How to wash a wetsuit

After a fun day of water sports it’s important to get your wetsuit clean and dry. Find out how to wash a wetsuit with our handy guide on cleaning neoprene.

Updated

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Key Steps

  • Want to know how to wash a wetsuit? This isn’t a tough task, but it’s important to avoid some common mistakes like forgetting to rinse it immediately and using harsh chemicals.
  • Get yourself a specialist wetsuit cleaner or a gentle detergent suitable to be used as a wetsuit wash.
  • Washing neoprene is an important way to preserve the fabric long-term, so be sure to know how to clean neoprene before you start.

Water sports are big these days. Many of us are into sailing, surfing, jet-skiing and the like. And if you’re going out on the water, you’ll be wanting a good quality wetsuit to keep you warm. If you’re shelling out for a wetsuit it’s important to keep it in good condition. One of the most important ways to do that is knowing how to wash a wetsuit and how to get it dry. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts on how to clean a wetsuit, answering important questions like how to clean neoprene and what kind of wetsuit cleaner to use.

It’s important to know how to wash a wetsuit. Make sure to rinse it out as soon as you finish using it. If you’re opting for normal washing liquid then try a gentle detergent like Surf.

Do . . .

  • . . . Make sure to rinse out your wetsuit with clean (i.e. non-salt) water as soon as you’ve finished using it. Lots of people find it convenient to simply wear it into the shower.
  • . . . Clean the wetsuit with a specialist wetsuit wash product or use a gentle detergent like Comfort or Persil. Read our guide to hand washing clothes for more detail.
  • . . . Drip dry the wetsuit by hanging it up somewhere cool and dark. Once you have the answer to ‘how do you wash a wetsuit’ it’s important to know how to dry it too!
  • . . . Also, be sure to dry the suit inside out. This will protect the outer surface from too much exposure. It also means the inside will dry first, which is handy for when you next want to wear it.
  • . . . Lubricate the zip on your wetsuit every few wears, especially if you’re using it in the sea. Salt residue can build up inside the zip, preventing it from working. Chlorine also has the potential to cause damage to your wetsuit.

Don’t . . .

  • . . . Wash your wetsuit in hot water. People sometimes question, ‘can you wash a wetsuit in hot water or in a washing machine’, but this should be avoided as washing neoprene at hot temperatures can reduce flexibility.
  • . . . Use harsh detergents, bleach or other strong chemicals as these can cause damage. Try wetsuit wash i.e. a specialist wetsuit cleaner or a gentler laundry liquid.
  • . . . Try washing neoprene with any other garments – wetsuits need space of their own.
  • . . . Scrunch up your wetsuit or put it away before it’s completely dry.
  • . . . Use a wire hanger. These are far too harsh and could tear into the fragile material. Instead, invest in a padded hanger. You can get specially designed wetsuit hangers from some water sports gear manufacturers.
  • . . . Iron your wetsuit. The heat is much too high for neoprene fibres and could cause serious damage.

Those are the basic dos and don’ts of getting your wetsuit clean and dry ready for your next sporting adventure. While sea salt, UV rays and chlorine can all take their toll on this special fabric, with a bit of care, you’ll be able to preserve it for much longer.

Originally published