Learn The Best Way to Clean and Look After Your Wetsuit!

WetsuitsYou invested a lot of money in your wetsuit and it could mean having it last for a year or having longevity on it for the next 5 years or longer. It all depends on how you choose to maintain it.

It’s important to learn the best way to clean and look after your wetsuit properly if you want to continue enjoying and feeling comfortable with it on for all your dives.

After all, you spent a lot of time doing researches for that perfect wetsuit!

At the end of your morning dives, you’re ready to have a shower and have a hot meal and bask in the sun. You decide you’ll just leave your wetsuit to hang outside in the sun to dry quicker… you’ll be diving again tonight anyway! If you keep doing this, your brand new wetsuit will be a short-term investment.  First of all, salt is one of the main ingredients that will ‘dry out’ your wetsuit giving it loss of flexibility.

In this post, I’ll tell you how to look after your wetsuit after your dives along with a video, what not to do with your wetsuit and in addition I’ll give you information on a product called Sink The Stink to remove odours like urine.

Wetsuits


Wetsuits are basically made out of neoprene which is a form of rubber foam and coated with some other materials depending on its purpose.

Some wetsuits, to give you additional warmth, may use Thermo-skin material on the inside. If you see this silver coloured surface and it’s smooth, then you know it’s a Thermo-skin. It’s important to be extremely careful not to get your fingernails or toenails cutting into this material.

What not to do to your wetsuit!


1) Don’t let the wetsuit dry in the sun because it will lose its flexibility and it will not feel comfortable anymore.

2) Never ever pee in your wetsuit because not only does it soil it, it will leave a strong ammonia odour. There’s this saying that’s been around for years, there are two types of divers in regards to peeing… those who do and those who lie about it!

Even though urine  is approximately 95% water and the rest is made up with a variety of ‘organic’ substances… it’s still the strong odour that can be repelling if you’re sitting on a dive boat amongst other divers.

If you do pee during your dive, always make sure to let the water pass through your wetsuit before you board the dive board.

Yes… I bet I have you thinking now about renting a wetsuit at a dive shop!!

3) Don’t lend your wetsuit to anyone and don’t borrow your friend’s.

4) Do not wash the wetsuit in the washing machine and do not put it in the dryer. Your wetsuit will loose it’s elasticity.

5) Do not wash your wetsuit in hot water. This causes stiffness and you will be annoyed wearing it because it won’t be comfortable. It weakens the neoprene material causing it to loose its elasticity.

6) Never use products like bleach.

7) When diving, avoid bumping into or rubbing against coral to eliminate possible material cuts and abrasions and to prevent coral from being damaged.

8) If your wetsuit has the zipper at the back, never pull the zipper at excessive angles from the path it’s intended to go as it will weaken the zipper and may cause teeths to break. If you cannot pull the zipper up or pull it down in a straight line, ask your buddy to assist you.

9) Never store or expose your wetsuit in an area that contain chemicals, solvents, gasoline, oil, or aerosol sprays.

10) Do not use any type of solvent, alcohol, lubricant or substances that are petroleum based on your wetsuit.

How to clean your wetsuit.


Taking the time to clean your wetsuit will not only keep it looking new and fresh, your investment will last you for many years to come.

1) Good rinse.

As soon as you’re done with your dives, even if you have a wait time from your morning dives to your night dive, it’s important to give your wetsuit at least a good rinse first in fresh lukewarm or cool water. This gets rid of dirt, salt, sand and any other debris.

Chlorine in the pool or salt from the ocean can cause the wetsuit to lose its flexibility and dry out if not rinsed and soaked thoroughly. Even the seams can corrode from salt water left in your neoprene wetsuit.

2) Soak and Scrub.

McNett Wetsuit and Drysuit ShampooWhen you’re done with your dives for the day, put some lukewarm or cool fresh water in a tub with some wetsuit shampoo like McNett Wetsuit Shampoo and some Baking Soda or wetsuit cleanser called Sink The Stinker (see below) and give it a good swirl. Dunk and soak your wetsuit in it for at least 15 minutes, then turn it inside out and let it soak for another 15  minutes or if you’re in a rush, open the wetsuit and make sure this water goes inside of the wetsuit dunking it several times. 

Note: While there are several products to eliminate odours, the Baking Soda and Sink The Stinker are the most effective to help to get rid of any odours like salt and urine! You don’t need to use both so choose one.

While it’s soaking, use a soft toothbrush and gently scrub the velcro pieces and the zipper. The zipper might have some sand stuck in it so make sure you move it up and down to work it out.

3) Rinse.

Give the wetsuit a good rinse, inside and out with lukewarm or cool fresh water.  I like to rinse mine in the shower or you can hose it down.

4) Hang to dry.

Don’t hang your wetsuit like the way you see dive stores display their wetsuits because your wetsuit already has weight whether it’s dry or wet and it will pull the shoulders and loose its shape.

The best way to hang the wetsuit in my opinion and what I’ve seen my fellow divers do is to have the legs go over the hanger so it folds over in the middle. To do this, you need to have a hanger that’s wide enough so you don’t end up with a crease in the middle of your wetsuit which adds more stress… just tape up 3 thick hangers together.

When you hang the wet wetsuit, make sure it is in an area away from any direct sunlight and let it dry. Keep all the zippers open to ensure the wetsuit gets dried completely.

Drying in direct sunlight will only stiffen the neoprene material. Do not hang your wetsuit on a wire hanger because it will distort the shape of your wetsuit.

5) Do an inspection.

Look for any rips and tears. Check the seams. If you have any rips, tears and seams that are coming apart in your neoprene material, you can repair them by using wetsuit glue like Seal Cement.  Don’t forget to check the zipper and look for any broken teeth.

6) Storing the wetsuit.

If you leave your wetsuit folded over a period of time, it will develop a permanent crease. The best way to avoid this is have the legs go over a thick hanger or you can let it lay flat if you have the room. 

If neither is possible, you can fold your dry wetsuit loosely and make sure nothing is laid on top of it.

Store it in a room that is dry and away from direct sunlight with unchanging temperature.

Never store your wetsuit in a garage that has a vehicle parked inside. The fumes may weaken the neoprene material over time.

Wetsuit Cleanser


Sink The Stink Wetsuit Cleaner BottleThere are a few great wetsuit cleanser products readily available for you. One of them is calledSink the Stink’. This is the most popular product among many divers and dive shop rental operations for the following reasons:

1) It’s specifically designed to help remove odours like urine and mildew in neoprene materials for wetsuits, BCDs, booties and skins.

2) The product is environmental friendly, natural and developed specifically for divers, surfers, snorkelers and other water sports minded people.

3) It comes ready to use.

4) The Super Concentrate is great for dive shops and resorts who look after large numbers of gear rentals as well as for the dunk tanks sitting at docks.

Hey guys, I hope you all enjoyed this post! Do you have your own method of cleaning and caring for your wetsuit?  If you would like to share your story or have any comments or questions, I really would like to hear from you. You can write them in the Comment Box below.

Thanks for reading!

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8 comments

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for posting a very interesting article about the best way to clean and look after wetsuit. I have to admit, I am a big fan of scuba diving, and I have a wetsuit. I find your article very helpful because I learned how to clean it up. Sometimes it’s not always easy to clean my wetsuit as soon as I can and I end up having to wait at the end of the day to do this. I haven’t spent much time actually inspecting my wetsuit for rips and tear and I’m glad you brought that up too. I’m bookmarking this post now. Thanks.

    1. Hi Karlo,

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad to hear you are bookmarking this post. Although the sooner the best if you can at least give it a rinse… your wet salty wetsuit will be fine as long as it’s not left overnight and you’re still rinsing and soaking at the end of the day. 

  2. Very informative information, my brother is an avid diver reaching certification for search and recovery. I am also a fan but not at his level, I know wetsuits can be expensive, I alway pulled mine off on the boat and left it there to dry. I won’t do that again and your information and recommendations for cleaning them are great to know. I will send your link to my brother as well.

    Thanks Randy

    1. Hi Randy,

      Thank you for your great comment! That’s exciting news, your brother will really enjoy the search and recovery certification. Yes, wetsuits are expensive for sure.  I used to let my wet wetsuit dry on the dive boat too and sadly, it didn’t last as long as I hoped it would. I’m glad I was able to provide you with helpful information and I appreciate you sending this link to your brother. 

      Best,

      Monica

  3. A great article and great advice. Easy to follow instructions so thanks for this. We never lend out our wetsuits to anyone and totally agree about the peeing business. Go potty before diving! The baking soda definitely helps but I think I will give the shampoo product ago and the sink the stinker as well. I have not used this product yet.

    1. Hi Rina,

      Thank you for your great comment! Ya, I’m glad you don’t lend your wetsuits out too. Sometimes accidents happen and at least we have the big wide ocean still at the end of our dive to quickly remove the wetsuit and take a giant leap into the water. I’ve seen dive shops use the Sink The Stinker in some Caribbean places. 

      Best,

      Monica

  4. Very informative information, my brother is an avid diver reaching certification for search and recovery. I am also a fan but not at his level, I know wetsuits can be expensive, I alway pulled mine off on the boat and left it there to dry. I won’t do that again and your information and recommendations for cleaning them are great to know. I will send your link to my brother as well.

    Thanks Randy

    1. Hi Randy,
      Thank you for your great comment. Your brother will enjoy his Search and Recovery certification course. That course is a lot of fun and he will definitely benefit from it.

      When I first started in diving, I used to let my wetsuit dry on the boat and it didn’t last very long. It felt very uncomfortable. You’re absolutely right, wetsuits cost a lot of money… we want to look after them for sure. I appreciate you sending my link to your brother as well… thank you!

      Regards,
      Monica

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