Wetsuit Maintenance

Wetsuit Care and Cleaning

My bet tip for wetsuit maintenance is to always best wash and soak the wetsuit with fresh water both inside and out. Do not use any cleaners because they may harm the rubber material. Fresh water is all that is really needed. Some scuba divers use a Wetsuit wash to inhibit mold and odors.

To understand how to care for your wetsuit, I must cover the basic materials first. Neoprene is rubber foam that has nitrogen or air bubble injected into it. The more bubbles, the more elastic the material will be. All of those super stretch wetsuits, just means they have more bubble injected. The problem with bubbles is they react to pressure.

Pressure on the wetsuit bubbles comes from two primary sources: Diving and hangers. Repeated diving will eventually break down the bubbles. When these bubbles break down, they break down the rubber causing rips and cold spots. Hangers, especially the narrow hangers, break down the bubbles and form creases wear the weight of the suit presses on the narrow hanger.

Care During the Dive

Abrasion against rocks and corals can rip and tear your suit (and damage the environment). If this should occur use some wetsuit glue to repair the tear.

Repairing Rips and Tears

Some easy steps when using wetsuit glue:

1. Don’t use around an open flame.

2. Apply a small dab around the tear. This will dissolve the material around the tear.

3. After 30 seconds, apply the second coat down the entire length of the rip.

4. Press together for 5 minutes.

5. Wait 48 hours before use.

Wetsuit Maintenance & Care After the Dive:

Pull down the zippers all the way. Since salt water and chlorine can dry out the neoprene, wash and soak your suit in fresh water for at least 30 minutes. After the soak, rinse and hang your suit on a wide wetsuit hanger.

Make sure you do not hang your wetsuit or other scuba equipment near a furnace or water heater. They tend to give off ozone, which can harm your rubber products.

Wetsuit Storage:

If you are going to store your wetsuit for an extended period of time, try to laying flat. If laying flat does not work, at least use a wide wetsuit hanger. There are several manufactures that can supply a hanger for this purpose.

Wetsuit Zipper Care and Maintenance

Do not use any kind of oil based product. These types of cleaners will break down rubber products. I have been asked about a graphite based product and I would discourage their use also. The aerosols will hurt the rubber and the graphite will just get messy.

Use a silicone spray (non-aerosol) and work the zipper up and down.

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