How To Clean and Maintain Your Scuba Diving WetsuitSimon Vetterli
Lingering saltwater, sand, silt and other unsavory liquids can wear down on your wetsuit or get it stinky in a hurry. To keep your wetsuit in tip-top shape and have it last as long as you can fit, it’s important to properly prep and clean it before and after each dive. Here are a few tips from our Gear Editor on keeping your scuba diving wetsuits in great shape.
WETSUIT CARE — BEFORE YOU DIVE
• CHECK ALL ZIPPERS to make sure they slide freely. If there’s any corrosion, SCRUB the zipper WITH A TOOTHBRUSH AND WHITE VINEGAR, then rinse it thoroughly. If it’s clean but still slides hard, you can lubricate it with a little zipper wax.
• CHECK FOR TORN SEAMS OR LOOSE STITCHING, and to make sure any patches on knees or elbows are in place.
• Use only an APPROVED NEOPRENE ADHESIVE to make any minor repairs.
• Before donning your suit, be sure to remove your watch and any other jewelry or equipment that could damage your suit.
WETSUIT CARE — AFTER YOU DIVE
• With the suit inside out, SOAK FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES in clean, fresh water (swimming pool dips don’t count, since chlorine will damage the suit).
• MAKE SURE ZIPPERS ARE CLEAN from salt or sand and that they slide freely; if metal zips are corroded, scrub with a toothbrush and white vinegar.
• If the suit is smelly or dirty, you can HAND WASH IT WITH A GENTLE SOAP like wetsuit shampoo or baby shampoo.
• THOROUGHLY RINSE THE SUIT and hang it out of the sun, still inside-out, on a wide hanger to help prevents creases.
- Wetsuit material can develop a permanent crease if left folded for a extended period of time. It is best to store your wetsuit laying flat. If that is not possible, you can store your suit on a hanger. Use as thick a hanger as possible to better support the weight of the suit. The thicker the suit, the heavier, and therefore the thicker your hanger should be. There are several after-market hangers available designed specifically for this purpose.
- Store in a cool, dry and protected place out of direct sunlight.
- Do not store your wetsuit in garage if the garage is used to park a vehicle. The exhaust emissions from the vehicle can over time deteriorate the neoprene.
- Avoid any contact with oil, gasoline, aerosols, or chemical solvents.
- Do not expose any part to aerosol spray, as some aerosol propellants attack or degrade rubber and plastic materials.
- Do not use any type of alcohol, solvent or petroleum based substances to clean or lubricate any part.
- Do not store your equipment near any oil, gasoline, chemicals, or solvents.