Looking after something usually requires time and effort. When it comes to caring for your wetsuit, however, you will be pleased to know that it is incredibly quick and straightforward!
Here at Wetsuit Centre, we know how precious wetsuits are, especially if you use them regularly. Ensuring that your wetsuit is properly washed and dried can improve its longevity and reduce the chance of unnecessary damage.
Read on to discover how to wash, dry and store your summer or winter wetsuit!
Threats To Your Wetsuit
Unfortunately, even the best wetsuits can’t last forever and over time, and depending on how much the suit is used, wetsuits need replacing.
No wetsuit will last forever; a suit that is a few years old won't perform as it did when it was brand new. However, washing it after each use and drying it in the most beneficial way can extend the life span of the wetsuit considerably.
Why do we need to wash our wetsuits every time? Well, over time, the salt from seawater can corrode the neoprene of the suit, degrading the material slowly. Which is why it is essential to flush it out with fresh water after use.
Another harmful substance that can sit within the wetsuit is urine. As many of us will spend hours on end in the sea relishing in the thrill of our chosen watersport, it is not uncommon to need to relieve your bladder at one point or another. However, not only does it produce an unpleasant smell if left in the wetsuit, but it can also corrode the neoprene, thinning it and causing it to offer you reduced thermal protection.
Surviving amongst unwashed salt and urine is not the life you want for your wetsuit, so make sure to follow our tips to ensure you get maximum wear and use out of your suit!
Washing Your Wetsuit
As you may have gathered, washing your wetsuit after using it is a must! It is essential to wash away the salty water with clean, fresh water. Let's take a look at the best practices to ensure that your suit is squeaky clean, and protected.
How To Wash Your Wetsuit
Firstly, ensure your wetsuit is turned with the inside facing out.
You can wash it out in the shower or outside in the garden with a hose.
One of the preferred ways to wash wetsuits is to fill up a bucket or bathtub with clean water and to dunk and submerge the suit. Dunking the suit in and out of the bucket or bathtub will ensure the saltwater is thoroughly flushed out.
Focus on removing any sand in the wetsuit, too- this will avoid it drying in the suit and rubbing your skin when putting it on for your next surf.
Put extra emphasis on flushing out the neck area as you dunk the suit in and out of the water as, if left to dry with sand and salt, it can rub your skin.
The zip should be another focal area of the suit for washing. If the zip isn’t properly rinsed, it can build up with salt, which eventually clogs the zip and stops it from working.
You should also wash out your neoprene accessories after use, such as your wetsuit hoods, boots and gloves.
Should You Use Soap On A Wetsuit?
You don’t need to add anything to the water; just simple H2O will do! Don’t use ordinary soap or detergent, as these can potentially degrade the neoprene.
Using Wetsuit Shampoo
If you regularly go in the sea, your suit won’t need washing with shampoo every time it’s used- it might be a slight overkill. However, when you notice an odour or you want to feel a little fresher, it is best to get out the wetsuit shampoo!
How to use it will depend on the manufacturer’s instructions on the label of the bottle, but in general, 10 litres of water is required for one cap full of shampoo.
Fill a bucket or bath with the shampoo and water, and dunk the suit as previously advised above. As you dunk the suit in and out of the water, focus on areas which may need some extra TLC, like the armpits.
If your wetsuit is particularly smelly this time round, you may want to keep the suit submerged for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Can You Put A Wetsuit In The Washing Machine?
Although wetsuits are pretty robust pieces of kit that can take a beating or two, it is not advised that you wash them in a washing machine. Some stronger suits can withstand a session in the washing machine, but it is not advised and should only happen occasionally if the suit smells from stagnant water, for example. However, it will pose a risk to the suit so if you don't want to risk causing damage to your expensive wetsuit, we advise you give it a thorough hand wash instead.
How To Dry A Wetsuit
Placing your wetsuit on a coat hanger is the best way to dry it and keep its shape. However, it should not be hung like your regular clothing. To avoid misshaping the suit, hang it in half, so it is folded through the hanger from the waist.
The hanger should be strong and ideally plastic. Metal or wire coat hangers aren’t as durable and can also snag your suit if the neoprene gets accidentally caught on it.
The suit must avoid direct sunlight during the drying process as the UV rays can eventually age and damage it, restricting its flexibility and suppleness.
The most efficient way to dry out your wetsuit after washing it would be to hang it on a specialised wetsuit hanger, which is designed to hold both your wetsuit and any wetsuit accessories you may have, such as boots and gloves. Then place the suit in your garage or a dark cupboard to protect it from the sun.
How To Hang Your Wetsuit
When you put the suit on the hanger, keep it inside out for the first part of the drying process. Not only is it more pleasant to put on (the dampness of a wet wetsuit touching your skin is never nice), but it also reduces the opportunity for mildew and odours to build.
Once the inside of the wetsuit is dry, you can then turn it the right way around to finish drying the entirety of the suit.
It is worth mentioning that most suits do have a warranty. The length of the warranty will depend on the brand, but it is usually for one year.
It means that if the suit should break or tear, it will be covered for repair within the warranty period. Of course, this only includes manufacturer faults. If you were to damage the suit yourself, such as a fin cut, it would not be covered by the warranty.
If your wetsuit has, unfortunately, hit the stage of no return, browse through our range of suits on our online store and get back in the water in no time! We have wetsuits for all members of the family and a range of thicknesses.