If you just bought your first wetsuit, you should know how to properly take care of it before you start surfing.
This will make sure your wetsuit stays in good condition and has a long life. And there are several things you need to know before you hit the beach.
Take a look at these eight wetsuit care tips that will keep your wetsuit looking new.
1. Don't Take Off Your Wetsuit in the Sand
This is just going to leave you with a muddy wetsuit.
If you can, take off your wetsuit on a patch of grass, on a mat, inside, on cement, anything that will keep it from getting full of sand.
But sometimes those things just aren't available. If you can't avoid it, there are still some things you can do to keep your wetsuit from turning into a muddy mess.
First of all, slow down.
The faster you try to pull that wetsuit off, the harder it gets (at least it seems that way, doesn't it?). Either way, tearing your wetsuit off won't help you.
Once you get it off, take it back into the ocean to rinse the sand out. You'll still have to rinse it again with fresh water, but getting the sand out right away keeps it from drying inside your wetsuit.
2. Rinse with Cold Water
After you take your wetsuit off, you should rinse it with cold, fresh water right away.
Don't use hot water or saltwater.
Wetsuits are made with neoprene, and both hot water and salt can cause the neoprene to lose its flexibility. So even if you think your wetsuit "seems" nice and clean after you get changed, rinse it anyway.
Leaving it covered in salt water can shorten its life.
And make sure you rinse the inside as well as the outside. Becuase the inside gets full of salt water too, you're not doing your wetsuit much good if you only rinse the outside.
Properly rinsing your wetsuit after every time you use it will help it last.
3. Dry Your Wetsuit
Once you've rinsed both sides, you have to dry your wetsuit before putting it back away. If you don't give it time to dry, you'll trap moisture inside. This can lead to odors or even mold growth.
Just like rinsing, you should dry both the inside and the outside of your wetsuit. But start with the inside first. (If you hit the beach again before the wetsuit is completely dry, at least the inside won't be damp.)
Get a strong, wide hanger and drape the wetsuit over the hanger by its waist. This is better than hanging it by the shoulders because it can form creases and stretch your wetsuit out.
If you can, hang it inside. If you can't hang it inside, make sure it stays in the shade. Leaving your wetsuit to cook in the sun will damage the neoprene.
When the inside of the wetsuit is dry, turn it right-side-out again and let it dry a second time.
4. Store Your Wetsuit Flat
Again, you should always store your wetsuit inside in a temperature controlled location. Bathrooms make good homes for your wetsuit. But rather than folding your wetsuit and leaving it under the sink, your wetsuit should stay flat.
There are two different ways you can do this.
You can either leave it folded over the hanger, or you can lay it flat over a surface or on the ground.
This will keep your wetsuit in good condition and give it a long life.
5. Wash Your Wetsuit (Occasionally)
Things like algae, oil, sweat, and urine can make your wetsuit stink to high heaven. As this stuff piles up, you may have to wash your wetsuit with proper wetsuit shampoo to get rid of the smell.
If you aren't sure where to buy this, check surf shops or online stores. You can also get away with using mild dish soap, but don't use any strong cleaning products.
To wash your suit, fill the bathtub with warm water. Not hot water, warm water. Put in the soap and swirl the water around to activate it. Submerge your wetsuit for 20 minutes.
Then rub the wetsuit against itself to clean it (make sure you get the stinky parts). When it's clean and smells better, take it out of the bath and dry it like normal.
6. Never Wash, Dry, or Iron like Other Clothes
A wetsuit isn't like your normal clothes, so don't treat it as such. Washing your wetsuit in a normal washing machine, drying it in a dryer, and ironing it (not sure why you'd even need to do this), can seriously damage your suit.
You might think this goes without saying, but you'd be surprised.
When it comes to cleaning your wetsuit, only use proper wetsuit care techniques.
7. Keep Your Zipper Working
The salt from ocean water and chlorine if you get in the pool a lot both corrode the teeth of your zipper. This can make the zipper stick or have trouble going up and down.
To make sure the zipper stays in good condition, you should buy a zipper lubricant and apply it occasionally. You might even be able to use things like beeswax to get the job done too.
This will make it easier to get in and out of your wetsuit, especially when it's wet. A sticky zipper isn't something you'll want to worry about.
8. Don't Be Lazy
The quickest way you can ruin your wetsuit is by not taking care of it properly. If you want your wetsuit to last, you have to make sure it stays in good condition.
That means you can't just take your wetsuit off, crumble it up into a ball, and leave it in the trunk of your car. The heat will damage the neoprene, the wetsuit won't be able to dry properly, and you'll end up with a stinky, mildewy, misshapen, wetsuit.
You'll go through a lot of wetsuits quickly if you treat them this way.
Use the Right Wetsuit Care
It might sound like a lot of work to take care of your wetsuit properly, but rinsing it and hanging it up to dry really doesn't take that much time. If you just get into the habit of doing proper wetsuit care, you'll have a nice wetsuit for a long time.
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