7 Tips for Looking After Your Wetsuit
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 suit!
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 is as efficient two or three years down the line as it was within the first year if consistently used, but adequately washing it can maximise its life span.
Over time, the salt from seawater can corrode the neoprene of the suit, which is why it is essential to flush it out with fresh water after use.
Another harmful substance to your suit is urine. Whether you’re a proud ocean urinator or not, it needs to be washed out! It is another substance responsible for corroding the suit, not to mention that it is a smell that you won’t want building in your wetsuit!
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.
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 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 gloves, boots and hood.
Should You Use Soap?
You don’t need to add anything to the water; just simple H2O will do! You can use special wetsuit shampoo for a more thorough wash, which we will discuss in the next section.
Don’t use ordinary soap or detergent and do not put the wetsuit in the 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.
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 to one cap full of shampoo.
Fill a bucket or bath with the shampoo and water, and dunk the suit as previously advised. You may want to keep the suit submerged for 20 minutes.
As you dunk the suit in and out of the water, focus on areas which may need some extra TLC, like the armpits.
Drying Your Wetsuit
Placing your wetsuit on a coat hanger is the best way to dry it and keep its shape.
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.
To avoid misshaping the suit, hang it in half, so it is folded through the hanger from the waist.
For short periods of drying, it is ok to hang the suit up from the shoulders. Ensure the suit is zipped up to avoid over-stretching as it hangs.
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.
Hang it Inside Out
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 wet wetsuit touching your skin is never nice), 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 off drying the entirety of the suit.
Storing Your Wetsuit
Ideally, you want to leave your wetsuit hung in half over the hanger over extended periods of time.
Alternatively, your wetsuit can be stored if lying flat on a level surface.
Over long durations, your suit should never:
• Be hung on a hanger by the shoulders.
• Rolled or stuffed into tight spaces or draws.
Both these options can cause irreversible damage to the suit by misshaping and creasing it.
Wetsuits should always be stored in dry places without the risk of direct sunlight.
Here are some extra things to avoid when acting in the best interests of your wetsuit:
Putting It On
When putting your suit on, make sure to pull it up gradually from the bottom up. Ensure each part is positioned where it needs to be before you move onto the next.
For example, once you have put your feet through the ankles, ensure the knee pads are pulled up on your knees and facing the right way.
Before you zip it up, try to pull the arms up fully, so they are over your shoulders without any strain.
Putting your suit on properly will avoid any unnecessary strain on the seams which, over time, can weaken if continuously pulled.
Taking It Off
When taking your suit off, it can be tempting to stand on your suit with one foot to anchor it, while you pull your other foot out.
This is a bad habit to get into and should be avoided, as it can pull and weaken the neoprene and seams overtime.
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.
Waiting for your repair may require some time, but it is worth finding out about.
If you’re attempting a DIY wetsuit repair, discover our top tips below!
Hopefully, you now know all the dos and don’ts of wetsuit care!
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.