How to wash a wetsuit

Written by jasmine haryana
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Divers, swimmers and surfers use wetsuits to keep their skin warm and dry while submerged in cold water. Proper, regular cleaning of a wetsuit is essential to avoid interference with the suit's wicking and insulating abilities. With a few easy steps, wearers can remove salt, debris and dirt from the neoprene fabric to preserve the integrity of their wetsuits.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Bathtub
  • Baby shampoo
  • Wetsuit cleaner
  • Wooden coat hanger
  • Fine-mesh bathtub drain strainer

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  1. 1

    Place a fine-mesh bathtub drain strainer (available at most chemists) in the bathtub drain. Remove the drain plug and position the strainer on top of the drain opening.

  2. 2

    Fill the bathtub with lukewarm water.

  3. 3

    Add two capfuls of baby shampoo to the water.

  4. 4

    Add one capful of wetsuit cleaner to the water.

  5. 5

    Submerge the wetsuit completely in the bath water.

  6. 6

    Allow the wetsuit to soak in the bathwater for two to three minutes.

  7. 7

    Move the wetsuit sideways in the water, using your hands to slough off any sand or salt.

  8. 8

    Dunk the wetsuit several times, moving it vertically in the water.

  9. 9

    Turn the wetsuit inside out and dunk it in the water while clearing debris away with your hands.

  10. 10

    Drain the bathtub, allowing the fine-mesh drain strainer to collect loose particles of sand and sea salt.

  11. 11

    Run lukewarm water in the bath to rinse the wetsuit.

  12. 12

    Remove the wetsuit from the bathwater and shake off excess water from the suit.

  13. 13

    Slip the wooden coat hanger into the top of the wetsuit and hang it to air-dry for two to eight hours, until the suit is dry to the touch.

  14. 14

    Empty the drain strainer into the garbage after the bathtub has drained.

Tips and warnings

  • Neoprene gloves and bootees can also be cleaned with this method.
  • Hang wetsuits to dry indoors or in the shade to avoid damage from sunlight.
  • The air-drying process varies greatly depending on the size and thickness of the wetsuit.
  • Never place a wetsuit in an automatic clothes dryer.
  • Never dry a wetsuit on an electric or gas radiator.

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