There is nothing fun about a stinky wetsuit, so knowing how to wash a wetsuit is a basic, yet important, skill for every surfer. Wetsuit materials are not like other garments, so you can't wash a wetsuit the same way you would wash normal clothing.
To wash a wetsuit you will need:
- Fresh water
- A cool, dry place
- No chemicals. Do not, under any circumstances, use chemical cleaners to wash a wetsuit. Chemicals such as soap, bleach, and detergent can equal death for a wetsuit. If you must use a cleaning product, seek out a specialized cleaner designed specifically for neoprene wetsuits.
- No machines. Do not use the washer or dryer to wash a wetsuit. Both machines will damage, if not destroy, a wetsuit.
- Rinse with fresh water. The easiest way to wash a wetsuit is to wear it in the shower after each session. Run some cool water over the suit and keep it away from any soap. Removing salt and urine (everyone knows you pee in your suit) is the best way to keep suits clean.
- Soak it in the tub. A more thorough way to wash a wetsuit is to fill a tub with cool water and soak the wetsuit for an hour. Soaking a suit will dissolve all the salt and chemical build-up in a suit. This type of thorough clean should be done periodically throughout the year to help the wetsuit retain flexibility and warmth.
- Drip dry. After you wash a wetsuit it is best to let the suit drip-dry in a cool, dry, shaded place. Again, do not use a machine dryer, as this will melt the rubber. It is also best to avoid direct sunlight, as UV rays can cause the neoprene to dry rot, and loose flexibility faster.