How to Clean Wetsuit: Quick and Effective Care Tips

Maintaining a wetsuit properly is essential for extending its life and ensuring it continues to perform well in keeping me warm and comfortable in the water. Cleaning a wetsuit isn’t just about rinsing it off after a day at the beach; it involves careful washing to remove saltwater, chlorine, and any other contaminants that can degrade the neoprene material over time. It’s important to use gentle techniques and avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the wetsuit. After cleaning, proper drying is just as crucial—drying the wetsuit inside out first, away from direct sunlight to prevent the neoprene from degrading, and then flipping it right side out to ensure thorough drying.

For storage, I make sure to hang my wetsuit on a wide hanger to prevent creases or folds that might stress the neoprene and lead to cracking or tears. Storing it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight is key to prevent the material from becoming brittle. Between uses, I’m always careful to inspect my wetsuit for rips or tears that could grow if left unaddressed. These simple yet effective care steps can significantly extend the life of my wetsuit, keeping it functional and comfortable for as long as possible. Additionally, being aware of some extra maintenance tips can also help; for example, occasionally using a wetsuit conditioner or paying attention to zippers and seams can maximize my wetsuit’s longevity and performance.

Key Takeaways

  • Effective wetsuit maintenance involves thorough cleaning and gentle handling of the neoprene material.
  • Proper drying and storage of a wetsuit are crucial in preventing damage and extending its lifespan.
  • Regular inspection and additional care tips contribute to keeping the wetsuit in optimal condition.

how to clean a wetsuit

Cleaning Your Wetsuit

Proper cleaning of my wetsuit is crucial for maintaining its flexibility, ensuring hygiene, and extending its lifespan. I follow specific techniques and use certain products specially designed for wetsuit care.

Rinsing After Each Use: Techniques and Tips

I make it a habit to rinse my wetsuit with fresh water after every use. This simple process helps remove salt, chlorine, and other contaminants that can degrade neoprene over time.

  • Step-by-Step Rinsing:
    1. Inside Out: I start by turning my wetsuit inside out to flush out the inner surfaces.
    2. Fresh Water Rinse: Using a hose or bucket, I gently rinse the wetsuit with cold to lukewarm fresh water.
    3. Thorough Coverage: I ensure water reaches every part, including the underarms and knees, often missed spots.

Tip: A garden hose with a mild spray setting is ideal, as high-pressure water can damage the neoprene.

Deep Cleaning: Using Wetsuit Shampoo and Conditioners

For a more comprehensive clean, I incorporate a wetsuit shampoo — eco-friendly options are available that are gentle on both my suit and the environment.

  • Instructions for Deep Cleaning:
    • Apply the wetsuit shampoo to the neoprene surface.
    • Hand wash the suit with gentle kneading to work the cleaner in.
    • Rinse thoroughly with fresh water to eliminate any soap residue.

The use of conditioners is also beneficial, rejuvenating the wetsuit material and helping to keep the neoprene supple.

Removing Sand, Salt, and Dirt: Best Practices

Sand and other particles can be particularly persistent, and if not removed, can cause the material to degrade. When it comes to removing sand, salt, and dirt:

  • Focused Cleaning:
    • Pay extra attention to zippers and velcro areas where grit tends to accumulate.
    • Use a soft brush on tougher areas if needed, but be gentle to avoid damaging the suit’s surface.

Saltwater, if left unaddressed, can lead to saltwater damage as it dries and crystallizes in the neoprene. Regular and proper rinsing, followed by deep cleaning when necessary, can prevent this damage and keep my wetsuit in good shape.

And for odor removal, a specialized wetsuit cleaner with disinfectant properties not only cleans but also helps eliminate bacteria and unpleasant smells, keeping my wetsuit fresh for my next dive.

how to clean wetsuit after use

Drying Your Wetsuit

To ensure the longevity and performance of your wetsuit, I’ll guide you through proper drying techniques that prevent damage and maintain the neoprene’s integrity.

Proper Drying Techniques to Preserve Neoprene

Firstly, after rinsing my wetsuit with fresh water to remove salt and other residues, I make sure to dry it inside out. I avoid wringing it out since this can cause creases and damage to the neoprene. Hanging my wetsuit on a wide hanger, I ensure the weight is evenly distributed to prevent stretching. It’s crucial for me to find a ventilated shaded area indoors where the air can circulate without direct sunlight. This practice aids in preserving the neoprene and prolonging wetsuit life by preventing wear and tear.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Drying: What You Need to Know

When I’m drying my wetsuit indoors, I choose a well-ventilated area away from direct heat sources. A cool, dry place prevents premature aging of the neoprene. On the other hand, outdoor drying requires more caution. I always find a shady spot because direct sunlight can degrade the neoprene’s quality over time. If outside options are limited and it’s imperative for me to dry my wetsuit outdoors, I make sure to limit the exposure time and keep it as brief as possible.

Avoiding Sun Damage: Why UV Rays are Harmful to Wetsuits

The reason I am meticulous about avoiding the sun during the drying process is because UV rays can cause significant harm to my wetsuit. These rays break down the neoprene, leading to a loss of flexibility and eventual cracking, which I definitely want to avoid. By keeping my wetsuit out of sunlight while drying, I’m taking an important step in neoprene care and preventing wetsuit wear and tear.

Storing Your Wetsuit

Proper wetsuit storage is vital for prolonging its life and maintaining its flexibility and insulating properties. I’ll cover some effective long-term solutions, how to prevent neoprene damage during storage, and the ideal conditions to store your wetsuit to minimize wear and tear.

Long-Term Storage Solutions

When it comes to long-term storage of my wetsuit, I make sure to give it a thorough clean beforehand. I’ll typically hang it on a wide hanger designed specifically for wetsuits; these hangers have broad shoulders to distribute the weight and prevent the neoprene from stretching out of shape. For convenience, storing it horizontally under a bed or on a shelf is also an option, provided the wetsuit is laid flat and not folded.

how to clean wetsuit

Preventing Neoprene Damage During Storage

To prevent damage to the neoprene, I avoid hanging the wetsuit on wire or thin hangers, as these can create creases and weaken the material. I ensure that the storage area is free from sharp objects that could puncture or tear the neoprene. Additionally, I keep my wetsuit away from direct sunlight and sources of heat, which can degrade the neoprene over time.

Ideal Conditions for Wetsuit Storage

The ideal conditions for storing a wetsuit involve a cool, dry place away from UV light. Moisture can lead to mold and neoprene breakdown, so ensuring the wetsuit is completely dry before storage is essential. I check that the storage area is well-ventilated to prevent mildew growth and maintain the integrity of the wetsuit’s insulating properties.

Additional Wetsuit Care Tips

Beyond regular cleaning, I recommend several practices to keep your wetsuit in peak condition. These tips combat odors, facilitate repairs, and help decide when professional services are necessary.

Dealing with Wetsuit Odors and Stains

If my wetsuit begins to smell or show signs of staining, I ensure to rinse it with a mixture of wetsuit shampoo and lukewarm water. For tougher odors, soaking the suit in a mixture with a mild disinfectant can be highly effective. I always rinse it thoroughly afterward to prevent material breakdown.

Repairing Minor Damages: DIY Tips

For small cuts or fingernail nicks, I use neoprene cement to seal the damage and maintain the suit’s integrity. Here’s a simple process I follow:

  1. Clean the area with fresh water.
  2. Apply a small amount of neoprene cement to both edges of the tear.
  3. Press firmly and allow it to dry completely before using again.

When to Seek Professional Wetsuit Repair Services

When I notice significant damage such as deep tears, or seams coming apart, it’s a sign to seek professional repair. If my wetsuit’s neoprene has started to degrade extensively, this expertise ensures proper seam resealing and material patching that goes beyond my DIY capabilities.

how to clean a wetsuit at home


Maintaining my wetsuit is essential to extend its longevity. I ensure that my neoprene companion is always thoroughly rinsed in fresh water after each dive. This practice removes salt, chlorine, and any organic materials that can degrade the quality of the material over time.

For a deeper clean, I use a specially formulated wetsuit cleaner which helps preserve the neoprene’s flexibility. Never do I resort to harsh chemicals or washing machines, as they can cause irreparable damage.

When drying my wetsuit, I am careful to avoid direct sunlight which can cause the neoprene to age prematurely. I hang it out in a shaded, well-ventilated area. Also, I make sure it’s completely dry before storing it to prevent mildew.

Storing my wetsuit properly is just as crucial as cleaning it. I hang it on a wide, padded hanger to avoid creases and never fold it for long periods, which could cause the neoprene to develop permanent creases, reducing its effectiveness.

By adhering to these care steps, I not only ensure that my wetsuit remains supple and comfortable but also maximize its performance in the water. Moreover, this attention to care saves me money in the long run by reducing the frequency of replacements.

Frequently Asked Questions

In my experience as a diving and surfing enthusiast, I’ve come across essential tips for maintaining and cleaning wetsuits that I’ll share here.

What type of soap should be used to effectively clean a wetsuit?

I recommend using a mild soap specifically designed for neoprene materials. These soaps are formulated to preserve the wetsuit’s integrity while thoroughly cleaning it.

Is it safe and effective to use vinegar for washing my wetsuit?

Yes, vinegar is a safe natural cleaner that I sometimes use to deodorize and disinfect my wetsuit. It’s effective in removing odors without harming the neoprene.

How should I maintain and wash my wetsuit after each surfing session?

After each use, I make sure to rinse my wetsuit with fresh, cool water. If it needs a deeper clean, I soak it in a tub with wetsuit cleaner, then rinse it thoroughly to remove salt, chlorine, and organic materials.

In the absence of specialized wetsuit cleaner, what are the alternatives for cleaning my wetsuit?

When specialized cleaners are unavailable, I opt for a mild, bleach-free soap. Occasionally, I might use baking soda or baby shampoo as gentle alternatives to specialized wetsuit cleaners.

How frequently should a wetsuit be cleaned to ensure its longevity?

I clean my wetsuit after every use to prevent the buildup of salt, chlorine, and bacteria. For thorough soapy washes, doing so every few sessions keeps my suit fresh without over-cleaning it.

Can regular household laundry detergent be used for cleaning wetsuits without damaging them?

I avoid regular laundry detergents because they can be too harsh for neoprene fabric and potentially damage the wetsuit. It’s best to stick with wetsuit-specific cleaners or gentle alternatives.