How to Clean a Wetsuit

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A man cleans a wetsuit in a large sink

You wear a wetsuit because it does such an excellent job of keeping you warm on your watery adventures and because hypothermia is serious business. But with warmth comes sweat and eventually a funkiness that requires a good cleaning. Rinsing your suit after every use will help keep it fresh, but when it becomes stiff and smelly, it’s time to reach for the cleaner.

The steps for cleaning your wetsuit are simple:

  1. Get a wetsuit cleaner and a tub of cool water; then stir in the cleaner.
  2. Open all the wetsuit zippers, turn it inside out and submerge it.
  3. Knead the cleaner into the suit and let it sit for a while.
  4. Thoroughly rinse it with cool water and hang it up to dry.

This article describes the basic procedure for most wetsuits. Always double check the care instructions that came with your wetsuit first, though, and follow those directions where details differ.


Video: How to Clean a Wetsuit


Prepare Your Cleaning Supplies

Pouring wetsuit cleaner into a tub of water

  1. Check the label or product information to be sure the cleaner you buy can be used on a wetsuit.
  2. Fill a tub of water (a bathtub works fine) with cool to tepid water. Don’t use hot water because it can damage the neoprene in your suit.
  3. Check the cleaner’s directions and add the appropriate amount of it to the tub.

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Prepare and Wash Your Wetsuit

Hand washing a wetsuit in a tub of water

Open all the zippers on your wetsuit. This will make it easier to access all areas during the cleaning process.

  1. Turn your suit inside out because the interior is where most of the sweat and grime accumulates.
  2. Submerge your suit and methodically knead all areas of it to work the cleanser in and maximize its effectiveness.


Rinse, Dry and Store Your Wetsuit

A wetsuit hanging on thick hangers to dry

  1. Empty out the soapy water from your tub and then thoroughly rinse your suit until all traces of cleaner residue are gone.
  2. To avoid stretching out the shoulders, hang your wetsuit to dry using the thickest hanger you can find (or make a thick one by taping multiple thin hangers together); leave all the zippers open for maximum air circulation.
  3. Turn your suit right-side out part way through the drying process, then leave it to hang until the outer surface is dry, too.
  4. Store your suit flat, or on the same thick hanger you used to dry it. Don’t fold your wetsuit during storage because that can introduce a permanent crease and damage the neoprene.


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