Protect Your Investment: How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Wetsuit
Whether you’re an avid surfer or just enjoy spending time in the water, a wetsuit is an essential piece of gear that keeps you warm and protected. However, over time, dirt, salt, and other contaminants can build up on your wetsuit, not only compromising its performance but also shortening its lifespan. That’s why it’s crucial to properly clean and maintain your wetsuit to keep it in top condition. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps of cleaning and caring for your wetsuit to ensure it stays in great shape for seasons to come.
1. Rinse it off after each use
After every surfing session or water activity, take a few minutes to rinse off your wetsuit. You can do this by standing under a shower or using a hose. Cold, fresh water is ideal as it helps remove salt, sand, and other debris. Gently shake the suit while rinsing to dislodge any stubborn dirt particles. Remember, this step is essential in preventing the accumulation of damaging substances.
2. Use a wetsuit cleaner
To thoroughly clean your wetsuit, use a specialized wetsuit cleaner. Regular detergents can be harsh and strip away the suit’s natural oils and elasticity. Wetsuit cleaners are designed to remove oils, salt, bacteria, and other contaminants without compromising the neoprene. Follow the instructions on the cleaner’s packaging, mixing it with water as needed. Soak your wetsuit in the solution for the recommended time, usually around 20-30 minutes.
3. Remove odor-causing bacteria
If you notice your wetsuit has developed an unpleasant odor, it’s likely due to the presence of bacteria. To eliminate this odor, add a cup of white vinegar to the wetsuit cleaner solution. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that effectively kills bacteria while being gentle on the neoprene. Allow the wetsuit to soak in the vinegar-infused solution for an additional 10 minutes before proceeding with the cleaning process.
4. Hand wash with a soft brush
After the soaking period, it’s time to hand wash your wetsuit. Using a soft brush or sponge, gently scrub the entire surface of the suit, paying extra attention to high-wear areas like the knees and elbows. Avoid using excessive force to prevent damaging the neoprene. Thoroughly rinse the suit with fresh water to remove all traces of the cleaner and any remaining dirt.
5. Dry your wetsuit out of direct sunlight
After cleaning, it’s crucial to properly dry your wetsuit. Hang it in a cool, well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can be detrimental to the neoprene, causing it to deteriorate prematurely. Avoid using heated surfaces or dryers as excessive heat can also damage the fabric. Make sure to turn the wetsuit inside out to ensure both sides are thoroughly air-dried.
6. Store it correctly
Proper storage is key to extending the life of your wetsuit. Once completely dry, fold it neatly, avoiding any sharp creases or folds. It’s best to store your wetsuit in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Hanging it on a wide suit hanger is also a good option, preventing unnecessary stretching and creasing. Avoid storing your wetsuit in a plastic bag or sealed container, as the lack of airflow can lead to mold or mildew growth.
Remember, regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to prolonging the life of your wetsuit. By following these steps, you can ensure an optimal performance and functionality every time you hit the waves. So, take some time to care for your investment, and it will reward you with countless unforgettable water adventures.