit
Washing your wetsuit properly is very important but you don’t have to wash your wetsuit every day. Here are some tips on when to wash your wetsuit and how.
Fresh cold water
Take a shower with your wetsuit or put it in a big tub or bathtub at home with fresh cold water. Make the wetsuit soaking wet so that every part of the wetsuit has freshwater. You can also leave the wetsuit there for 30 minutes and wash it down afterward.
After every session. Especially when you have been in salt water or chlorine water. Also when you have been in freshwater you probably have been active in your wetsuit. So you have been sweating. This is also salty and it will get stinky after a while.
Special wetsuit shampoo or wetsuit cleaner
You can also take a shower with your wetsuit but you will clean it less well. It is better to fill a big tub or bathtub with lukewarm fresh water and put the shampoo in it. You can rub the neoprene so you definitely don’t miss a spot. Don’t forget the zipper, clean it with a toothbrush so it is free of salt and you will protect it from corrosion.
Once a week or once a month is perfect. But also once a year clean it firmly and you will be good. If you use the wetsuit every day or week then maybe you clean it more regularly with shampoo. But it is good to clean and dry it well before you store it for a longer time
If you have been peeing in your wetsuit or your wetsuit smells really bad, not every shampoo will remove the stink. There are special wetsuit cleaners for stinking wetsuits.
Use zipper lube or WD-40
Taking care of your velcro is also important. After some time the zipper can get stuck from the sea salt or corrosion.
How to dry your wetsuit?
There are many ways you can dry your wetsuit if you are highly creative ;). But the best way you will see in the column do’s.
- Fold in inside out
- Use a hanger and fold it around the waist
- Use the wind to let it dry quicker
- Hang it out in the shade
- Hang it in the shower or garage where it can drip
- Let it dry in the sun
- Let the wetsuit hang at the shoulders
- Put the wetsuit in a dryer
- Hang it over a heater or radiator
How to properly hang your wetsuit?
The best way is to hang it around the waist to prevent the neoprene from stretching too much (see image below).
How long does it take to dry a wetsuit?
It depends on the thickness of your wetsuit. For a thin or summer wetsuit 3/2mm it takes around 6 hours. For a winter wetsuit 4/3mm or 5/4mm it can take around 24 hours. But it also depends on how it is drying (hanged or folded) in a warm or cold, foggy or dry room.
Pro-tip for a faster drying wetsuit: put a fan in front of the hanging wetsuit and turn the suit inside out every hour or day.
How to store your wetsuit?
There are many ways to store your wetsuit, not all of them are recommended. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts.
- Store it when it is dry
- Protect it from damage
So no sharp stuff around the wetsuit
- Store the wetsuit inside out
So the inner lining can breath from your body sweat
- Store in a dry and normal steady room temperature
- Let the wetsuit breath
It will get moisture if you don’t
- Store it while it is still wet
If you store it in a closet otherwise you get mold
- Fold the wetsuit
Just hang it half way the waist
- Hang your wetsuit on it shoulders
- Put it in a plastic bag
- Leave it in your car
Storing your wetsuit in a car
Storing your wetsuit in a car is not a good idea. Especially not when you keep it there for a couple of days. It’s not good for your car as it is for your wetsuit. The wetsuit can not properly breathe in your car so after some days it will get moisture.
Where can you store your wetsuit
You can store your wetsuit in these places dry or wet. Or in any other room in your house where it is not freezing, soggy, or in the way.
- Normal clothing closet (when it is dry)
- In the garage (wet or dry)
- Laundry room (dry)
What is the best way to transport your wetsuit?
There are some specially made wetsuit dry bags you can buy in watersport stores. They are waterproof and made to transport wet wetsuits so your car, clothes, or anything else won’t get wet. You can fold the wetsuit in a towel and then put it in the bag for extra protection. Don’t leave the wetsuit in the bag for one day it will get really stinky and after more days it will get moisture.
Another way to transport your wetsuit is just in a plastic or rubber bucket or a dry mat. You can also use this bucket as a changing mat that protects the wetsuit from sand and dirt from the ground. Just stand in the bucket and peel your wetsuit off and leave it there till you are home. At home, you can use this bucket also as your cleaning bucket, fill it with fresh water, and rinse and soak your wetsuit. Check out all our wetsuit accessories.
What is bad for your wetsuit (neoprene)?
Here is a list of all the things that are bad for your wetsuit:
- Sand and dirt
Every wetsuit will get some dirt or sand on it and that is okay, but leaving it there for a couple of days is not really good.
- Sunlight (UV)
Most of the time you will wear the wetsuit outside in the sun and you should of course. But letting the wetsuit dry in the sun or stay in the sun when not necessary will damage the neoprene.
- Hot water
Washing or putting your wetsuit in hot water is not really good for the neoprene; it will lose its flexibility.
- Salt seawater
Salt water will eventually dry out the neoprene and the wetsuit will lose its flexibility.
- Don’t use chemicals on your wetsuit
Chlorine or bleach or any other liquid that is not made for wetsuit.
- Ironing the wetsuit
Don’t iron your wetsuit, it will damage the neoprene.
- Putting your wetsuit in a wash machine or dryer
Never put your wetsuit in a dryer or washing machine; it will destroy your wetsuit.
- Lending your wetsuit to a bigger guy
If you lend your wetsuit to a friend who is bigger than you, it will stretch out the neoprene and the wetsuit could get too big for you or will not be as tight as it was.
- Leaving cuts, tears and holes in the wetsuit
They will get bigger and harder to repair. There are many signs that you should replace your wetsuit here is a blog about when you should replace your wetsuit.
What is good for your wetsuit (neoprene)?
Here is a list of all the things that are good for your wetsuit. Not a lot of things are really good for your wetsuit ;). But these three are the things you can do to take care of your wetsuit, so it’s pretty easy.
- Cold or warm fresh water
- Wetsuit shampoo (wetsuit cleaner)
- Storing in 15 to 20 degrees celsius