You have invested your hard earned money into a wetsuit and you hope it will keep you warm for years to come. But what type of wetsuit care will be required to make sure your wetsuit lasts? Fortunately for you, we have created a how to maintenance guide, along with reviews of the best wetsuit shampoos, deodorizers and wetsuit care products on the market today, to ensure your suit will keep you comfortable and last for as long as possible.
How to put on a wetsuit
To use your wetsuit, first you have to put it on. There are actions that can damage your wetsuit as you don it. First, make sure the ground is clean and free of debris. A wetsuit changing mat can ensure a clean, safe surface. Soiling or tearing your wetsuit on the ground would be a terrible start to a fun water day. Second, use your fingertips not your fingernails. Nails can create small cuts in the neoprene, which can turn into larger ones. Third, remove watches or jewelry that can catch on your wetsuit as you put it on. Fourth, enlist a buddy to help with zipping up your suit, this will lessen the stress on your zipper and ensure the zipper does not snag the neoprene of the wetsuit. Finally, throughout the doning process avoid yanking on your wetsuit, use smooth, controlled motions to lessen the stress on the seams of your wetsuit.
How to take off a wetsuit
Before removing your wetsuit, you again need to make sure you have clean ground or a changing mat to begin disrobing. First, fully unzip your suit. Second, use your thumb to gently remove from each shoulder. Third, softly pull the sleeves of the suit to your elbows, one at a time, then pull each sleeve down to the wrist and fully out of the sleeve, leaving the wetsuit sleeves inside out. Fourth, roll the suit down your torso, then pull it over your hips, down your legs in a smooth motion and roll the suit over your calves to your ankles. Finally, place your fingers inside your wetsuit that is still around your ankle and slowly slip each foot out of the wetsuit legs, without standing on the suit.
Ho Stevie! Durable Wetsuit Changing Mat / Waterproof Dry-Bag
A great wetsuit accessory is the Ho Stevie! Durable Wetsuit Changing Mat / Waterproof Dry-Bag. It keeps sand, oil and debris from destroying your wetsuit while donning and doffing. The changing mat also doubles as a fantastic waterproof dry-bag. After changing out of your suit, simply cinch up the bag using drawstrings, to keep the wetsuit and all the water in the bag instead of your car for the drive home. The durable and simple design also enables it to serve as a bucket at home, simply throw it under your wetsuit when you hang it up to dry. The Ho Stevie! Durable Wetsuit Changing Mat / Waterproof Dry-Bag will collect any dripping water and keep your floors dry.
- PROTECT YOUR WETSUIT: Wetsuits are expensive, and they deteriorate much faster when rubbed with dirt and debris. Changing on this mat prevents your suit from getting dirty, thus extending its life.
- PROTECT YOUR CAR: After you change out of your wet wetsuit, tighten the drawstring on the mat, and it turns into a dry bag! No more wet, smelly car.
- Pairs perfectly with our Changing Poncho (as seen in main image)
- PORTABLE, DURABLE, and EASY TO USE. Fabricated with lightweight yet strong waterproof material, the mat measures 29 inches across when laid out flat. Storage bag included for when mat is not being used.
- 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: As with all of our products, if you are not completely satisfied for ANY reason, simply return it within 30 days for a full refund.
How to wash
Your wetsuit is exposed to harsh elements every time you wear it, while enjoying your favorite water sport in warm comfort. These harsh elements can speed up the wear and tear on your wetsuit, which is why a proper washing after every use is so important. Start with soaking the wetsuit in cold or lukewarm freshwater with a wetsuit shampoo for around 30 minutes. While soaking, scrub the wetsuit with a soft brush or toothbrush, focus on zippers and velcro areas, and ensure the zipper track area is free of dirt and debri with a smooth, full travel. Next rinse the wetsuit inside and out with freshwater, confirming that all shampoo has been removed. Finally, after the wetsuit is fully rinsed, inspect the wetsuit for any tears to the neoprene or rips to the seams before hanging to dry. Not all wetsuit shampoos are created equal, which is why we only recommend the best wetsuit shampoos on the market today, Jaws Slosh Wetsuit Shampoo and McNett Wetsuit & Drysuit Shampoo.
Jaws Slosh Wetsuit Shampoo
Jaws Slosh Wetsuit Shampoo is a eco friendly, biodegradable wetsuit shampoo that is also hypoallergenic. Slosh removes chlorine, salt and odors from wetsuits, and can be used on all water sports wear. Start with 1 to 2 ounces of shampoo per 5 gallons of cold or lukewarm water in a bathtub or wash bin. Place wetsuit in soapy water and allow to soak for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash by hand in a kneading motion, rinse thoroughly with freshwater and dry. For spot washing, using full concentrate and scrub area with brush, then rinse and dry. Fun fact: Jaws Slosh Wetsuit Shampoo is so universal that is also safe to use on your hair and body, a true 2 in 1 hypoallergenic wetsuit shampoo!
- Naturally green formula
- Works on all water sports wear
- Contains NO harmful chemicals
- Fresh scent & hypo-allergenic
- Special conditioning agents
McNett Wetsuit & Drysuit Shampoo
McNett Wetsuit and Drysuit Shampoo is another effective wetsuit shampoo. The shampoo removes organic residue, bacteria, chlorine and salt that can shorten the life of a wetsuit’s neoprene. Poor ½ ounce of McNett Wetsuit and Drysuit Shampoo for every 1 gallon of water into a bathtub or wash bin and allow wetsuit to soak for a few minutes while massaging the suit by hand. Rinse wetsuit with freshwater until all soap residue is removed and hang to dry. Your wetsuit will smell fresh and will be protected from premature aging and oxidation.
- Quality field tested to help you in during your outdoor situations
- Easy to use and transport
- Built for the most extreme situations
- Wetsuit cleaner and conditioner for watersports gear; works fast to remove algae, bacteria, chlorine, and salt
- Neoprene gear smells fresher, stays supple and lasts longer
How to dry
Properly drying your wetsuit is a important step to ensuring the lifespan of your wetsuit. A wetsuit should never be dried in a dryer, in the sun, or folded up and stored while wet. The dryer will stress the seams as it tumbles and the sun will dry out the neoprene. Folding up the wetsuit and storing while still wet will grow mold and fungus in the suit. The best, and really only, option to make a wetsuit last is to hang dry the suit. Using two steps to dry your suit is ideal. Step one, hang the suit so the outside dries first, step two, turn the wetsuit inside out and allow the inside of the wetsuit to dry. Continue this process until the suit is fully dry and ready for storage. Try to avoid thin hangers and definitely avoid wire hangers to dry your wetsuit. Thin hangers can stretch the neoprene in the shoulders, creasing the wetsuit, and wire hangers can leave rust spots on the neoprene. We highly recommend the Storm Scuba Diving and Surfing Wetsuit Hanger for hanging your wetsuit to dry and for hanging storage.
Storm Scuba Diving and Surfing Wetsuit Hanger
Storm Scuba Diving and Surfing Wetsuit Hanger is the ideal wetsuit care accessory to protect your expensive wetsuit. Made from a solid one piece, durable resin construction, the Storm Scuba Diving and Surfing Wetsuit Hanger is very thick and can hold up to a 20 pound load. You can be confident that your heavy wetsuit or drysuit can be hung to dry properly, preventing damage from the floor or ground.
- Solid one piece construction
- Durable plastic resin will not corrode
- Supports up to 20 pounds
How to keep your wetsuit smelling fresh
If you own a wetsuit, you know how it can take on that special smell that no one wants to experience. The wetsuit material, neoprene, is designed to hold water and air in, which is why it is so effective in keeping you warm. This sealing of air and moisture also retains sweat, urine and all kinds of bacteria, making for an awful aroma. Fortunately, there are wetsuit deodorizers on the market that are specifically designed to make your wetsuit smell great again. The best wetsuit deodorizers we have found are Sink The Stink and McNett Mirazyme Odor Eliminator. Either of these deodorizers will clear up the most offensive wetsuit stench!
Sink The Stink
Sink The Stink is a quick and easy way to deodorize your wetsuit. Simply add half an ounce of Sink The Stink to 10 to 20 gallons of water (about a half full bathtub) and mix thoroughly. Then immerse the wetsuit in the water and solution, make sure the suit is completely saturated and let soak for 5 to 10 minutes, while agitating the wetsuit occasionally. Most odors will disappear immediately. Really tough odors may need an overnight soaking. When finished soaking, hang the wetsuit to dry, do not rinse again in freshwater, let the biological odor reducing activity continue to work until the suit is dry. If you are traveling, you can even pack your wetsuit while still damp or wet and it will arrive odor free!
- Brand: Sink The Stink
- Sink the Stink is a natural, environmentally friendly, state of the art product, specifically formulated for the diving, surfing and water sports community.
- Sink the Stink biologically eliminates the odors commonly found in neoprene wet suits, BCDs and dive skins, including urine, mildew and other gnarly smells that can knock the Oakleys right off your face.
McNett Mirazyme Odor Eliminator
Mirazyme Odor Eliminator is a powerful blend of natural enzymes and microbes used to remove odours caused by mold, mildew and bacteria. To use, mix half a ounce of Mirazyme with 20 gallons of water in a bathtub or large container and fully mix the solution. Unzip all zippers on wetsuit and fully submerge it in the solutions, ensuring saturation inside and out. Allow suit to soak for 5 minutes, then remove from solution and let dry. Do not rinse with water, allow Mirazyme to continue to deodorize as it dries.
- Powerful, all natural formula effectively eliminates odor causing bacteria from mildew, mold, pets and perspiration
- Concentrated, water-activated enzymes penetrates fabric pores to remove odor; treat multiple garments with just half an ounce in 20 gallons of water
- Gentle solution for use on outerwear, tents, athletic clothes, shoes, pet items and more; safe to use on neoprene, nylon, polyester, and GORE-TEX fabrics
- Safe to use in all washing machines; can be used as a spray or soak for hard to wash gear; use within 72 hours of adding water
- Packaging may vary; available in 10 oz pouch, 2 oz bottle, and 12 oz bottle (previously Mirazyme)
When is it time to replace your wetsuit
People often think a wetsuit is in usable condition if it does not have large rips or gaping holes, but there is more to deciding if a wetsuit will still provide effective protection from the elements. First, the smell, the enzyme cleaners are incredibly effective, but there does come a time when the cleaners can no longer work miracles. Next, insulation, neoprene is made from rubber with impregnated tiny air bubbles, which, over time, get compressed and collapse the air bubbles. This reduces the insulating capabilities of the neoprene turning a 5mm wetsuit into a 2 mm wetsuit. Finally, the neoprene is stiff, this is the signal that the wetsuit is starting to breakdown and will soon begin to pull apart and tear. A wetsuit in good working condition, not only keeps you warm, it also protects your skin from coral, rocks, and marine life that bites or stings, so make sure your wetsuit can still get the job done.
The amount of care you put into your wetsuit, and the cleaners and accessories you use, will determine how long your wetsuit will last. Care starts with how you put on your wetsuit, how you take it off, how you wash it, how you dry it and ends with proper hanging. Jaws Slosh Wetsuit Shampoo and McNett Wetsuit & Drysuit Shampoo are the best shampoo products at keeping your wetsuit bacteria, chlorine and salt free. Sink The Stink and McNett Mirazyme Odor Eliminator are the finest wetsuit deodorizers for keeping your wetsuit smelling fresh. The Ho Stevie! Durable Wetsuit Changing Mat / Waterproof Dry-Bag is ideal for keeping your wetsuit off the ground and protected from rocks, oil and sharp objects that can slice your wetsuit as you don and doff. And Storm Scuba Diving and Surfing Wetsuit Hanger will dry your suit properly after washing, so your suit will be great condition for your next water sport adventure.