Wetsuits: taking care of them will extend their life by two years | Photo: Grimsaeth/Red Bull

After an epic surf session, the last thing you want to do is rinse or wash your wetsuit.

However, if you don't do it quickly, your second skin will start losing its properties, and the neoprene will begin to deteriorate.

Taking care of your wetsuit is protecting it against salt water, sand, dirt, grass, and urine and prolonging the life of a fundamental piece of equipment by a couple of years.

Cleaning your wetsuit is not just rinsing it with fresh water - it is also washing it occasionally with specially designed shampoos and conditioners.

Never put your wetsuit in a washing machine; it may tear the neoprene and destroy the stitches. So, get your hands to work.

And never use hot water.

Otherwise, heat will attack the neoprene's elasticity. Cold or lukewarm water is okay; commercial detergents are forbidden.

Fresh Water Heals: How to Rinse and Wash Your Wetsuit

Ideally, you should rinse and wash the wetsuit every time you surf. If you don't have time or patience, the least you should do is rinse the neoprene after each session:

  1. As soon as you finish the session, take off your wetsuit;
  2. Rinse your wetsuit thoroughly on the inside;
  3. Turn it around and do it again on the other side;
  4. Make sure you soak all the areas of the wetsuit inside and out with fresh water;
  5. Let it dry indoors;

If you surf, on average, once a week, it is recommended that you wash your wetsuit - not only rinse it - at least once a month. Here's how to do it quickly and effectively:

  1. Fill a large container with fresh water;
  2. Pour a small cup of shampoo/conditioner into the water;
  3. Submerge your wetsuit inside out and open up the neck;
  4. Make sure water is running through the arms and legs;
  5. Leave it for five minutes so that the solution acts in all the crevices;
  6. Rinse it with fresh water only;

Wetsuits: folded them in half and let them dry under the shade | Photo: Seyfang/Creative Commons

Neoprene Under the Shade: How to Dry, Hang and Fold Your Wetsuit

Now that your wetsuit is clean and smells good, you need to make sure you dry it naturally. Here's how to hang and dry your wetsuit without damaging the neoprene:

  1. Fold the wetsuit;
  2. Roll it over the hanger's bar like a pair of pants;
  3. Leave it to dry inside out, indoors, in a shaded area, avoiding direct sunlight;
  4. Once it's dried up inside out, turn it around and let it dry again;

Never hang a soaked wetsuit on an ordinary hanger because wet neoprene is heavy and will apply too much weight to the stitches, especially in the shoulder area.

If you're ready to embark on a surf trip or don't plan to surf in the upcoming weeks, you may want to fold it and put it away.

Just make sure you do it the right without damaging the neoprene panels, the zipper, and the stitches:

  1. Start with your wetsuit face down;
  2. Fold the arms diagonally across the back;
  3. With the legs, take the ankles up to the bottom;
  4. Fold it in half by the middle with not too much pressure;

Looking after a high-end wetsuit is saving money and always staying comfortable in the water.

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