How to look after your wetsuit
Look after your wetsuit properly and it will give you years of use !
Had a great time in the water ? Then if you do nothing else now the most important thing you can do to keep your wetsuit in good order is to rinse it out with fresh water RIGHT NOW! Leaving your suit to dry out in salt water will slowly destroy it. If salt dries in your suit zip it will make it stick and if you pull it hard you may well break your zip. All you need do NOW is rinse off the suit in your garden with a hose or wash it out in the shower when you have finished showering. Just a simple wash in fresh water will make your wetsuit last so much longer and help keep the neoprene in good order.
When hang your suit up to dry try to use a nice wide wooden or plastic hanger, not a narrow one that will deform the neoprene of your suit under its own weight. Leave it to dry in the shade and never in direct sunlight. UV rays from the sun with cause the neoprene to fade, dry and possibly crack. UV light can even weaken bonding used on the seams. When your suit is thoroughly dry inside and out if possible store it laid out flat or hanging on that nice wide hanger. Never leave your suit folded for any length of time if at all possible.
Let’s dispel another wetsuit myth. You really don’t want to pee in your wetsuit to stay warm! The acid in urine will slowly rot and destroy you suit, even when in the sea the urine may get into the seams and will wreck your wetsuit in time.
Long term care of your wetsuit is no big problem. Once or twice a year we recommend you washing and soaking your suit with proper wetsuit shampoo with neoprene conditioner. It will really help to keep the neoprene and stitching in good condition and last longer. If you can’t get the proper suit shampoo you could use a mild baby type shampoo. Make sure you rinse it out properly when it’s had a good soap and soak. We would also recommend you a zip lube, like McNett zip max wax, every few months. The zip can be a weakest part of a wetsuit and with modern suits it might not be possible to get a zip easily repaired if you break it. You need to take good care of it and lubing it up now and again can make last many years longer.
ALSO – WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW WETSUIT :
First time you try on a wetsuit please do so with care. It might be too small and you don’t want to force you way in and damage it!! A suit should be a good snug fit, too loose and it will fill with water and won’t work, but it shouldn’t be so tight you can’t breathe or move about. A new wetsuit may well give a little once worn in the water a few times as it may have been compressed in storage. When you put on your wetsuit be careful that you are not wearing jewelry that might snag and tear the suit. Be careful pulling up the legs as your feet go in and as you pull the suit over your thighs and hips as that is a common point where you can rip a suit. Don’t pull at the neoprene with sharp finger nails, you may tear or puncture the wetsuit. Once the suit is over your shoulders try and ask someone else to pull up the zip if you have a back zip wetsuit. Don’t use excessive force on a zip as it may be snagged on an anti flush panel. Always pull a zip straight up by the leash. You may have trouble getting in, but once you are in the suit should be snug and you should be able to move freely. Take your time and don’t rush. If it’s a warm day you may get hot and sticky and feel worn out after trying on a few new suits.