Wetsuit Care – 13 DO’s And DONT’s To Make Your Wetsuit Live Longer

Wetsuit drying in the sun
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Some wetsuit care can make you wetsuit last longer and can be the difference between one season or a good couple of years of use, of course depending on how frequently you use your wetsuit. So take good care of it and it will keep you warm. Here are the do and don’t of the wetsuit care.


Putting a wetsuit to good use…


In really hot water neoprene looses some of its flexibility, so if you like to change in your shower after a cold water session take your wetsuit off first, then soak yourself in warmth.


Do not leave your wetsuit on the sun! Sun is the neoprene’s worst enemy. Dry your wetsuit in the shadow if you can. UV rays cause the neoprene to age much quicker, it gets hard and looses its flexibility. If you dry it in the sun at least put it away as soon as it is dry. Even more, I think it is better to store your wetsuit in the dark place if you are not using it for a longer time.


Do not leave you wettie in the trunk of your car in a parking lot on a hot day. Cooking wetsuits is only for when you are really hungry:).


Dry your wetsuit inside out. So you will keep the flexibility of the outer side and if the wetsuit is not completely dry when you are putting it on – you will still crawl into a drier side.


Store your wetsuit on flat surface or wide coat hanger. Why a wide hanger? A narrow one can make permanent indents into wetsuit shoulders. Actually, I think the best way to hang it is over the waist like in the photo. Anyway – do not mesh it into a small drawer all wrinkled. It says so in the wetsuit instructions for a reason.


Best way to hang it. Hanger could be a bit wider though.


Do not leave you wet wetsuit to rot inside a bag, box wherever… all messy and sandy. Clean it and dry it. Regular care ads quite some time to the wetsuit lifespan. Here you can find a few tips on how to rinse and dry your wetsuit.


Surf wax sticks to neoprene, get over it! There is no elegant way to put it off and it will rub on quickly again anyway.


A wet wetsuit full of sand and mud is a riot to put on (not really). So when taking it off, stand on grass, on a rock, pavement, telephone booth, wetsuit changing mat, hotel carpet… just not in the middle of the sandy beach (or wash it out in the sea after you change).


You do not wash you wetsuit in the washing machine and dry it in a dryer! So keep you mum, wife or girlfriend away from your dirty wetsuit. Clean it yourself. OK, if you are a surf school and have a ton of wetsuits that different people use daily then from time to time it’s ok to wash them in a washing machine. You don’t expect a 600$ wetsuit when you go too surf school but if it’s clean and it doesn’t smell you feel better right away.


It is not very wise to iron your wetsuit. Duh! Just by the look of it you can assume that rubbery stuff is not the place to put your hot iron. But still, this is the standard warning in the wetsuit instructions.


You should never use bleach or strong washing powder on your wetsuit. But there are some mild washing powders made especially for washing your wetsuits.

Piss Off


Does your wetsuit stink so much that your neighbours knock on your door to check if someone died? Did your wetsuit became your cats favourite place to look for fish? There are a few reasons for the smelliness. Basic reason is our sweat and body oils that our skin produces. These are breeding ground for the bacteria which are in fact the thing that smells bad in a wetsuit. You can of course make your wettie extra stinky if you are lazy – you leave your wet wetsuit in a bag for a while and you did not wash it right away. The other reason for odor is your urine. Try not to pee (as much) in it, because pee also deteriorates the neoprene and leaves a funky smell. Then there is dirty and stinky water, algae etc… Fortunately there is a solution to wetsuit odor.

How To Get Rid Of Wetsuit Smell

There are special soaps for washing your wetsuit and removing the stink. One of the brands for instance is called PISS OFF (made by Rip Curl). Then recently I came across another easier way of getting rid of the smell. Once every couple weeks, throw your wetsuit in a tub of fresh warm water (not hot) with a couple of caps of dishwashing detergent. Wash it and the detergent will break down the body oils and wash away the bacteria that leads to smelliness. Rinse your wetsuit in fresh water so you get all the detergent off, then dry your wetsuit in the fresh air. Try to repeat this every few weeks (of course depending on how much you use it) and your wetsuit will be odor free.

Also – check this article dedicated to fighting the stink.


Never lend your wetsuit to your friend if he is heavier than you, your wettie will stretch and soon it will be to big for you.

What to say in the end? After all the sport is what really matters, don’t let worrying about your equipment get in the way of your enjoyment:)

PS: Also check WMS for more tips.

If you find these tips helpful please share them on FB/Twitter. Thanks!


  • w says:

    I’ve got one more :)
    14. never lend your wetsuit to your friend if he is heavier than you, your own wettie will soon be to big for you >:(

  • QQ个性签名 says:

    good article

  • darrin says:

    I use this to hang and dry my suit – best I’ve ever found…. you can move and hang it anywhere


  • swa says:

    Which is the best way to take all the water of the wetsuit??

  • swa says:

    and how to take away the wrinkles from it??

  • jantz says:

    I want to wash my suit. its a really nice 4/3 oneal. i rince it in fresh water everytime but it starting to smell. are you sure dish soap is ok for my 240$ wetsuit?

  • Damir says:

    Everything in one place. Thank you very much.

  • A says:

    There is a liquid detergent from Oneill special for wetsuits.

  • Angela says:

    I have two small holes in my wet suit, will this slow me down during my swim?

  • Felipe says:

    I found this wetsuit hanger that works! I take care of my wetsuits and usually don’t hang them. Now with this hanger =no problem.

  • bill says:

    my overweight mate split my suit

  • Adrianna says:

    Check out this product called Pau Pilau, It’s amazing! It is made to clean Neoprene especially, couple other things too, but its all natural which is super cool and the bacillus it is made of is what kills the bad small urine or what ever it may be making your suite smell its great! a lot of shops in cali sell it and they have a website too google it.

  • Alan says:

    One of the biggest problems with trying to dry the whole family’s suits inside is the amount of water they retain which drips everywhere and they don’t all fit in the shower. Will it do any harm to put them in the washing machine spin cycle before hanging them up??? I can’t see why it would as there is no heat or detergent. Any ideas?

  • Su says:

    I actually have put my Oneill Psycho in the washing machine on gentle without soap for about seven years now, and just last week bought a new wetsuit. Didn’t seem to hurt it at all, never had a bad smell and dry time was faster from spin cycle.

  • Devon says:

    Great tips!! Try this wetsuit hanger it’s the best I’ve found. It was Recomended to me buy Patagonia and O’neil. You hang your wetsuit from the waist.

  • Susana says:

    My question might be strange… but what I would really like was to find a way the suit becames smaller (like it happens with some of our clothes) or at least a way it doesn’t get larger. The thing is that I’ve lost way with so mmuch surf, and now the suit is big.
    I’m still nor sure if I’m happy or sad about this ahaha

  • 3g says:

    Susana :)) sorry, there is no way to make a wetsuit smaller, now you have an excuse to get a new one. Be happy :).

  • kellbellzer says:

    How do you clean/disinfect a wetsuit after it has been exposed to ring worm???

    • K says:

      Ring worm? Hm…I don’t know, that’s a fungal infection right? I wouldn’t suggest high heat because it will ruin the neoprene. Possible ordinary shampoos and detergents will get rid of it, if they work on regular clothes. I’ve also heard things like coconut or and vinegar can help. Bleach would of course also help, but it’s again not the best for neoprene.

      • Jase Rad says:

        Apple Cider Vinegar. Use a 50/50 solution with warm water. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes and allow to air dry. Best to test out a small section first to insure it is not discoloring any of the fabric or damaging the neoprene. This is also an amazingly cheap way to rid yourself of Athlete’s Foot in one treatment (same 50/50 but use as hot a water as you can stand and soak your feet for 15 minutes).

  • SurfRandy says:

    Thank you, great info, really helpful!

  • Chanel says:

    Ӊey guys-whatdo you think off wettsuit “Shampoo” have ѕeen it foor
    some surf companies ԝewttys for tthе obvious reasons-some
    peeople claim it can actaսlly damage ʏour ѡetty
    or is this horse poop?

  • Pmjojo2000 says:

    So can I just wash it in the bathtub with just cold water and nothing else?

  • Pmjojo2000 says:

    So could I water down regular shampoo?

    • Water says:

      No, you’ll water down everything you put in water together with your wetsuit :) A mild shampoo is a baby shampoo or something. You can also use a few drops of dish washing detergent instead.

  • Pmjojo2000 says:

    Ok thanks

  • Joe says:

    I understand not to leave a wet wetsuit in a car trunk in the hot sun. What about on a cool day (wouldn’t need a wet suit on a hot day) when the car is in a parking garage, i.e., no sun and less heat? I want to use the suit in the early morning, rinse it off inside and out, then go to work and hang it out to dry in the evening. In the car, I would loosely fold the suit in a large bucket. I can even open the back windows an inch for a _little_ ventilation.

    Will mold be a problem under such conditions?

  • Carmen Böhler says:

    Or JUST let Blawesome do the work for you! The Startup developed Blawesome – the wetsuit dryer – on Kickstarter which is able to deodorize and disinfect your wetsuit and therefore extend your wetsuit lifespan! They opened a contest and if you subscribe you may get yours free: http://www.thewetsuitdryer.com/#StayTuned

  • Jonathan says:

    Just a comment really. I’m a bit of a skinflint. I’m getting on at over 50 now and wakeboard and swim in the sea and do some coasteering (I don’t surf). I’m dreadful at looking after my wetsuits, the last ones I bought were 5 years ago in the USA in a cheap store called joblot! like TK Maxx but a lot cheaper and nastier. A brand I’d never heard of. They cost me $20 each (at the time about £14). I bought 2 a large and a x-large. I wear the x-large over the large at the same time. Both 2mm. I use them about 15 times a year in the cold waters of south Devon, mainly sept to november and i’ve done that for the last 5 years. I can genuinely say I don’t even feel the cold when i enter the water with both on. So i’m not convinced that necessarily spending £100s for a ‘good quality wetsuit’, I guess unless you are a top class athlete is worth it. I generally will swim about a mile and i find the 2 suits don’t limit my movement. When the waters are warmer I just wear the large or obviously in summer I don’t use the wetsuits at all. I’m 5’9 and weigh 11 stone 10, so no too fat. They are both still amazingly in good condition, don’t smell and I store them when not in use in a big overhaul bag in our conservatory (wife loves that as I’m sure you can imagine). My only care is when I leave Devon I hose them down with fresh water and hang them of the line to dry out and if not fully dry before we leave I dry them by hanging them out in our conservatory when I get home until they are and then back into the bag and that is it. One more point, if you swim in the cold water a neoprene cap is essential, gets rid of that head freeze. Picked one up from ebay for £10, nearly as much as the wet suits but was worth it. Have fun, i do. You can’t beat finding an isolated bit of beach in Devon, having had a good swim, wrapped in my fleeced changing poncho on a sunny day in October. – joy.

    • K says:

      Thank for the input Jonathan. It would be interesting if you could test a top of the line wetsuit and tell if it makes a difference :)

  • Anna says:

    Thank you for a useful list, however this sentence really does feel so out of date in 2017, I would suggest you just remove it as it kinda stinks (“You do not wash you wetsuit in the washing machine and dry it in a dryer!) >>>> So keep you mum, wife or girlfriend away from your dirty wetsuit.<<<<<<"

  • Lenchopatasplanas says:

    The comment has no gender perspective as it underlines only women performing care work (washer/dryer). Thats why is outta 2017

    • K says:

      Actually the point of the sentence is that there are way less women surfers as there are man and only surfers usually know that you are not supposed to wash your wetsuit in a washing machine.

  • Iain Line says:

    I’ve been invited to take part in a charity gunge event in my wetsuit. I’ve taken part in them before but only in regular clothes and I know that proper gunge (the BBC stuff) really needs a spin through the washing machine to get it out of clothing. Would washing the wetsuit on a delicate wash inside a duvet case and on a very light spin cause too much damage if done as a one-off, or is there a better way to get rid of any heavy soiling?

  • Serena says:

    “You do not wash you wetsuit in the washing machine and dry it in a dryer! So keep you mum, wife or girlfriend away from your dirty wetsuit.”

    Yeah, that line is totally sexist, whether you mean it as a joke or not. Take it out.

  • Ruben says:

    Use a fan to decrease hang drying time.

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