How to look after your wetsuit
Look after your wetsuit properly and it will give you years of use. So go get that salt water and sand out now.
Had a great time in the water ? OK, so RIGHT NOW do the most important thing you can do to care for your wetsuit and keep your wetsuit in good order. Go wash and rinse it out right now fresh water. YES RIGHT NOW. Leaving your wetsuit to dry out in salt water will slowly destroy it. If salt and sand 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 to take care of your wetsuit is rinse off the suit in your garden with a hose or wash it out in the shower when you have finished showering. No shower ? no problem just submerge it in the bath. No bath ? go buy a dry bag and dunk it inside that to wash it. Just giving it a simple wash in fresh water will make your wetsuit last so much longer and help keep the neoprene in good order. Give your wetsuit the care it deserves.
Now your need to hang your wetsuit up to dry. Use a nice wide wooden or plastic hanger and not a narrow wire or skinny plastic one. That will deform the neoprene of your suit under its own weight so get it right and use a WIDE HANGER.To care for your wetsuit properly 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 glue used on the seams. Turn your wetsuit inside out and hang it to dry both ways. Make sure it’s 100% dry before you pack it away and when your suit is thoroughly dry inside and out make sure you store it laid out flat or hanging on that nice wide hanger. Never leave your suit multi-folded for any length of time if at all possible if you want to care for your wetsuit correctly.
Let’s dispel another wetsuit myth. Don’t pee in your wetsuit to stay warm! The acid in urine will slowly rot and destroy your suit and that is not proper wetsuit care! Even when in the sea the urine may get into the seams and will wreck your wetsuit in time.
To take 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. Try and get the proper suit shampoo. IF you can’t you could use a mild baby type shampoo. Rinse it out properly when it’s had a good soap and soak. To care for your wetsuit zip properly use 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 it with care. It might be too small so don’t force you way in and damage it. Don’t try on a suit when you are hot and sticky as you will struggle as the neoprene will stick to your skin. Use thin socks and gloves or plastic bags to aid getting hands and feet in should you need. A wetsuit 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.
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