As with all scuba diving and snorkelling equipment your wetsuit needs to be looked after for it to continue performing at its optimum. Neglecting it can lead to the synthetic rubber material losing its elasticity, the neoprene becoming crushed, odours building up and zips binding. Taking just a few minutes to care for your suit will keep it in good condition and a pleasure to use.
Wash and Rinse Your Wetsuit
- Give your wetsuit a good rinse inside and out with fresh cold water after every use to flush out salt, sand and other debris. Don't rinse it in salty water as the crystals will start to degrade the performance of your zip and the elasticity of the neoprene. Similarly, hot water will also start to break down the neoprene, making it more brittle.
- Every now and then (or when your fellow divers can no longer stand the smell) give your wetsuit a good clean with wetsuit shampoo. Sweat, oils, algae and whatever else you leave in your wetsuit starts to develop an odour over time. Unlike detergents or washing up liquid, wetsuit shampoo has been specifically developed to be kind to the rubber in neoprene. The bathtub is the best option for this but any large container that will fit the entire suit in will do. Remember to use cold water, not hot.
Drying Your Wetsuit
- Your wetsuit needs to be absolutely dry before you put it away to stop mildew developing on the damp materials.
- Dry it inside out first then, once dried, turn it out the correct way to dry the outside. Alternatively use a Underwater Kinetics Hangair to dry the inside and outside at the same time.
- Use a wide wetsuit hanger whenever possible. The weight of the suit will cause the neoprene to deform around a thin hanger, crushing and creasing the material. Some people swear by folding the suit in half through a hanger and others by the shoulders. As long as the neoprene isn't folded or crushed then it doesn't really matter.
- Hang the suit somewhere out of direct sunlight to dry completely. Neoprene and the lining fabrics are easily damaged by UV rays so don't be tempted to get it dried quicker by sticking it in the sun.
Storing Your Wetsuit
- Before you put your suit away you should give it a visual once over to look for damage, seams that need attention and check the condition of your zip.
- Minor cuts in neoprene can be easily repaired with neoprene cement.
- Seams that have separated can also be fixed with neoprene cement, blindstitched and and sealed with tape if you have the skills.
- Stiff zips can be treated with beeswax or zip lubricant to free them up.
- Neoprene is prone to being crushed / creased if not stored correctly which will affect the thermal performance of the suit. Wetsuits should either be stored laid flat or hung on a wide hanger for extended storage periods and ideally kept somewhere with a reasonably consistent temperature. Avoid hot places where the high temperature can start to degrade the neoprene's elastic and thermal properties.