What is the Best Way to Wash a Wetsuit?

Wetsuits are vital for activities like surfing, diving, and open-water swimming. They provide insulation and protection, allowing you to enjoy water sports comfortably. However, maintaining your wetsuit’s condition requires proper care. Regular washing and correct handling are crucial to prolong its lifespan and ensure optimal performance. This article provides comprehensive instructions on how to wash and care for your wetsuit.

We will cover the importance of immediate rinsing, the use of specialized cleaners, proper drying techniques, and effective storage methods. These tips will help keep your wetsuit in top shape, ready for your next aquatic adventure.

Rinse Immediately After Use

After using your wetsuit, it’s essential to rinse it with fresh water as soon as possible. Saltwater, chlorine, and sand can deteriorate neoprene, leading to stiffness and cracks. You can wash your wetsuit in the shower or use a hose in the garden to rinse it thoroughly. One effective method is to fill a bucket or bathtub with clean water, submerge the wetsuit, and dunk it in and out multiple times.

This helps flush out salt and sand, providing a thorough rinse. Immediate rinsing prevents harmful substances from settling into the neoprene, maintaining its flexibility and integrity.

Use a Wetsuit Cleaner

While a freshwater rinse removes most contaminants, a wetsuit-specific cleaner is necessary for a deeper clean. These cleaners are formulated to eliminate salt, bacteria, and odors without damaging neoprene.

 To clean your wetsuit, follow these steps: 
  • Fill a tub or large container with cool water.
  • Add the recommended amount of wetsuit cleaner to the water.
  • Submerge the wetsuit in the water and allow it to soak for 15-20 minutes.
  • Gently agitate the wetsuit in the water to help dislodge dirt and debris.
  • Rinse the wetsuit thoroughly with fresh water to remove any remaining cleaner.

Using these steps ensures that your wetsuit is thoroughly cleaned without damaging the neoprene, preserving its flexibility and performance.

Use a Wetsuit Cleaner - tips on how to get the most out of your wetsuit

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Detergents

Using harsh chemicals, such as bleach or fabric softeners, can degrade neoprene and lead to loss of flexibility. Always opt for wetsuit-specific cleaners or mild soaps. These are gentle enough to clean your wetsuit effectively without causing damage.

Regular detergents can break down the neoprene, causing it to become brittle and less effective at insulating and protecting. Ensuring you use the right cleaning products is crucial for maintaining your wetsuit’s performance and durability.

Hand Wash and Rinse Thoroughly

Best way to wash wetsuit is by hand-washing Machine washing can be too aggressive, potentially damaging the neoprene and seams. When hand washing, follow these steps for effective cleaning:

  • Gently scrub the wetsuit with a soft sponge or cloth.
  • Focus on areas with visible dirt or stains.
  • Rinse thoroughly with cool, fresh water to remove any soap or cleaner residues.
  • Ensure no soap remains to prevent skin irritation and extend the wetsuit’s lifespan.

These steps ensure a thorough cleaning without damaging your wetsuit, keeping it in good condition for longer.

Hand Wash and Rinse Thoroughly - washing a wetsuit

Dry Flat and Out of Direct Sunlight

Drying your wetsuit correctly is crucial for maintaining its shape and functionality. Follow these drying steps:

  • Avoid hanging your wetsuit by the shoulders to prevent stretching.
  • Lay it flat on a clean, dry surface or use a wetsuit hanger.
  • Dry in a shaded, well-ventilated area to prevent UV damage.
  • Ensure the wetsuit is completely dry before storing it to avoid mold and mildew.

Proper drying helps maintain the wetsuit’s elasticity and fit, ensuring it remains in good condition.

Store Correctly to Prevent Damage

Proper storage is essential to keep your wetsuit in good condition. Follow these storage steps:

  • Store your wetsuit in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Hang the wetsuit on a wide, padded hanger or fold it gently to avoid sharp creases.
  • Ensure the wetsuit is completely dry before storing it to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Correct storage practices protect your wetsuit from environmental damage, keeping it ready for use.

Wetsuit how to Store Correctly to Prevent Damage

Preventing Odors and Stains

To keep your wetsuit fresh and free from odors, avoid leaving it in a damp, enclosed space for extended periods. If you notice a persistent smell, use a wetsuit deodorizer or a mixture of water and vinegar to eliminate the odor. For stains, use a gentle, wetsuit-safe stain remover and follow up with a thorough rinse.

Regular cleaning and proper drying are key to preventing odors and stains, ensuring your wetsuit remains clean and comfortable for your next water adventure.

Handling Tears and Repairs

Wetsuits are subject to wear and tear, especially around high-stress areas like the knees and elbows. Inspect your wetsuit regularly for small tears or holes. If you find any damage, repair it promptly using wetsuit repair adhesive or patches.

This prevents minor damage from becoming a major problem, extending the life of your wetsuit. Handling repairs early ensures your wetsuit remains in good condition and provides optimal protection during use.

Handling Tears and Repairs on your wetsuit


Can I wash my wetsuit in a washing machine?
No, hand washing is recommended to avoid damaging the neoprene.
How often should I clean my wetsuit?
Rinse it after each use and perform a thorough cleaning with a wetsuit cleaner every few uses.
What happens if I leave my wetsuit in the sun to dry?
UV rays can degrade the neoprene, making it stiff and brittle over time.
Can I use regular soap or detergent to clean my wetsuit?
No, use a wetsuit-specific cleaner or mild soap to prevent damage to the neoprene.


Taking care of your wetsuit is really important if you want it to last. As soon as you’re done using it, you need to rinse it off with clean water. Use a mild soap or wetsuit cleaner to get it really clean. Then make sure it dries out completely before you store it.

If you do all that, your wetsuit will stay flexible and durable, and it won’t get that gross smelly wetsuit funk. Putting in a little effort to look after your wetsuit means you’ll be able to use it for years and have way more fun in the water. It’s totally worth it.