Wetsuit care instructions: How to wash and clean your wetsuit?

November 14, 2022
After every session, you have to wash your wetsuit in order to get it fresh and ready for the next one. Apart from eliminating sand, salt, and odors, regular care will make your wetsuit last much longer. The good news is that washing your wetsuit isn’t that hard. In this blog article, we will tell you how to wash and care for your wetsuit, so you can enjoy it for longer and spend more time in the water!
Wetsuit care instructions: How to wash and clean your wetsuit?

How to take care of your wetsuit

Even though there are basic guidelines that apply to all wetsuits, washing instructions may vary per manufacturer or wetsuit type. Therefore, you should always carefully read the instructions on the label of your wetsuit. In general you should follow the following instructions:

1. Taking off

Avoid taking off your wetsuit while standing on gravel, grass or other rough surfaces. Instead, use the O’Neill Wetsuit Change Mat or lay down a towel to stand on.

2. Cleaning

Rinse your wetsuit in fresh, cold water and turn inside-out to dry in the shade lying flat. It is critical NOT to wash your wetsuit with hot water, dry it in the sunlight, or leave it in the boot of your car for long periods of time. Heat contact with neoprene affects the fabric’s flexibility and durability.

3. Drying

At home, hang your wetsuit on a wide plastic hanger (not wire) in a well-ventilated area; this will prevent deterioration and creases, do not fold.

How to clean your wetsuit

The best (and easiest) way to clean your wetsuit is to rinse it with cold or lukewarm water after each surf. Make sure to rinse it on both sides until all sand, salt and dirt are gone. You can either wash it in the shower or dunk it in a large bucket of water. This helps to keep the neoprene stretchy and the zippers running smoothly. After washing your wetsuit with cold water, hang it on a hanger to drip dry. Use a horizontal hanger and fold the suit in half over the waistline. Always keep the wetsuit out of direct sunlight to prevent UV and ozone damage.

Can I use soap or chemicals?

You should never use chemicals to clean your wetsuit, as they will damage the neoprene. A bit of natural soap, on the other hand, isn’t harmful and can help to keep your suit smelling fresh. Still, we recommend using a specific wetsuit shampoo or wetsuit cleaner. These products are specifically designed to extend the lifespan of your suit. Preferably, you should wash the suit with a specific cleaning product after every 3-5 sessions.

You should also avoid chemicals like chlorine. This means you shouldn’t use your wetsuit in the swimming pool or a wave pool with chlorine.

Can wetsuits go in the washing machine?

No. Wetsuits shouldn’t be washed in the washing machine. The washing machine damages the neoprene and the glued seams. So unless you prefer a deteriorated wetsuit full of holes, don’t risk putting your wetsuit in the washing machine.

Can wetsuits go in the dryer?

No. For the same reasons described above, you shouldn’t put your suit in the dryer. Apart from the tumbling, the heat of a dryer will damage and melt the neoprene material.

Do wetsuits shrink?

Yes, wetsuits do shrink. They don’t shrink because you put them in the washing machine or dryer (because you now know you shouldn’t) but because they deteriorate over time. The neoprene material is made up out of little cells that are filled with air. When the suit ages, the cells can collapse. This causes the suit to shrink and makes it less flexible.

Long-term storage of your wetsuit

If you aren’t going to use your wetsuit for a longer period of time, you can store it in your closet. Make sure the suit is completely dry on both sides and don’t fold it up. Instead of that, hang it on a wide-shouldered hanger to avoid overstretching, or hang it on a horizontal hanger folded at the waist.

Check out all of our wetsuits!

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