A Second Installment on Proper Wetsuit Care:
In order to keep your wetsuit in the best condition possible and to extend its life, it is important to be aware of its condition before putting it away after a dive trip. It may be tempting to just leave your gear packed in the suitcase, ready for the next trip, but that’s really hard on a wetsuit. And you just might forget to take care of getting tears or broken zippers fixed before your next trip. So this installment is about what to do with your suit after you get home.
After You Unpack
Wash your wetsuit. Even if you rinsed it in fresh water after your last dive, remember that water tank probably had other salty wetsuits and booties full of piss, and who know what else in it. Use mild liquid detergent such as PSI-500 wetsuit wash™, or even diluted hand wash detergent, like Woolite™.
The soap will help loosen body oils and skin flakes that make the suit smell funky, and will also lift soil from the outside. If you got grease on the suit, spot treat with Shout™ 1-use wipes. Don’t use a solvent to remove grease or stains, you may delaminate the neoprene or dissolve the glue holding the seams together.
I recommend using the bathtub, or a dedicated 20 gallon plastic trash can to wash your suit. Never the washing machine and never, Never, NEVER the clothes dryer!
Hang your suit on a wide-shouldered hanger, like Baker’s Shoulder Saver Hanger™. Start with the suit inside-out and when the exposed (inside) is fully dry, then turn it to be outside-out to dry the rest of the way. Let it hang dry in a cool, covered area, not in the sun.
Take a look at your suit’s seams and zippers, to make sure there are no splitting or unraveling seams. A loose thread can be stopped from unraveling further with a small drop of super glue. If a long line of stitching has unraveled, or a seam has torn, send it to a professional wetsuit tailor to get it fixed now, while there’s no rush.
Check that your zippers open and close smoothly before you put the suit away. I generally recommend leaving the zippers open, to allow for air circulation. Most zippers have a metal stop at the bottom. If your zipper has a metal slider, it’s best not to leave the zipper open so that the slider is sitting right on the stop… the two pieces of metal may corrode.
After your suit has completely dried, store it hanging up on that wide hanger inside your air-conditioned home, not in a hot garage.
My next blog will cover zipper repair, if necessary.