So, you’ve bought a new wetsuit and want to know how to make your investment last. How can I keep it clean? What do I do with it after a session? How can I make sure it doesn’t get holes? Let’s explore those questions below: -
How do you keep your wetsuit like new?
Rinse it with freshwater after every session
Do NOT dry it in the sun
Hang it correctly
Repair small holes quickly
Skipped Step 1 or 2? Use Wetsuit Cleaner & Conditioner to bring your suit back to life!
After long nights of research and trying on multiple suits that make you feel like you just wiggled into a straight jacket, you’ve finally found it: your perfect wetsuit. You invested the money and you’re ready to go out and face the cold waters of whatever break is closest to you. Before you paddle out, here are 3 essential things you can do to make sure you take care of your newly minted wetsuit.
1) Rinse your wetsuit with freshwater - every session...
We know. Sometimes it’s a hassle. Maybe you’re exhausted from shredding for hours on end and you’ve got the post surf munchies. All you want to do is get back in the warm and forget about your wetsuit. Or maybe you’ve been at the beach all day and took your suit off hours ago and have been chilling all day - the idea of having to unload the car is daunting enough, let alone rinsing your suit after all that’s taken care of.
We’ve all been there, but if you want to make your wetsuit last, it takes just one extra minute or two to give it a quick rinse and keep it from turning into a stinky pile of itchy rubber (especially if you p**s in your suit, which let’s be honest, most of us do).
At the very least, just give your suit a quick rinse with fresh water when you get home. Your surf session just puts your new neoprene investment through a saltwater and sand enema, the least you can do is wash it off.
Saltwater is extremely corrosive, so if you skip this step not only will the saltwater wear your suit thinner much quicker, but it will also make the suit feel stiff, stale, and overall, just much less comfortable to wear. Plus, this will cause your suit to tear much easier.
I like to bring my wetsuit in the shower with me after my session for a daily rinsing. I try to wash out both the interior and exterior with warm water.
ECS top tip: clean the sand off your feet before you take off your suit at the beach, this ensures your shower drain doesn’t get clogged with sand if you’re a regular surfer. A changing mat will also protect your suit from getting scuffed or torn.
2) Don’t dry it in the Sun...
We can’t say it enough: do NOT hang the suit in direct sunlight to dry. Find a shady place, or my go-to, hang it on a c-monsta wetsuit hanger in the shower.
Sun will hurt your wetsuit just as bad, if not worse than leaving it salty. Be advised, if you have a suit with a thermal lining (the orangish-pink lining which feels like a bunch of Smurfs hugging you with cotton towels), you can kiss the comfort goodbye if you leave the wetsuit in the sun - that soft uniform lining will shrivel up a create a bunch of little balls that don’t feel the same and don’t dry nearly as quick. Seriously, it’s not worth it.
3) Hang it correctly...
Wherever you put your suit to dry, don’t hang your suit by the shoulders on a hanger. This will stretch out the suit permanently as the retained water weight pulls the suit down towards the ground.
The unique, ventilated design of c-monsta hangers means that you can hang all your gear together in one place, helping it dry faster and last longer.
The oversized mouth will fit almost any wetsuit and prevents those damaging neoprene creases. Ventilated spaces for both boots and gloves helps them dry faster and precisely crafted curves keep dripping water away from your wetsuit. You can even thread the hook and strap through a hood!
The oversized hook is attached to a strong, adjustable strap allowing you to adjust your c-monsta to fit anywhere you need to dry your gear - out the back of your campervan, over a bath or shower or in your garage, away from damaging UV sunlight.
By drying your gear faster, it will last longer, save you money and keep more wetsuits out of landfill.
4) Repair holes as quickly as possible...
Holes are inevitable. If you’re surfing and ripping as hard as we hope, your wetsuit will get pushed to its limits, and holes and tears are just a symptom of great surfing over a long time.
That being said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it's very important to cure any problems as quickly as possible.
Once you notice your wetsuit getting tears or holes, use some wetsuit repair to patch up any small holes before they get any bigger. Waiting too long can lead to that hole growing larger, so try to fix up your wetsuit as soon as you notice any signs of damage. If you have time to let your wetsuit property dry, patching up any holes in your wetsuit is a relatively simple and painless process.
If the hole is really bad, say from a fin cutting your suit (ouch!), you’ll have to make a more “surgical” repair. While it's best to use a professional wetsuit repair person for this, (the guys at Bodyline Wetsuits are the best in the industry), we’ve included some DIY instructions that we’ve got from various surfers and have implemented ourselves with some moderate success.
Note: Attempt this next part at your own peril, as it won’t look that professional, but if you’re tight on cash and don’t have any other options, it is at least a functional repair most of the time.
You’ll need the wetsuit repair, a sewing needle, and dental floss. (Note: normal cotton thread will not work, the salt water will make it disintegrate and break quicker than you’d think). Thread the needle with the floss, and then sew the cut tight just as you would repair a tear in your favourite clothing. When you’re done sewing the cut shut, sew over the end of the floss a few times and tie it off, Lastly, apply the adhesive over the entire sewing area to seal it in and give the repair extra strength.
Skipped a few of these and your suit is starting to smell?
Specially formulated wetsuit cleaner and conditioner will get the stink off your suit and boots. It will also make a more than decent attempt at making it feel as soft and flexible as it was when you first bought it (this conditioning part is really nice for older suits that are starting to feel crispy, the difference is comfort is quite noticeable).
To clean your suit, all you need to do is mix the cleaner as directed with water in a large container or wetsuit bucket, put wetsuit in the bucket & washn by hand for a few minutes, then let soak for 30 minutes and rinse thoroughly when done and let dry away from direct sunlight, and voila, just like that, your wetsuit should have the sweet, sweet smell of freshly washed neoprene (with a hint of citrus). Here’s a quick video, from the guys at West Path to walk you through the simple process of washing your suit.
All of our wetsuit cleaners are all-natural, and 100% biodegradable and environmentally safe so it won’t hurt your buddies downstream.
As long as you follow those simple guidelines, taking care of your wetsuit should be a breeze and you’ll be able to make your investment stretch on for a good bit of time. We hope you learned a bit more about how to take care of your new wetsuit so you can stay stoked for longer in the water for longer.