Your scuba wetsuit is not just a piece of diving equipment, but also a valuable investment that protects you from the elements and provides thermal insulation underwater. To ensure its longevity and performance, proper care and maintenance are essential. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed guide on how to clean and take care of your scuba wetsuit.
Rinse After Every Dive:
After each dive, rinse your wetsuit thoroughly with fresh water. This step is crucial in removing salt, sand, and other debris that can accumulate during the dive. Turn the wetsuit inside out and use a hose or showerhead to rinse both the interior and exterior surfaces. Pay particular attention to the cuffs, neck seal, and zipper areas where dirt and salt tend to accumulate.
Use a Wetsuit Cleaner:
Regularly cleaning your wetsuit with a wetsuit-specific cleaner helps remove bacteria, salt, and other contaminants that can cause unpleasant odors and degrade the neoprene material. Follow the instructions on the cleaner’s packaging, and dilute it with water if necessary. Gently scrub the wetsuit using a soft brush or your hands, paying attention to the armpits, groin, and other areas prone to sweat and bacteria buildup.
After cleaning, hang your wetsuit to dry in a shaded, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Direct sunlight and excessive heat can damage the neoprene material, causing it to lose elasticity and degrade over time. Use a wide, sturdy hanger or a dedicated wetsuit hanger to maintain its shape and prevent creases. Avoid drying your wetsuit by turning it inside out as it can cause stress on the seams.
Avoid Folding or Crumpling:
When storing your wetsuit, avoid folding or crumpling it for extended periods. Neoprene can develop permanent creases if folded or compressed, affecting its flexibility and fit. Instead, store your wetsuit flat or gently rolled up, ensuring it remains free of any sharp objects or heavy items that can cause damage. Consider using a wetsuit bag or dedicated storage container to protect it from dust and potential punctures.
Handle with Care:
Treat your wetsuit gently to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. Avoid pulling or tugging on the neoprene, as it can stretch or tear. Put on your wetsuit by gradually easing it up over your body rather than forcing it on forcefully. Take extra care when zipping up or down to prevent snagging the neoprene or damaging the zipper. Regularly inspect the seams, zipper, and other components for any signs of damage or wear, and address any issues promptly.
Avoid Exposure to Chemicals:
Keep your wetsuit away from direct contact with harsh chemicals, including oil-based products, detergents, solvents, and chlorine. These substances can damage the neoprene material and compromise its functionality. If your wetsuit comes into contact with chemicals, rinse it thoroughly with fresh water as soon as possible.
Repair Small Tears or Damage:
Minor tears or punctures in your wetsuit can be repaired using neoprene adhesive or wetsuit repair patches. These products are widely available and easy to use. Follow the instructions provided with the repair kit, and apply the adhesive or patch to the damaged area as directed. Addressing small tears promptly prevents them from expanding and prolongs the lifespan of your wetsuit.
Store Properly During Off-Season:
If you’re not using your wetsuit for an extended period, such as during the off-season, take extra precautions when storing it.