How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Wetsuit for Durability and Comfort
Whether you’re an avid surfer or scuba diver, your wetsuit is one of your most important pieces of equipment. Not only does it keep you warm in cold water, but it also protects you from the sun and abrasions. However, dirty and smelly wetsuits can be uncomfortable and even lead to infections. Proper cleaning and maintenance are crucial for the longevity of your wetsuit, so let’s dive into the best practices for keeping it in top shape.
First and foremost, it’s essential to understand the materials your wetsuit is made of. Most wetsuits are made of neoprene, a synthetic rubber that’s highly durable and flexible. Neoprene can withstand the harsh elements of saltwater, UV rays, and temperature changes. However, it’s important to note that neoprene is susceptible to damage from oils, solvents, and excessive heat. Therefore, you should avoid using any harsh chemicals or hot water while cleaning your wetsuit.
The first step in cleaning your wetsuit is to rinse it with freshwater after every use. Saltwater and sand can cause wear and tear on the neoprene material and lead to odour buildup. Rinse your wetsuit inside and out, paying close attention to the seams and zippers. Using a hose or showerhead with low pressure is ideal since high pressure can force sand or debris further into the wetsuit.
Once you’ve rinsed your wetsuit, it’s time to deep clean it with wetsuit shampoo. Wetsuit shampoo is specially formulated to remove dirt, grime, and odours from neoprene without damaging the material. The key is to use a small amount of shampoo and avoid scrubbing aggressively. Gently rub the shampoo into the neoprene with your hands and let it soak for a few minutes before rinsing it off with freshwater.
After washing your wetsuit, it’s important to dry it properly. Always hang your wetsuit on a hanger or drying rack in a shaded and well-ventilated area. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or heat sources, as this can cause the neoprene to break down over time. It’s also crucial to make sure your wetsuit is completely dry before storing it. Excess moisture can lead to mould and mildew growth, which can be harmful to your health and your wetsuit’s durability.
In addition to regular cleaning, proper maintenance can help extend the life of your wetsuit. One of the most important things you can do is to avoid rough surfaces that can snag or tear the neoprene. This means avoiding rocks, coral, and sharp objects while in the water. It’s also important to avoid wearing tight clothing or jewellery that can rub against the wetsuit and cause damage.
Lastly, if you notice any tears or holes in your wetsuit, it’s best to repair them as soon as possible. Neoprene repair kits are widely available and easy to use. Repairing small tears can prevent them from getting larger and potentially rendering the wetsuit unusable. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and allow ample time for the repair to dry before using your wetsuit again.
In conclusion, your wetsuit is a valuable investment that requires proper care and maintenance. Regular cleaning with wetsuit shampoo, proper drying, and avoiding harsh chemicals and hot water are essential practices. You should also avoid rough surfaces, jewellery, and tight clothing that can damage the neoprene material. By following these tips, you can ensure your wetsuit remains comfortable, odour-free, and durable for years to come.