Wetsuit Care 101

Like any other garment, your wetsuit needs care and attention. Look after it and it'll do the same for you


Posted: 14 September 2010
by Michelle Arthurs

Your wetsuit increases buoyancy, helps keep you warm and can even make your swim that much easier, so the least you can do is look after it. If you do it can last for several seasons; if you don’t you may be back in the shop, having kicked yourself for not fixing that tiny tear when you first noticed it. The neoprene material most wetsuits are made of is temperamental, so it needs care and attention.

Washing

After every swim, hand-wash your suit in cold water as soon as you can. Hot water will affect its flexibility. Wetsuits are also not designed to work with chemicals so bleach and other household washing products are a no-no. Dry it inside out.
If you feel the need to rid your suit of whiffs, you can purchase wetsuit shampoo from most wetsuit retailers. Try not to pee in your wetsuit – the urine will damage the neoprene and leave a nasty stink. And please don’t wash it in the washing machine.

Storing

Your wetsuit won’t appreciate being roughly folded, heaped, stretched or dumped in a corner. To keep it in good shape, lay the wetsuit on a flat surface, or hang it on a padded hanger. Try to store your suit inside out when it isn’t being used, to keep the outside layer flexible. This will also protect it from sunlight, which neoprene does not appreciate.
Don’t store it in a plastic bag, because this is just the environment bacteria love. Bacteria means smells.

Lubricant

You can use a little beeswax or special wetsuit lube on the zip, to prevent it from snagging the material. Never, ever use petroleum jelly. Doing so will probably damage the material, and having caused the damage, you probably won’t get any sympathy and you certainly won’t be offered a refund from your friendly wetsuit retailer.

Putting it on

Limit the need for repairs by ensuring you don’t wear rings, watches or other pieces of jewellery that might snag and damage your wetsuit when pulling it on. Keeping your nails short is a good idea but if you’re in love with your talons, be careful.


Repair Your Wetsuit in Four Easy Steps


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Discuss this article

"Try not to pee in your wetsuit – the urine will damage the neoprene and leave a nasty stink."

I dont know anyone who doesnt !  


Posted: 16/06/2011 at 12:38

how can you not pee in it............the minute I get in the cold water i go to pee..............managed 9 more pees last sunday in the lake

mind this is its 4th season so not destroyed yet


Posted: 16/06/2011 at 12:41

My wetsuit is on its 7th season now - and its not rotted away !

I think this writer may not have done many long distance swims ?
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 12:46

I thought that was the reason we over hydrated before a swim, central heating. Tri swimming is so much better than surfing, no boots, where seepage seems to collect
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 12:47

It's all I can do to actually get into the water before wanting to go, it actually gets a bit dangerous in the expo the day before just picking up the scent of neoprene
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 12:49

LOL Symes !

Wasn't it Candy who peed in his wetsuit ? When he was on dry concrete - waiting to go onto the beach. And the stream trickled past dozens of disgusted triathletes.......
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 12:52

  I wait until i'm in the water
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 12:55


DTs
It's H on DTs' login. I've never, ever, ever peed in a wetsuit. It's beyond revolting to me - like peeing in your office chair because you're on the phone and can't hold it. When I was a diving instructor i wouldn't even do it then. You could always tell who did as they reeked all day. Yick. Oh, and as a trainee washing the wetsuits others had peed in was vile. Though not as bad as one a colleague dealt with after a guy got a bit scared of sharks in the water....
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 12:55

How the hell is urine going to affect neoprene. You can drink piss (not that I do by the way!!!) so I can't see it having an issue with rubber, even the smell would wash away within a couple of 100 meters.
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 13:19

OK - so now I've met someone who doesn't pee in her wetsuit...

I think the key to it is to not pee in it just before you get out. You need to flush it out.

Now peeing on the bike - that IS gross.
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 13:22

Chester Olly race brifeing on Sunday. I noticed what appeared to be beads of sweat breaking out on the left foot and ankle of a guy near me while we stood on the river bank. No sweat on his right foot and ankle.... and then it got worse and I realised that this sage, bearded, 40-45 yr old age grouper was listening intently, and wetting his pants as if nothing was happening. Cool!

Ditto your comment H. A friend of mine was a dive instructor and she could smell wee in a wetsuit from about 2 miles. She reckoned that she had never, ever done such a revolting deed and unleashed hell on any of us she judged had leaked. Not me of course


Posted: 16/06/2011 at 13:26

H - I'm with you! I'm always a bit when I see someone selling or giving away their wetsuit - who on EARTH would buy a secondhand one?!
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 13:31

peeing's fine in my books

dumping in one is another matter altogether......and some of you know that story and who I'm talking about.....
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 13:37

LOL !!! I know ! I know !
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 13:40

if it hadn't been pissing down with rain that day to wash any residual evidence off during the bike, then you wouldn't have known.......he should have kept his mouth shut - I just wish I had as it turned out I was swimming not far behind him...........
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 13:54

If it wasn't the norm, they wouldn't make this:

http://store.magicseaweed.com/Rip-Curl-Piss-Off/Item/13817/
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 14:08

Yeah I had NO desire to hire a wetsuit when i thought about getting one, as I ssumed previous owners would have pee'd in it....

M.Tri, loving that link!!! Hehehehe


Posted: 16/06/2011 at 14:13

and it was FB who was peeing before Vitruvian that one year .... the amount of holes in his wetsuit kind of gave it away
Looked like he was weeing through a colander  
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 14:26

just wash it out afterwards no problem..........otherwise everytime you buy something second hand or borrow a set of pirate kit you never know......................and even if you buy new.............the person making it could have just been to the toilet for a pee or something else and not washed his hands before making your stuff................

Its only a piece of piss................stop worrying about it........when ever you sit on a piece of grass you never know who has just peed there


Posted: 16/06/2011 at 14:30

I don't know the dump story.........
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 15:16

seren nos wrote (see)

.....when ever you sit on a piece of grass you never know who has just peed there


yes we do it was you Seren


Posted: 16/06/2011 at 15:21

I shall never sit on the grass again.

It's not so much the pee per se, Seren - it's STALE pee. And it's in rather larger quantities than just 'not washing hands'.
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 15:23

Anyone that recommends not peeing in a wetsuit has never swum in Scotland in June. It is a matter of survival not hygiene!
Posted: 16/06/2011 at 19:58

seren nos wrote (see
)

just wash it out afterwards no problem..........otherwise everytime you buy something second hand or borrow a set of pirate kit you never know......................and even if you buy new.............the person making it could have just been to the toilet for a pee or something else and not washed his hands before making your stuff................

Its only a piece of piss................stop worrying about it........when ever you sit on a piece of grass you never know who has just peed there


totally agree


Posted: 16/06/2011 at 20:40

Just adding my thing.... pee in a healthy individual is a pretty sterile liquid... nearly everyone pees in the wetsuit....

Now, adding to the fray.... a little thought.... so you really think drafting those people in the swim is such a good idea now? That pee has to wash off and go out at some point...


Posted: 16/06/2011 at 20:53

Can't be any worse than my local pool in the school holidays. Lots of suspicious warm patches
Posted: 17/06/2011 at 07:17

after drying wetsuit outside I left it behind one of the chairs..............this morning my son sat there and told me my wetsuit stank.........I was embarressed until I picked it up and realised it didn't smell of wee or pond water........I had cleaned it well enough............he meant that rubber smell from the fabric........so I guess he won't get into any bondage fetish


Posted: 17/06/2011 at 07:56

It's ridiculous to be grossed out about the thought of buying a secondhand westsuit. Is it also necessary to buy a brand new toilet when you move house? Things can be cleaned. 


Posted: 24/04/2013 at 05:39


PSC

so true EC.  But we have people at work who won't use a mug that came out of a dishwasher in case someone else in the office drank from it?  WTF...  how do these people cope in pubs/restaurants/real life?


Posted: 24/04/2013 at 06:22

Perhaps they eat in posh restaurants, where they polish the silver cutlery and crystal glasses by breathing on them until it condenses, then wiping down.

Anyway, what's the problem with second hand wetsuits?

Hey, you should see the puddle patch 20m behind the start line in Pen 1 at London marathon! Talk about a localised area of dampness.


Posted: 24/04/2013 at 08:32

This reminds me. A girl in work has invited us to "wear our wetsuits in work" soon as she's doing a triathlon and wants to raise sponsorship.

No way am I wearing mine. I'm conditioned to wee in it for warmth. Which is fine in a lake. Less fine in an office. (even less fine trying a new one on in a shop)
Posted: 24/04/2013 at 08:44

Unfortunately I have a problem with my wetsuit, its so tight that on the beech at the start for IM Wales I was so desperate for a pee that I went in the wetsuit and it didn't trickle out the legs it just stayed round my middle adding ballast.

 


Posted: 24/04/2013 at 08:58

I do it. (sorry SA!)   Have to say there are an awful lot of "warm spots" at Boundary Park!


Posted: 24/04/2013 at 09:02

What is strange is when you have to trump/fart/ pass wind in a wettie, it travels up your back and comes out by your neck

 


Posted: 24/04/2013 at 19:36

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