You have invested quite a bit of time and money finding the wetsuit that fits you perfectly, now comes that moment after your first dive when you have to start taking care of your wetsuit. Do you just rinse it and let it dry or can you just put it in the washing machine with the towels? (don’t do that).
Follow our tips to extend the life of your wetsuit and enjoy diving with it for longer.
- Soak your suit
Try to soak your wetsuit in cold or lukewarm fresh water with a little bit of baking soda or a few drops of a mild detergent as soon as possible, don’t use hot water as this damages the neoprene and causes your wetsuit to lose flexibility.
Using a mild detergent will keep your suit from taking an odor and remove the thin filter of oils left there by the skin. You can also use a special wetsuit shampoo.
Soak your wetsuit for about 30 minutes before turning it inside out and soaking it another 30 minutes.
- Remove dirt
While your neoprene is taking a bath, you can start removing dirt that needs more than a soak. Get to work on the zippers and Velcro patches with a toothbrush, removing dirt that is stuck. Don’t forget to move the zipper up and down to dislodge dirt from the zipper car and remember to check in between the seals for more dirt.
After removing dirt and soaking the suit it’s time to rinse. Just make sure to rinse the suit thoroughly, inside and out, using cold or lukewarm fresh water.
- Hanging it out to dry
Make sure the wetsuit is turned inside out and hang it on a flat or special wetsuit hanger. Remember never to hang the wetsuit in direct sunlight.
- Inspection time
Now that your wetsuit is dry, before storing it for your next dive, make sure to inspect it for damages. Look for small tears along the seams and on the neoprene. If necessary, resew the seems using a heavy polyester thread, and if the neoprene needs patching, use the bits of neoprene you received with the wetsuit. For small gouges in the neoprene, you can use special wetsuit cement. Use some special zipper lubricant to keep the zippers working like new.
- Storing the wetsuit
To store your wetsuit, hang it on a special wetsuit hanger or fold it loosely. Make sure you don’t have any creases as these will damage the neoprene over time. Store the wetsuit in a dry place out of direct sunlight and you should be good to go for your next dive.
Header image credits: Taking care of your wetsuit