How to take care of your wetsuit to make it last longer?
How long does a wetsuit last? It depends on how much do you use it and how good care do you take of it. Things like – Do you rinse it with fresh water after every use? Do you dry it in a shadow? Do you store it properly? Or do you leave it in the hot trunk of your car, wet and all mashed up to cook for hours after every session, dry it over the fence in the sun and mash it into a box later? – can have a big influence on the wetsuit lifespan. Will you be able to use it for only one season or will it last for years. Anyway, here you will find all the wetsuit maintenance tips we could think of. But in the end, don’t worry to much about your equipment – it’s just a tool for the things we really love.
1. HOT WATER WILL DESTROY MY WETSUIT
You are cold and numb after you came out of the water. The wind is blowing and the last thing on you mind is changing out of your wetsuit in the parking lot. A warm shower makes things much more bearable. But hot water and neoprene don’t go well together. In hot water neoprene looses some of the flexibility and so will your wetsuit. So jump out of your wettie before you jump into a hot shower. Also – don’t wash your wetsuit with hot water…
2. SUN AND MY WETSUIT
Sun is bad news for the neoprene and for your wetsuit. If it’s not a big hassle to avoid hot water when you are in your wettie, avoiding the sun is a whole other thing. What better way to quickly dry your wetsuti than in the warm sun. Well – DON’T! Do not leave your wetsuit on the sun! Sun (actually the UV rays that come with the sun are the problem) is the neoprene worst enemy. Dry your wetsuit in the shadow if you can. UV rays will cause the neoprene to age much quicker. It will get pale, dry and it will loose its flexibility. Especialyl since you can often forget that you are hang drying your wetsuit in the sun and it can sit there all day long. It’s not only UV rays. It’s black and it will get hot which is also not good. What about the time you are in the water ? Your wetsuit is constantly cooled by the water and the sun has only minor impact on the neoprene.
3. HOT TRUNK IS NOT A GOOD PLACE FOR MY WETSUIT
Again – anything hot is no good for your wettie. That includes a hot trunk of your car in a parking. Cooked and baked neoprene is no good, raw is much better :).
4. IRONING MY WETSUIT? YOU ARE KIDDING, RIGHT?
What on earth would posess someone to put a hot iron on a rubbery material like neoprene? Well, it seems that it can happen since it is a standard warrning on almost every wetsuit you buy. Don’t do it, no matter how wrinkled your wetsuit is :)!
5. HOW TO DRY MY WETSUIT
Dry your wetsuit inside out. By doing this you will keep the flexibility of the outer side intact, since if will be in complete shade and out of harms way of the UV rays. There is a bonus to that – if your wetsuit is not completely dry when you are going out again, when you put it on, you will crawl into a drier side.
6. HOW/WHERE TO STORE MY WETSUIT?
The point here is that you do not want to put the material (that is neoprene) under constant stress. Which is what you do if you mesh you wetsuit into a drawer, or like on the floor of your closet etc… you should store your wetsuit on flat surface or wide coat hanger. Thin coat hanger will stretch the neoprene on the shoulders, you can see it right away if you leave it hanging for a longer time. Here is a short video demonstrating what to do and what not to do…
7. WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY…
Don’t wait until tomorrow. Rinse your wetsuit with cool fresh water and then dry it. As soon as you can. Don’t leave you wet wetsuit to rot inside a bag, box wherever…
8. HOW TO GET SURFWAX OF MY WETSUIT?
I don’t think that any chemical that removes surf wax is at the same time very friendly to neoprene. So get over it! Even if you scrape it of, it will stick back on anyway.
9. CAN I USE WASHING POWDER TO CLEAN MY WETSUIT?
No! The chemicals in ordinary washing powder are to aggressive for your wetsuit. There are some mild soaps or soaps made especially for washing wetsuits that you can use. If you don’t have them – just use fresh water.
10. WASHING MY WETSUIT IN A WASHING MACHINE?
Duh. This one is like another no brainer. At least it should be after you’ve read all of the above tips. Washing machine means heat, abuse and washing powder. Three things that your wetsuit must avoid. So keep you mum, wife or girlfriend away from your dirty wetsuit. Clean it yourself. (if you set your washing machine to lowest heat possible, no spin cycle, no tumble dry, no washing powder then every once in a while you could wash it in a washing machine).
Omfg. You can only bleach it after you iron it :)! (this means never in case you are not paying attention)
12. LENDING YOUR WETSUIT
You might think this has something to do with personal hygiene but we will live that decision to you. The thing here is that if your buddy / girlfriend is not built in the same way you are (but bigger), they will stretch your wetsuit and it will never be as snug as it was (and as it should be). One session is ok, but a 14 day trip – not.
13. WHERE TO CHANGE IN AND OUT OF YOUR WETSUIT
When you are changing out of your wetsuit all sand and dirt from the beach seems to be attracted to it. It’s like it becomes magnetic. Also hard and/or rough surfaces can harm the neoprene. A few tips to help you out:
– if the beach has showers, do it under the shower
– if the beach has changing rooms, do it there
– find a flat and dirt free surface like grass, telephone booth, hotel carpet
– buy a folding wetsuit bag on which you can stand while you are undressing
– get a big plastic basked for all your wet stuff and undress in it etc…
14. RINGS, WATCHES, FINGERNAILS…
These can also damage the outer fabric in some wetsuits so be carefull.
Also not a good idea.
If you have any other wetsuit care / maintenance tips, leave them in the comments.