Have you ever wondered how to properly clean and maintain your beloved surfing wetsuit? Look no further, because in this article, we will provide you with all the essential tips and tricks to keep your wetsuit in pristine condition. From removing stubborn smells to preventing mold and mildew growth, we’ve got you covered! So, grab your wetsuit and get ready to learn some valuable surf suit maintenance techniques.


Your surfing wetsuit is not only a crucial piece of gear that keeps you warm in the water but also an investment that you want to keep in good condition for as long as possible. By properly cleaning and maintaining your wetsuit, you can prolong its lifespan and ensure that it continues to perform at its best. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to clean your wetsuit, remove salt and sand, repair any tears, prevent odor and mildew, and provide storage tips to keep your wetsuit in top shape.

Cleaning Your Wetsuit

1. Rinse the Wetsuit

After each session in the water, it is essential to rinse your wetsuit thoroughly. This will help remove any lingering salt, sand, or other debris that can damage the neoprene over time. Use cool or lukewarm freshwater, and make sure to rinse both the inside and outside of the wetsuit.

2. Use a Wetsuit Shampoo

To go the extra mile and keep your wetsuit clean and fresh, consider using a wetsuit shampoo. These specialized detergents are designed to remove salt, oils, and grime without harming the neoprene material. Follow the instructions on the shampoo bottle and rinse your wetsuit thoroughly after washing.

3. Hand Wash or Machine Wash?

When it comes to washing your wetsuit, hand washing is the preferred method. Fill a clean tub or sink with cool or lukewarm water and add the wetsuit shampoo. Gently agitate the wetsuit in the water, paying attention to any areas that may require extra cleaning. Avoid using harsh brushes or scrubbing too vigorously, as this can damage the delicate neoprene.

If hand washing is not feasible, you can opt for a machine wash using a gentle or delicate cycle. However, be cautious as some washing machines may be too rough on the wetsuit, and the agitation can cause unnecessary wear and tear. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines before machine washing your wetsuit.

4. Hang to Dry

Once you have washed your wetsuit, it’s time to let it dry properly. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or high heat sources as this can degrade the neoprene. Instead, hang your wetsuit on a wide hanger or lay it flat on a clean surface in a shaded, well-ventilated area. Ensure that it is completely dry before storing it to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

5. Store Properly

Proper storage is key to maintaining the shape and integrity of your wetsuit. Avoid folding or crumpling it, as this can cause creases that may be difficult to remove. It is best to store your wetsuit by hanging it on a wide hanger in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. This will help prevent any mold or mildew growth and keep your wetsuit ready for your next surf session.

Removing Salt and Sand

1. Soak in Freshwater

After rinsing your wetsuit with freshwater, it’s a good practice to give it an additional soak to remove any remaining salt. Fill a clean tub or container with freshwater and let the wetsuit soak for about 10-15 minutes. This will help dislodge and dissolve any salt crystals that may have accumulated during your surf session.

2. Shake Out Excess Water

Once the wetsuit has soaked, carefully lift it out of the water and give it a gentle shake to remove excess water. Be cautious not to stretch or strain the neoprene while shaking. Removing excess water will facilitate the drying process and prevent the wetsuit from becoming heavy or misshapen.

3. Remove Sand

After a day at the beach, it’s common to find sand trapped in various parts of your wetsuit. To remove sand, gently rub the affected areas between your fingers, allowing the grains of sand to loosen and fall out. Do this both on the inside and outside of the wetsuit, paying close attention to the seams and cuffs. Removing sand will prevent it from scratching or damaging the neoprene.

Repairing Your Wetsuit

1. Patch Small Tears

Over time, small tears or holes may appear in your wetsuit. It is important to address these issues promptly to prevent water from seeping in and compromising the wetsuit’s insulation. You can patch small tears using specialized neoprene patches or adhesive patches designed specifically for wetsuits. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

2. Use Neoprene Adhesive

For more significant tears or areas of separation, neoprene adhesive can be used to fix the problem. Apply a thin layer of adhesive to both sides of the tear and press them firmly together. Wipe off any excess adhesive and let it dry according to the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions. Neoprene adhesive is an effective way to repair your wetsuit and extend its lifespan.

3. Seek Professional Repair

In some cases, you may encounter extensive damage to your wetsuit that requires professional repair. If you are unsure about your repair skills or the damage is beyond your capabilities, it is best to take your wetsuit to a professional wetsuit repair service. They have the expertise and specialized equipment necessary to perform repairs that will ensure the longevity of your wetsuit.

Preventing Odor and Mildew

1. Air Out Your Wetsuit

To keep your wetsuit smelling fresh, make sure to hang it in a well-ventilated area after each use. Allowing air to circulate around the wetsuit will help dry it thoroughly and prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria and mildew. Remember to turn the wetsuit inside out to ensure both the inside and outside can air out properly.

2. Use a Wetsuit Deodorizer

If you notice a persistent odor despite regular washing and airing out, consider using a wetsuit deodorizer. These products are specifically formulated to neutralize odors and eliminate bacteria. Follow the instructions on the deodorizer bottle and apply it to your wetsuit after rinsing and drying. A wetsuit deodorizer will leave your wetsuit smelling fresh and clean.

Storage Tips

1. Keep Away from Sunlight

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the neoprene material to deteriorate, leading to a decrease in flexibility and overall performance of your wetsuit. When storing your wetsuit, always keep it away from sunlight and opt for a cool, dark storage area.

2. Avoid Folding or Creasing

Folding or creasing your wetsuit for extended periods can result in permanent creases and damage to the neoprene. When storing, hang your wetsuit on a wide hanger or lay it flat in a manner that avoids any folds or creases.

3. Store in a Ventilated Area

Mold and mildew thrive in damp and poorly ventilated environments. To prevent their growth, store your wetsuit in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. This will help maintain the integrity of the neoprene and keep your wetsuit fresh and ready for your next surf adventure.

Tips for Caring for Your Wetsuit

1. Always Rinse After Use

Taking a few minutes to rinse your wetsuit after every surf session goes a long way in preventing salt buildup, odor, and damage. Use freshwater to thoroughly rinse both the inside and outside of your wetsuit, paying attention to any areas that may have accumulated salt or sand.

2. Avoid Contact with Sharp Objects

Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid contact with sharp objects that can puncture or tear your wetsuit. Rocks, fins, nails, and other sharp surfaces can cause irreversible damage. Always handle your wetsuit with care and store it away from potential hazards.

3. Don’t Expose to Extreme Temperatures

High heat or freezing temperatures can damage the neoprene material. Avoid leaving your wetsuit in a hot car, near heaters, or out in freezing conditions. These extreme temperatures can weaken the neoprene, compromising its insulation and overall effectiveness.


By following these steps and implementing proper cleaning, maintenance, and storage practices, you can ensure that your surfing wetsuit remains in excellent condition. Regular rinsing, washing, and drying, along with addressing any repairs promptly, will extend the lifespan of your wetsuit and optimize its performance. With a little care and attention, your wetsuit will continue to be your trusted companion on many future surf adventures.