The techniques on maintaining the lifespan of your wetsuit are pretty simple and straightforward.
Although the washing may take the stink away and make it look as new, after a while, the wear and tear of paddling in a wetsuit can catch up, and you may be left with a suit that needs some repairs.
However, that’s nothing to worry about as many shops today offer warranties for repairs done quickly, and efficiently that will restore your wetsuit and make it as good as new. And we will talk about those warranties a bit later on, for now, let’s stick to the question of how to wash a wetsuit, shall we?
How to take care of your wetsuit
The cleaning of the wetsuit should be done after each paddling or surfing session. Especially if you are using it in salty water. If you don’t wash it regularly, then the water erodes in time and causes the material to break or loosen up on certain spots.
How to wash a wetsuit: Rinse and Wash
Immediately after your paddling session, it is important to wash your suit out thoroughly so that all water residue is out.
How to wash a wetsuit: Wash your wetsuit with cold or lukewarm water. Do not wash with hot water! It tends to dry out the neoprene in time, making the wetsuit less and less flexible.
I’ve had the problem with washing the wetsuit thoroughly since it is too big for my sink and not having a bathtub does not help either. So, I’ve found that spray–cleaning my wetsuit in the backyard with a hose after each session is super easy and practical.
You can also put it in the shower and wash it like that. I’ve found that way to be mess-free too.
Whatever you do, just don’t make it a habit of leaving salt water dry on your wetsuit each time. This is very hard on the suit, and it ages the neoprene taking away all its functional properties.
Wetsuit shampoos aren’t meant to be used every time but merely from time to time. If your wetsuit develops a stink more often, then washing it with shampoo helps prevent this. But even if it doesn’t, I suggest you wash it once in a while just to take all the residue and bacteria away.
To wash your wetsuit with a shampoo, first, you need to buy a special shampoo designed for its specific materials. Then fill in a bucket of water with the shampoo, turn your wetsuit inside out and soak it for 7-10 minutes, turn it on its right side and soak again. Then, rinse with fresh water thoroughly to take all the shampoo away, and you are good to go.
Now I hope it is clear for you how to wash a wetsuit, let us continue with the drying part.
The Drying Process
When it comes to the drying, firstly, you should prepare it thoroughly for it. Turn your wetsuit inside-out and get yourself a wetsuit-specific hanger that won’t leave any marks that the wetsuit was hanged. A regular hook, on the other hand, will stretch out the shoulders of a wetsuit, especially when drying out while it’s still heavy when wet.
While drying, don’t ever leave your suit in the sun. The direct contact with the sun will age and fade the neoprene of your suit. Do you see how almost all these tips include the utmost care for the neoprene? That’s because it is an integral part of the wetsuit to be well preserved, so it lasts you longer.
Firstly, dry the interior of the suit, and then once that is dry, turn in back on the outside and dry the exterior too.
Proper Storage of Your Wetsuit
Now that we have gone through how to wash a wetsuit, the hanging, and the proper drying, I have a few more essential storage tips to keep in mind.
Namely, the storage can either extend the lifespan of your wetsuit or damage it. If you just leave it somewhere where temperatures vary between hot during the day and cold at night, you aren’t doing your neoprene suit a favor.
You should leave your suit somewhere where it gets constant air and where the temperature is consistent as well.
The Handling of Your Wetsuit
While you can read more on how to correctly put on and take off your wetsuit before and after each use in my other article, I thought since we are already talking about care and maintenance, I might as well tell you this one significant bit. You should never take off your wetsuit by using your fingernails or pulling too hard.
Your suit is made of rubber that might not tell the difference immediately, but it can get damaged in time by mishandling it. This goes especially for smoother areas like the chest, which are commonly covered in soft skin material.
You also need to remember that by pulling too hard, you are putting unnecessary stress on the internal seams that are there to protect you from the water.
A little extra when it comes to taking care of your wetsuit. While you have to be the one taking good care of your suit, you can rest assured that some brands sell suits with a warranty.
While the duration of each company’s warranty is different, you will find that most of the brands offer at least 6 months to 1 year after you buy the suit.
What is great about buying with warranties is that if your suit has any damages caused by the workmanship or any defect in material, it will either be repaired or replaced at no additional cost.
However, if you damage your wetsuit outside of the warranty period, you can still take it for a repair at a reasonable cost. I have found that repairs usually take from 2 to 3 weeks, depending on how busy the repairman is.
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