The Ultimate Wetsuit Care Guide

Your wetsuit looks after you on the water, so it only seems fair that you should return the favour. It might be the last thing you feel like doing after a long session on the waves, but it will massively extend the life of your wetsuit, which saves you some dollar down the line, and it really doesn’t take a lot of time either.

Shop all wetsuit care products here. 

Take a look at this video from Wetsuit Will, or have a quick read of the steps below…

A step-by-step guide to washing your wetsuit:

1) Rinse your wetsuit in freshwater

This is an absolute must and the bare minimum of wetsuit care. A thorough rinse inside and out with fresh water will flush away the salt and sand which would otherwise ruin your wetsuit over time. If you surf a lot, this damage can happen pretty fast.

2) Use wetsuit shampoo

Although a freshwater rinse will do a pretty good job, it’s always a nice touch to have some shampoo washed through your wetsuit every once in a while. It prevents that musty ocean smell that comes from stale saltwater and any other liquids – don’t bother denying it, we know everyone wees in their wetsuit every now and again.

Our top picks for wetsuit shampoo:

3) Hang your wetsuit up properly

This will allow the wetsuit to drain itself of saltwater and dry consistently throughout. However, avoid the sun if you can, as the UV can cause the neoprene to age much quicker, and the wetsuit will firm up and lose its flexibility – not ideal. Ideally, you want to hang your wetsuit up on a hanger in the shower or on a clothesline, as this will reduce stretching.

Our top picks for wetsuit hanging:

4) Turn your wetsuit inside out, and then turn it back

Making sure the inside of your wetsuit is dry first is a priority for your own comfort – having soggy neoprene against your skin on a chilly morning before you’ve even dipped a toe in the sea feels uncomfortable and so unnecessary. Once it’s dry on the inside, turn it back the right way and let the outside dry properly too, as this will stop the neoprene going all funky.


Top tips for prolonging the lifespan of your wetsuit:

  • If you plan on using your suit every day for a week, then you don’t worry about being too thorough every day. Just rinse it in some cold fresh water, getting rid of salt and sand for use tomorrow. Oh, and try to dry it if you can – there's not much worse than putting on a cold, damp wetsuit.
  • On a cold wash with a slow RPM, a good wetsuit will survive in the washing machine. However, we do not recommend using a washing machine and would only suggest doing this if the suit is really dirty or smelly from stagnant water.
  • Don't tumble dry your suit – if it can't go outside, put it on an airer/clothes horse near a radiator, making sure it doesn't touch the radiator.
  • For optimal storage, try a wetsuit hanger in your wardrobe for the best results. Alternatively, you can use a regular broad shoulder hanger, or even roll up the wetsuit from the bottom. Most of us at Watersports Outlet store our wetsuits in drawers or under beds and they are still in top condition.
  • For more tips and tricks read our guide to wetsuit storage

Don't forget about your accessories! Read all about how to clean your wetsuit boots.

Sadly, nothing lasts forever, so even though following these tips will prolong the life of your wetsuit, the time will come when your much-loved suit has seen one too many swells. When that day comes, we’ll be here to dry your tears and help you find the best possible replacement. You can check out our extensive range of wetsuits here if you want to start saving up already.


Shop our full range of wetsuit care products and accessories.

Updated on 30th March 2023

Originally published on 10th October 2018 in Wetsuit Guides

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