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There’s nothing better than a dip in the water. The endless expanse of sea, the feel of the waves carrying you to someplace you have never been before – but you are so sure you want to go.
Exploring water gives us an insight into a world that we don’t see in the everyday hustle of life.
However, to do this exploration, you need a wetsuit to remain warm and afloat. This wetsuit is great when you are in the water.
But when you get back on land and are left with a sopping mess of neoprene, there will always be a pang of regret. It is already going to be absorbing every drop of sweat, salt, and bacteria it came into contact with.
Luckily, we have a no-nonsense way of cleaning your wetsuit so it will stay fresh and bacteria-free for your next adventure! Read on to find the best way to clean a wetsuit.
Table of Contents
What Are Wetsuits Used For?
As the name suggests, wetsuits are used for watersports – particularly surfing and paddleboarding.
They are particularly important when you are in deeper waters because you run a higher risk of drowning in oceans and other large water areas.
The wetsuit will give you buoyancy, which means that it will lift you slightly out of the water if you are struggling to swim. They also help to keep your body warm(er) in extremely cold water temperatures.
What Are Wetsuits Made Out Of?
Wetsuits are made of thick layers of neoprene, which is a waterproof material that has been used as a substitute for rubber.
It is incredibly useful for water environments because its manmade nature means that it can resist degradation and damage much more easily than rubber and other natural materials.
How Should You Clean A Wetsuit?
What You Will Need
- A tub of cold/lukewarm water
- Wetsuit cleaner – We recommend O’Neill Wetsuit Cleaner or Gear Aid Revivex
If you don’t wish to purchase a specific wetsuit cleaner, you can always make yourself a cleaner from everyday household items.
For this, you can mix distilled white vinegar with essential oils. The vinegar will kill off all of the dirt and bacteria, and the essential oils will make it smell amazing afterward!
The first thing to do once you’ve got out of the water is dunking it in some water – salt-free water. You will need to rise it immediately to get some of the salt and loose dirt off the neoprene. For this, you could simply wear it in the shower!
However, this should be in cold water. Hot water will encourage the wetsuit fibers to degrade prematurely, and it won’t last as long.
Next, you will want to mix your wetsuit cleaner into your tub of cold water. Follow the directions for how much of the cleaner to mix in,
as you don’t want to accidentally put in too small an amount and leave some of the bacteria on the suit! You also don’t want to put too much cleaner in and damage your suit.
Now you will need to turn your suit inside out. To do this, you simply have to unzip all of the zippers and make sure all of the inside layers are facing outwards.
This is necessary because the inside of the suit is what harbors all of the sweat, salt, and bacteria – it should get the deepest clean!
Scrub your suit in the cold water. Avoid using any harsh scrubbing materials, like brushes or wire scrubbers. These will damage the neoprene and will make the suit less effective the next time you use it.
The best way of scrubbing the suit is by rubbing the neoprene together with your hands. You can also try rubbing it against the palm of your hand as well, but this could end up creating too much friction on your skin after a while!
To make sure all of the suit is clean after its scrub, you will need to leave it in the cleaning solution for around 15 minutes.
Rinse the suit! Again, make sure to avoid all hot water. This should be rinsed in cold or lukewarm water only, and you should keep a steady stream of water running through the suit until all of the soapy water is gone.
All that is left to do is dry your suit. Don’t be tempted to pop it in a tumble dryer – the heat will cause the neoprene to shrink up to half its size.
The best method of drying a wetsuit is to hang it up on a heavy-duty coat hanger. It should be left in a place with a lot of cool circulation. Don’t place it in the sun, as again this heat will destroy the suit.
Leave the suit unzipped while it is drying.
After it has fully dried, leave it hung up on the hanger to make sure it remains fresh. If it is folded, it could become stale with the lack of air circulation.
What Not To Do When Washing Wetsuits
Avoid Everything Hot
It will damage the neoprene and cause the wetsuit to shrink.
Get Yourself A Rotation Of Wetsuits
If you use multiple wetsuits and alternate them each time, they will each last much longer. If you wash them every week, or even more frequently, they will lose their strength and protection incredibly quickly.
Don’t Be Tempted To Dry It In The Sun
It might seem natural to leave your wetsuit in the sun, especially if you have been in the water on a hot day. However, if it isn’t placed on a hanger it will quickly lose its tight shape, and the sun will damage the neoprene.
To Sum Up
To wash a wetsuit, you will need to rinse it in cold water. Then you should soak it in a wetsuit cleaner, mixed with more cold water.
Once it has been left for 15 minutes, rinse it off with fresh, salt-free water and hang it up on a clothing hanger to completely dry.
Leave it on this hanger until you use it again so that it can fully air out! The main thing to avoid when cleaning your wetsuit is any form of heat.
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