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.
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.
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.
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