Expert Tips on How to Clean a Wetsuit Properly

Did you know a wetsuit can develop up to 14 times more bacteria than a toilet seat? It’s true! With every dive, your wetsuit becomes a breeding ground for salt, sand, and microbes that can impact its performance and durability. That’s why proper cleaning is crucial to maintain its longevity and ensure peak performance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Regularly cleaning your wetsuit is essential to remove salt, sand, and bacteria.
  • Proper preparation, hand washing, or machine washing are effective methods to clean your wetsuit.
  • Drying and storing your wetsuit correctly will help maintain its shape and prevent odor.
  • Additional care tips like avoiding direct sunlight and repairing small tears can extend the life of your wetsuit.

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Wetsuit Regularly

Regularly cleaning your wetsuit is essential to maintain its performance, lifespan, and overall functionality. By removing salt, sand, and bacteria that can accumulate over time, you ensure that your wetsuit remains in optimal condition for your next thrilling water adventure.

A clean wetsuit enhances your comfort and improves your movement in the water. The accumulation of salt and sand not only causes discomfort but can also restrict the flexibility and elasticity of the neoprene material. By cleaning your wetsuit regularly, you can maintain its ability to stretch and bend, allowing you to move freely and perform at your best.

Keeping your wetsuit clean also helps prevent the growth of bacteria. The warm, damp environment created inside a wetsuit is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant odors and even skin irritations. Cleaning your wetsuit regularly eliminates these potential health hazards and ensures a more hygienic and enjoyable water experience.

In addition to performance and hygiene benefits, regular cleaning also prolongs the lifespan of your wetsuit. Salt, sand, and bacteria can gradually break down the neoprene material over time, leading to tears, cracks, and deterioration. By cleaning your wetsuit after each use, you remove these contaminants and prevent unnecessary damage, extending the life of your investment.

Overall, cleaning your wetsuit regularly is a simple yet crucial step in its maintenance. Not only does it enhance your comfort, performance, and hygiene, but it also helps preserve the integrity and longevity of your wetsuit. Make it a habit to clean your wetsuit after every use, and you’ll be rewarded with clean and durable gear that will accompany you on many unforgettable water adventures.

Preparing Your Wetsuit for Cleaning

Before you begin the cleaning process, preparing your wetsuit properly is essential. Following these steps will help maintain the performance and longevity of your gear.

Rinsing Your Wetsuit

The first step in preparing your wetsuit for cleaning is to rinse it thoroughly. Start by filling a tub or sink with cool, clean water. Gently agitate the wetsuit while submerged to remove any loose salt, sand, or debris. Take extra care to rinse the inside of the wetsuit as well, ensuring a thorough clean.

Inspecting for Damages

After rinsing, carefully inspect your wetsuit for any damages. Look for tears, punctures, or worn-out areas that may need repair. This step is crucial to catch any issues before they worsen during cleaning. If you notice any damages, it’s best to repair them before proceeding with cleaning.

Pro Tip: To help pinpoint small damages, gently stretch the neoprene material while inspecting it for any signs of wear or tear.

Wetsuit Preparation Checklist:

  • Rinse your wetsuit with cool, clean water to remove salt, sand, and debris.
  • Thoroughly inspect your wetsuit for any damages, such as tears or punctures.
  • Repair any damages before proceeding with the cleaning process.

By properly preparing your wetsuit for cleaning, you’ll ensure it’s ready to undergo the next steps without any issues. This essential step sets the foundation for a successful cleaning process and helps maintain your wetsuit’s overall quality.

Hand Washing Your Wetsuit

When it comes to cleaning your wetsuit, hand washing is the preferred method to ensure its longevity and performance. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can effectively clean your wetsuit without causing any damage.

  1. Fill a tub or sink with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it can weaken the neoprene material.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent designed explicitly for neoprene products. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can degrade the wetsuit.
  3. Gently agitate the water to create a soapy solution.
  4. Immerse your wetsuit in the water and ensure it is fully submerged.
  5. Using your hands, gently scrub the wetsuit, paying extra attention to areas with dirt or stains. Avoid excessive rubbing or wringing, as it can damage the fabric.
  6. After thoroughly cleaning the wetsuit, drain the soapy water and rinse it with clean lukewarm water until all traces of detergent are gone.
  7. Squeeze out the excess water from the wetsuit, but avoid twisting or wringing it, as this can stress the seams.
  8. Hang the wetsuit in a shaded area to dry. Avoid direct sunlight as it can fade the colors and weaken the material.
  9. Ensure that the wetsuit is fully dry before storing it to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your wetsuit clean and well-maintained, ensuring its performance and extending its lifespan. Hand washing your wetsuit allows you to remove dirt, salt, and bacteria without damaging the delicate neoprene material.

Machine Washing Your Wetsuit

If hand washing your wetsuit is not feasible, a washing machine can be used as an alternative method for cleaning. However, it is essential to follow the proper techniques and settings to avoid damaging the neoprene material of your wetsuit.

Step-by-Step Guide for Machine Washing:

  1. Turn your wetsuit inside out before placing it in the washing machine. This will help protect the neoprene surface from any potential abrasions caused by the machine’s agitation.
  2. Use a mild detergent designed explicitly for wetsuits. Avoid using any harsh or abrasive detergents that may degrade the neoprene.
  3. Select a gentle cycle with cold or lukewarm water. High temperatures can cause the neoprene to lose its elasticity and shape.
  4. Ensure that the washing machine is not overloaded. Overloading the machine can lead to poor cleaning results and increased wear on the wetsuit.
  5. After the wash cycle is complete, remove the wetsuit promptly to prevent any wrinkles or creases from setting in.

Avoid using excessive amounts of detergent as it can be difficult to rinse thoroughly, leading to potential skin irritations. Once the machine washing process is finished, rinse your wetsuit thoroughly with clean water to remove any traces of detergent.

Pro Tip: It is recommended to place your wetsuit in a mesh laundry bag before tossing it into the washing machine. This will provide an extra layer of protection, reducing the risk of snags or tears during the wash cycle.

Machine washing your wetsuit can be convenient when you are short on time or dealing with a heavily soiled suit. However, it should not replace regular hand washing, which is gentler and prolongs the lifespan of your wetsuit. Reserve machine washing for occasional deep cleaning and always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to ensure the best results.

Drying and Storing Your Wetsuit

Properly drying and storing your wetsuit is crucial for maintaining its shape and preventing odor. After a great day in the water, take the time to give your wetsuit the care it deserves. Follow these valuable tips on how to dry and store your wetsuit correctly, ensuring its longevity.

Drying Your Wetsuit

When it comes to drying your wetsuit, avoid direct sunlight or a clothes dryer, as these can damage the neoprene material. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse your wetsuit thoroughly with fresh water to remove salt, sand, or debris.
  2. Gently squeeze out the excess water from the suit.
  3. Lay the wetsuit flat on a clean towel or hang it on a padded hanger in a shaded area.
  4. Allow the wetsuit to air dry completely before storing it.

Remember to turn the wetsuit inside out halfway through the drying process to ensure thorough drying of both sides. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria and foul odors.

Storing Your Wetsuit

Proper storage is essential to keep your wetsuit in good condition when it’s not in use. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Store your wetsuit in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  2. Avoid folding the wetsuit for prolonged periods, as it can cause creases and damage the neoprene.
  3. Consider using a wetsuit hanger or a wide shoulder hanger to support the suit’s shape.
  4. If hanging the wetsuit, ensure it is not stretched too tightly, which can distort its shape.
  5. Keep your wetsuit away from sharp objects, pets, and excessive heat sources.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your wetsuit retains its flexibility and extends its lifespan. Proper drying and storage will not only help maintain the performance of your wetsuit but also save you money in the long run.

Do’s and Don’ts for Drying and Storing Your Wetsuit
Dry your wetsuit in the shadeExpose your wetsuit to direct sunlight
Air dry the wetsuit completelyUse a clothes dryer to speed up the drying process
Turn the wetsuit inside out for thorough dryingStore the wetsuit while damp or wet
Store the wetsuit in a cool, dry placeStore the wetsuit in a damp or humid environment
Use a wetsuit hanger or wide shoulder hangerHang the wetsuit on a regular clothes hanger with thin shoulders

Additional Tips for Wetsuit Care

While regular cleaning is crucial for maintaining your wetsuit’s performance, a few additional care tips can help extend its lifespan. Here are some helpful suggestions:

  1. Avoid direct sunlight: prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can weaken the neoprene material of your wetsuit. Store your wetsuit in a cool, shaded area to protect it from harmful sunlight.
  2. Repair minor tears promptly: small or punctures in your wetsuit can worsen over time and affect its functionality. Keep a wetsuit repair kit handy and patch up any tears as soon as you notice them to prevent further damage.
  3. Use wetsuit cleaners and conditioners: specialized wetsuit cleaners and conditioners are available in the market and can help maintain the flexibility, elasticity, and overall condition of your wetsuit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products.
  4. Store your wetsuit properly: after cleaning and drying your wetsuit, it’s important to store it correctly to avoid creasing and maintain its shape. Hang your wetsuit on a wide hanger in a cool, well-ventilated area. Avoid folding or crushing it, as this can lead to permanent creases and damage to the material.

By following these additional care tips, you can ensure that your wetsuit remains in top condition and provides you with optimal performance and comfort every time you use it.


In conclusion, by following these expert tips on how to clean a wetsuit properly, you can keep your gear in top condition and extend its lifespan. Regular cleaning is essential to remove salt, sand, and bacteria that can accumulate and affect the performance of your wetsuit. Whether you choose to hand wash or machine wash, using mild detergent and lukewarm water is crucial to avoid damaging the neoprene material.

Remember to always correctly prepare your wetsuit before cleaning by rinsing it and inspecting it for any damages. After cleaning, make sure to dry your wetsuit thoroughly and store it properly away from direct sunlight. Additionally, consider using wetsuit cleaners and conditioners for added protection.

By maintaining the cleanliness and proper care of your wetsuit, you can confidently enjoy your next adventure, knowing that your gear is clean, well-maintained, and ready to perform at its best!


How often should I clean my wetsuit?

It is recommended to clean your wetsuit after every use to remove salt, sand, and bacteria that can accumulate over time.

Can I use bleach to clean my wetsuit?

No, using bleach can damage the neoprene material of your wetsuit. It is best to stick to mild detergents formulated explicitly for wetsuit cleaning.

Can I wash my wetsuit in a washing machine?

While it is possible to wash your wetsuit in a washing machine, it is generally recommended that you hand wash it to avoid damage. If using a machine, use a gentle cycle and cold water.

How should I store my wetsuit?

Store your wetsuit in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Hang it or lay it flat to maintain its shape and avoid creases.

Can I repair small tears in my wetsuit?

Small tears can be repaired using wetsuit repair patches or neoprene adhesive. Follow the instructions carefully for proper repair.

Should I rinse my wetsuit after each use?

Yes, rinsing your wetsuit with fresh water after each use helps remove salt and sand, preventing odor and prolonging its lifespan.

Can I use a hairdryer to dry my wetsuit?

It is not recommended to dry your wetsuit using a hairdryer or any direct heat source, as this can damage the neoprene material. Instead, hang it in a shaded area or use a wetsuit hanger.

Do I need to use a wetsuit cleaner and conditioner?

Using a wetsuit cleaner and conditioner periodically can help maintain the neoprene’s flexibility and extend the life of your wetsuit.

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