How To Wash A Wetsuit

In How To Videos by Rich BrownLeave a Comment

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Hi guys, just a quick blog post with video to show you how to wash a wetsuit.

This is the process I use, it includes five quick steps so should be quite easy to follow. It’s only eight minutes long and includes some great tips for you whilst you’re washing your wetsuit!


How To Wash A Wetsuit Video


You Will Need…

Some form of plastic container, this is where the wetsuit will be cleaned and left to soak. Trust me on this one it’s much better to wash your wetsuit outside using a plastic container, bucket, anything that can hold water rather than using the bath tub. From experience the sand you wash off your wetsuit in the bathtub / shower will eventually ruin your plumbing. The plastic container I’m using is 50 litres in volume and could easily soak a couple of wetsuits. I bought mine a while back but there are some very similar, well reviewed containers on Amazon here:

Really Useful Box – 84 Litres

In the video I also recommend you use proper wetsuit shampoo. This step is an optional one but I find that using proper wetsuit shampoo is the best way to clean your wetsuit whilst making sure it’s kept in its best condition for as long as possible. The wetsuit shampoo I’m using in the video is O’Neill Wetsuit Shampoo + Conditioner. I’ve found it works really well, has great reviews online and is also available from Amazon here:

O'Neill Wetsuit Shampoo + Conditioner

O’Neill Wetsuit Shampoo + Conditioner


Steps To Follow

Step 1 – Wash Off Sand

So, the first step of washing a wetsuit is an easy one – wash off all the sand you’ve taken back home with you from the beach. Whether your wetsuit is currently inside out or not, it doesn’t really matter. The end goal here is to quickly remove all the excess sand from the wetsuit, both inside and out. Once you’ve done that, turn your wetsuit inside out for the next step.

Step 2 – Apply Cleaner

Once your wetsuit is inside out place it in your plastic container which needs to be full of fresh water and apply some wetsuit shampoo. The water shouldn’t be hot as this will actually do more damage then good, but anything below lukewarm is fine. Don’t worry too much if you’ve not got any wetsuit shampoo, you can still follow the next few steps without it and give your wetsuit a more basic clean. Using the wetsuit shampoo get some bubbles going in the plastic container and you’re ready for the next step.

Step 3 – Lather + Clean

Now the cleaner has been added, simply start working the wetsuit shampoo in and out of the wetsuit by squeezing at each section of the neoprene. Continue this process until all of the wetsuit has had a sufficient clean. I normally do this for a good five minutes to try and make sure the wetsuit shampoo has reached all the necessary areas a few times.

Step 4 – Soak (10 Mins)

Once you’ve given your wetsuit a good clean leave it to soak to give the wetsuit shampoo a chance to really work its way into the neoprene. I usually do this for at least 10 minutes as it also helps ensure most of the salt water is off the wetsuit. If you need something to fill the time – this is when I normally unpack the car from the days beach trip!

Step 5 – Hang To Dry

Once your wetsuit has had a good chance to take full advantage of the wetsuit shampoo, it’s time to hang it to dry. Believe it or not this is a fairly hot topic online as there are two clothing hanger methods that are most commonly used. The first is to hang the wetsuit using the shoulders of the clothes hanger like you would for a T-shirt. From experience this method works great for the lighter, summer type wetsuits; the shorty and anything up to 2/3mm.

However, anything thicker then 2/3mm will likely result in stretching at the shoulders due to the weight of the wetsuit on the clothes hanger. This stretching at the shoulders can damage the neoprene making it more likely to tear.

For the heavier wetsuits that are 3mm in thickness or more, the best way to dry them would be to fold the wetsuit on the clothes hanger at the waist. This removes any chance of stretching damage whilst still keeping the wetsuit nice and neat for next time. This is also the quickest way to dry a wetsuit as explained in the video.


The DON’Ts

Before you go ahead and wash your wetsuit I thought I’d include a few pointers you should avoid before cracking on. The following tips are what NOT to do when washing a wetsuit.

No Washing Machines

If you’ve read my ‘Wetsuit Buying Guide‘ or ‘Surfboard Buying Guide‘ posts one of the things that remains consistent is the negative effect of heat. Excessive heat can have an extremely damaging effect on a wetsuits material, which, in turn degrades any future performance. The temperature applied to clothing within a washing machine has the exact same effect on a wetsuit and is certainly something I’d avoid doing.

No Strong Detergents

Similar to the damaging effect of heat, the use of strong detergents is also not advised when trying to wash your wetsuit. Although neoprene is a very durable material there are still quite a lot of things that can damage it, strong detergents are one of those things. If you don’t have any of the recommended wetsuit shampoo like I’ve used in the video, please don’t resort to detergents as they could really ruin your wetsuit. If you are going to use a detergent, make sure it’s an organic detergent as this should mean it’s soft enough to use on neoprene. However, I still think you’re just safer off buying a wetsuit shampoo as its made specifically to wash wetsuits.

No Wax Scrubbing

The final don’t on the list then is to do with surfboard wax on your wetsuit. If like me you often come out from a session with a bit of surfboard wax stuck to your chest or knees, leave it there! It may not look the best but theres little point in scrubbing it off and possibly damaging the neoprene when it’ll just find its way back onto your suit after the next session.



So guys that is it, my ‘How To Clean A Wetsuit’ guide in full. I hope you found both the video and blog post useful, would be great to hear from you in the comments below if so. Would also be great to hear if you have any different methods or tips you use whilst washing your wetsuit we can share with the rest of the surfing community.

Feel free to check out my other social media channels and let me know what you think!


Next read: ‘Surfing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics’


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