Wetsuits require regular cleaning due to where we use them. Whether you use them in freshwater or seawater, wetsuits are prone to getting dirty pretty quickly. As with other expensive items of clothing, keeping them clean is vital.
In this article, we’ll look at the best way to clean a wetsuit.
Can You Put Wetsuits in the Washing Machine?
It’s not recommended to put a wetsuit in the washing machine. Of course, it’s fine to get it wet, but the main issue is that the machine’s spin cycle could cause damage to the seams and zips.
Also, hot water can damage neoprene (a kind of rubber used in wetsuits) and reduce its lifespan.
This isn’t to say that you can’t (or shouldn’t) use a washing machine to clean your wetsuit, as many people do.
If you do put it in a washing machine, follow the following tips:
- Don’t use any laundry liquid
- Turn off the spin cycle
- Use cool water
Since this might be a bit tricky on some washing machines, you might find it easier to just hand-wash it.
What Is the Best Way to Wash a Wetsuit?
The best way to wash a wetsuit is by hand.
It doesn’t actually involve much washing—you only need to soak it in clean water to remove any dirt and grime.
If your wetsuit is a bit smelly, use some Coco Loco wetsuit shampoo, or a similar specialised product.
Avoid standard laundry liquids because they can affect the neoprene’s quality. Baby shampoo is a viable alternative if you don’t want to buy wetsuit shampoo.
Washing a wetsuit isn’t difficult. Here’s how to do it:
- Open all the zips and turn the wetsuit inside out.
- Soak it in lukewarm or cool water in a bath or large sink for an hour or so. If you’re using shampoo, wash it after leaving it to soak.
- Drain the water and then rinse it in clean lukewarm water.
- Hang it in a way that avoids stretching it and leave it to dry, ideally outside.
Wetsuit Washing Tips
Despite wetsuits being hardy bits of kit, they’re surprisingly delicate when it comes to washing them.
Make sure you follow these tips to keep your wetsuit going for as long as possible:
- Wash your wetsuit as soon as possible, ideally before it gets chance to dry. This will make removing salt and grime much easier.
- You shouldn’t need to use wetsuit shampoo every time you wash it. Mostly, you’re just rinsing off any grime from wearing it in the water.
- If you can only dry it inside, keep it away from radiators or other heat sources.
- When hanging to dry, it’s important to avoid stretching the wetsuit. Hang it over a door, chair, or shower curtain rail so it’s not pulled by its own weight.
- Don’t squeeze the wetsuit to remove water, as this can stretch it. You’ll need to leave it to drip dry.
Washing a wetsuit by hand luckily isn’t too difficult. It basically involves just soaking it. You don’t even need to scrub or squeeze it out!
Just make sure you wash and dry your wetsuit properly before storage to avoid mould or bad smells.
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.