If you're someone who loves water sports like diving, surfing, or snorkeling, you've probably invested a pretty penny on a wetsuit. To preserve the longevity of your wetsuit for as long as possible, you need to store it correctly so that it will be good to use for many years to come.
Here are a few effective ways to store your wetsuit so it doesn’t get damaged:
- Ensure to clean your wetsuit before storage.
- Allow it to dry completely before storing it in a closet.
- Fold your wetsuit in half between uses.
- Store your wetsuit in a cool dark closet.
This article will expound more on the above and offer helpful tips on how to store your wetsuit when drying it, when using it regularly and when it's not in use. Keep reading.
1. Ensure to Clean Your Wetsuit Before Storage
Wetsuits are made from neoprene, a type of rubber material. And while it’s strong enough to protect you from UV rays, sharp objects in the water, and keep you warm, it requires special care to prevent it from getting damaged.
Before drying and storing your wetsuit, it's imperative that you clean it correctly. Your wetsuit gets exposed to all sorts of elements in the water, from minerals to bacteria, as well as sweat when you're wearing it. If it's not cleaned properly, it can smell, lose its shape or get moldy.
Always Rinse Your Wetsuit After Using It
After every wear, always rinse your wetsuit off in fresh water to wash all minerals and bacteria. It's advisable to rinse out your wetsuit as soon as you can.
As tired as you might be after a day out, never leave your wetsuit scrunched up in the boot of your car or left to soak in a bucket in the hopes of dealing with it later. Doing this will damage the fabric.
A good wetsuit washer like the Bully Wetsuit Washer (pictured above) will make cleaning and hanging your wetsuit to dry a complete breeze.
But if you don't have a wetsuit washer like the Bully then you can simply wash your wetsuit in a plastic tub, in the bath or even do what I like to do and just wear your wetsuit in the shower.
Rinse the outside then take off the wetsuit and rinse the inside.
When storing your wetsuit for the long term you want to make sure there isn't any salt water left on your wetsuit as this can deteriorate the neoprene and cause it to stretch.
Your Wetsuit Will Need a Thorough Cleaning Now and Again
Every so often, depending on how often you use your wetsuit, you will need to give it a more thorough clean. You will know it is time for a proper cleaning when it starts to smell or becomes stiff.
This does not mean that you can chuck it into the washing machine or hand wash it with a regular detergent. Neoprene requires a special cleaner or shampoo. Check out my list of the best wetsuit cleaners on the market.
If you don't have a wetsuit shampoo, you can use baking soda.
Here are the steps to follow when deep cleaning your wetsuit:
- Start by rinsing it in clean water as you usually would. If you're using baking soda, add a little to a bucket or tub of warm water and mix.
- Leave your wetsuit to soak in this solution for about half an hour before turning it inside out to soak for another thirty minutes. If you have a thinner wetsuit, you can soak it for about twenty minutes on each side.
- While the wetsuit is soaking, take some time to clean the zippers and any other metallic hardware. You can use a little brush to gently scrub at them as, over time, exposure to saltwater and other elements can cause them to rust or become damaged.
- Once the wetsuit has soaked, remove it from the solution and give it a good rinse with clean water both inside and outside. Make sure that it is spotless with no traces of dirt or baking soda remaining.
2. Allow It to Dry Completely Before Storing It in a Closet
Once you have rinsed or cleaned your wetsuit, it must be completely dry before you store it in your closet. Drying your wetsuit correctly prevents it from getting damaged and will allow you to get more wear out of it.
You don't want to have any water left on your wetsuit at all! It needs to be very dry if it's going into storage for a while.
Never leave your wetsuit out in the direct sun for it to dry as the UV rays will damage it. Also, keep it away from heat sources like heaters and avoid any attempts to dry it with a hairdryer. While you might be tempted to put your wetsuit in the dryer it isn't usually advised.
For best results, it's best to hang your wetsuit over a railing. Alternatively, hang it on a thick hanger and let it drip dry. To speed up drying and to ensure your wetsuit isn't damaged in the drying process it's a good idea to invest in one of the best wetsuit hangers.
These have wide shoulders to protect your wetsuit for unwanted stretching and some of them even have internal fans to dry your wetsuit in as little as 20 minutes!
3. Fold Your Wetsuit in Half Between Uses
It's important to learn how to store your wetsuit between uses.
If you use your wetsuit every day, the best way to store it is to fold it in half with the arms folded across and place it flat a chair, table, shelf, or on top of your bag, ready to use the next day.
However, not everyone can enjoy the great outdoors and gorgeous waters every day.
So, if you need your wetsuit every few weeks or once a month and want it to be easily accessible, store it in your closet on a thick hanger. If you store it for too long folded up tight then these creases can be hard to get out.
4. Store Your Wetsuit In a Cool, Dark Closet
For long-term storage, make sure your wetsuit is not inside out. You want to keep the inside as protect as possible so it doesn't deteriorate.
Also, avoid keeping your wetsuit folded on a shelf in your closet as the folds can result in permanent creases.
If you have space, it is best to store it laying flat down with nothing on top. Nevertheless, if this isn't an option, hang it on an extra thick hanger and keep it in a cool, dark closet away from anything damp.
The garage is often the go-to storage place for items people don't use regularly, but only store your wetsuit in the garage if you don't park your car in it. Exposing your wetsuit to heat, direct sunlight or car emissions can cause the fabric to break down, which means the suit will offer you less protection when you wear it.
Finally, never hang your wetsuit on a thin wire hanger, as this will damage the fabric and likely cause permanent creases. Thinner hangers also provide little support causing the fabric to stretch out.
Wetsuits are expensive but storing them correctly prolongs their lifespan, so you don't have to replace them frequently. Before storing your wetsuit, ensure that it is clean by rinsing it with fresh water after every use and cleaning it thoroughly every now and then.
Before storing it, make sure your wetsuit is bone dry and keep it gently folded if you're using it frequently. If you need to store it long-term, either store it laying flat or hanging on a thick hanger in a cool, dry place away from heat sources or direct sunlight.