Wetsuits are one of the bigger investments for any scuba diver. How a wetsuit should fit is a very important factor when buying one. But how to take care of a wetsuit is another.
Because of the investment, it’s important that you take proper care of your scuba diving wetsuit and be able to enjoy it for many dives and for as long as possible. Fortunately for you, the care is not rocket science or back-breaking work but just a simple routine to follow no matter what type of wetsuit you may have.
So whether you own a wetsuit or a drysuit, if you are happy with it and feel comfortable with it underwater, let’s keep it that way. Whether you own a women’s wetsuit or a man’s, all you need to do is follow these steps on how to clean a wetsuit after your dive.
How to Care for your Wetsuit – The Must Do’s
Step 1 through step 3 are vital parts of your post-dive routine and so should be performed after every single dive, even when you plan on going back into the water later in the day.
Learning how a wetsuit works will also give you more knowledge on how to care for your scuba suit.
Step 1: Rinse With Cool Fresh Water After Each Dive
Firstly we explain how to wash wetsuit. This is actually the most important step in wetsuit maintenance. A lot of people also wonder how to wash neoprene, which is also very important as saltwater affects the neoprene; a buildup of salt on the suit will make the neoprene less flexible over time.
Rinse your suit with cool fresh water, never hot water so remember, don’t wear it during your post-dive hot shower. Heat also makes the neoprene less flexible.
When washing a wetsuit once you’ve thoroughly rinsed the outer layer by hand, pull the suit inside out and rinse the inner layer, too. Organic residue and salt can build up on both sides of the suit so it is important to rinse inside and out.
Step 2: Drip Dry in the Shadow
When considering how to wash it also remember, as mentioned, how to dry a wetsuit. Heat affects the neoprene so it is not a good idea to let it dry in the hot sun either. Instead, fold your suit over a padded hanger or leave it laid out flat to dry in the shade.
Dry the inside first (inside out) after the wetsuit wash, before you dry the outer layer. This is especially helpful when doing several dives a day since a dry wetsuit inner layer is easier to put back than one that is still wet.
Step 3: Store Properly
How you store the wet suit affects its structure and the neoprene. Don’t just scrunch it up and stuff it into a corner or bag because this will affect the structure.
Another extremely important part of How to take care of a wetsuit is how to keep it when not in use, the best way to store a wet suit is folded at the waist on a padded hanger. Hanging your wet suit folded at the waist prevents stretching at the shoulders and neck.
How to Care For It – Do Occasionally
Essentially, steps 1, 2 and 3 are the most important things to remember with how to take care of a wetsuit. You don’t need to do the following tips after each dive but they do help to keep your suit free of odors and flexible.
Wash with Wetsuit Cleaner
To remove and prevent any smells, wash your suit with a specialized cleaner that removes salt and other organic residues from the ocean.
Wash by hand gently in a bucket of cool freshwater because washing machines and dryers will damage the neoprene.
Lubricate the Zipper
The teeth of the zippers wear over time because of the salt. Keep them smooth by occasionally spraying with a special zipper lubricant.
Don’t use just any lubricant because the neoprene is sensitive to chemical substances, aerosols, and oil. Stick to the stuff that is specifically made for these materials.
So now that you know how to wash a wetsuit, take a look at these awesome products to help when thinking about the care during and after cleaning it.
Here are our 3 Most Popular Care Essentials;
Care and Maintenance – What Not to Do
Finally, there are a few more things to never try when considering how to clean wetsuit. These will damage the neoprene, make the suit less flexible or cause wear and tear. And we don’t want any of that! Here’s what not to do when washing and cleaning.
Heat damages neoprene so ironing is never an option. The material does not really crease anyway so ironing is never necessary.
Don’t Squeeze Out the Water
As much as it might feel natural to squeeze the fabric to get the water out don’t as this damages the structure and the neoprene. Squeezing the suit can cause tears, wear down the neoprene and affects how flexible it is.
Don’t Leave Tears for Too Long
It’s important to try to fix tears as soon as possible. This helps to prevent it from enlarging and then becoming too big for you, causing water to leak in.
In order to fix a tear, you can use specific waterproof sealants for the suits. Sealant for tire punctures is also another way to help fix a tear.
Don’t Use Harsh Chemical for Washing
As mentioned, the neoprene is sensitive to harsh materials like chemical solutions and oil so be very careful when considering how to clean a wetsuit.
Skip the household products and stick to using specific cleaners to make sure the chemicals don’t damage it.
And there you have it, all the answers to the question of how do you clean a wetsuit and the best steps to follow when cleaning and caring for it. They are a great investment and ultimately save you money by not having to rent those smelly rental suits. So it’s a good idea to take care of them!