Once you find a wetsuit that fits comfortably while affording the level of protection you need, it’s important to maintain your wetsuit to prolong its useful life. Here are some cost-effective tips that let scuba divers get the most out of their wetsuit.
- Don’t forget to rinse.
Saltwater can break down the materials in your wetsuit over time, and the best way to avoid this problem is by rinsing off the suit each time you take it off. Use freshwater to rinse it, making sure to thoroughly rinse the entire surface.
- Hang your suit to dry.
While it’s important to hang your suit to dry, fold it over the hanger to avoid damaging the seams. Keep your wetsuit out of the sun while it dries to avoid discoloration, and turn it inside out before drying it. Once the inside of your wetsuit is completely dry, you can dry the outside.
- Use a wetsuit shampoo on occasion.
Wetsuit shampoo is specifically made for maintaining your wetsuit. While it’s not a product that you should be using each time you use your suit, this specialized shampoo is a product that can be applied every few uses for added cleaning power. No matter how hard you try to thoroughly rinse the surface of your suit, there are bound to be areas that are missed. Shampoo will take care of the residue left behind on your suit, and all you have to do is massage it into the material before rinsing your wetsuit and hanging it to dry.
- Take your time putting your wetsuit on and taking it off.
As stretchy as that neoprene might be, the worst thing that you can do when putting your wetsuit on or taking it off is to just grab and pull at the material. Not only do you risk tearing your wetsuit at the seams, but constantly being careless about the way you put your suit on and take it off can cause the material to weaken over time.
- Place some focus on keeping your zipper free of corrosion.
While most of these tips relate to preserving the neoprene in your wetsuit, zippers have the potential to corrode and need some attention. Rinsing the zipper helps to prevent salt and other minerals from corroding it, and it is also recommended that you use a lubricant after your wetsuit dries for added protection.
- Leave your jewelry at home.
While it may seem obvious that you wouldn’t want to wear your jewelry while diving, forgetting to take off even small pieces could result in damage to your wetsuit. Jewelry pieces may jut into the neoprene, causing areas of weakness or even breakage. Leaving your neck, wrist and fingers free of jewelry when you head out on the water is best.
- Get rid of odors before they set into your wetsuit.
Between sweating and relieving yourself in the water, wetsuits can have a ripe smell that is hard to manage. The best way to deal with odor is cleaning your wetsuit with shampoo as soon as you take it off, but there are some odors that will set into the suit anyway. There are conditioners that are made to rid your wetsuit of odors related to bacteria or mold. Apply these conditioners to your wetsuit after it has been washed and rinsed for the best results.
- Look for damage after each use.
The nature of scuba diving means that some damage to your wetsuit may be unavoidable, but you can still prolong the life of your suit by inspecting it for damage after each use. If you find damage, be sure to address the problem immediately in order to prevent tears from become a larger problem.
- Take the time to properly store your wetsuit.
If your wetsuit gets packed away for a portion of the year, take the time to prepare it for storage. Use wetsuit shampoo to thoroughly clean it, then rinse the shampoo out. Follow the tips outlined above to dry your wetsuit, then take it off of the hanger to store it flat. Be sure that the area you’re using for storage is cool, dark and dry.