Last Updated on November 23, 2021 by Dan
Wetsuits are tight-fitting rubber suits used by surfers, divers, swimmers and other water sports enthusiasts. They are made of neoprene foam sandwiched between two layers of rubber that help retain body heat in cold waters.
Regardless of the type or material of your wetsuit, it is important to wash it regularly and avoid getting it dirty in the first place. If you wear your wetsuit while surfing every day, wash it after three to four uses. While worse stains can be removed through home remedies, certain stubborn ones may require professional cleaning services. Here we will give you detailed instructions for washing a wetsuit yourself:
1) Fill a bucket with enough warm water (around 100°F) to soak your wetsuit for 30 minutes.
2) Add a handful of special wash clothing or wash cloth into the water and let it soak with the suit. The presence of wash clothing will help break down dirt and stains, while a wash cloth is ideal for rubbing off tough spots. Do not use regular laundry detergent as this wash agent may damage the neoprene foam which can lead to leaks in your suit. Specialised surf wash or sports wash clothes are available at most sporting goods stores.
3) After soaking it in warm water, take your wetsuit out and rub soap all over it carefully using a soapy washcloth. Be sure to rub soap on all areas of the suit including collars, cuffs and stitching.
4) Turn on your shower to a warm, not hot, temperature and rinse the soap off the wetsuit carefully. Be sure to wash away all remnants of soap from collars, cuffs and stitching. Do not stand under running water or use a high-pressure hose as this can cause damage to the seams by separating them from the rubber lining.
5) Hang your wetsuit in an area where it won’t get dirty such as an indoor rack or line outdoors between two posts. Try not to place it in direct sunlight or near any heat source which can damage neoprene foam faster than usual.
6-10) If you have stubborn stains that won’t wash away after one wash, repeat steps 1 to 5 for up to three wash cycles. If the stains don’t wash away after three wash cycles, visit a professional cleaning service that specialises in wetsuits or ask your local surf store for recommendations. After one wash cycle, have them inspect it before you proceed with another wash cycle because some stains can be removed by both methods but other types are only removable by professional cleaning services.
11) Hanging your wetsuit outside for too long between washes will cause it to be damaged so replace or hang indoors if this happens. Excessive exposure to sunlight and contact with airborne pollutants can impact the lifespan of your wetsuit so watch out for these factors while storing your suit between sessions.
12-14) Drying is another important part of washing a wetsuit. After wash cycles have been completed, squeeze excess water from the suit and then hang it up outside to drip-dry before placing it back in your closet. Wait for around 30 minutes after the drips have stopped before putting it away so that all moisture has evaporated completely. Avoid using heat sources such as dryers or direct sunlight when drying because they can damage neoprene foam.
15) When preparing for another session, wash your wetsuit immediately after use with special wash clothes or laundry detergent recommended by the manufacturer to remove saltwater and dirt before storage. If you do not wash your wetsuit right away, wash only in warm water (around 100°F) when prepping for another session.
16) Hang your wetsuit in a warm area with low moisture and direct sunlight like an indoor rack to allow it to air dry. Do not wash your wetsuit in hot water or near heat sources such as dryers which can damage neoprene foam over time.
17) Store your suit after drying in a plastic bag or large storage bin out of the way to keep it from getting dirty. This helps prevent damaging sunlight, dust and airborne pollutants from hitting the surface directly when not in use so minimize contact with dirt and grime when storing your suit between sessions.