FirstSpear

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Wetsuit Care

Your wetsuit is an essential part of your dive gear, as it protects your body from heat loss, abrasions, and wildlife injuries on a dive. Without proper care, neoprene can be damaged easily when you’re not even diving. Although they are designed to last a long time, certain elements will destroy it, if you don’t take care of it. Here are a few things that will damage neoprene. This stuff will also damage your H-gear/ Armor carrier and other nylon equipment.

Sunlight

Sunlight is the worst thing for any nylon product. You never want to leave your wetsuit hanging in direct sunlight to dry. Neoprene takes a beating from UV radiation, and it will begin to break it down quickly. Paired with heat, it can break a new wetsuit down in a matter of months.

Heat

Even in the absence of sunlight, heat is not good for neoprene. Under no circumstances should you ever put neoprene in the dryer. Even leaving it in a hot car can begin the process of deterioration. The best way to dry your wetsuit (after a fresh water rinse, of course!) is to hang it in the open air, in the shade. So, try not to store your wetsuit in a Conex box.

Salt and Minerals

If you’ve been diving in the ocean, you’ll need to rinse your wetsuit immediately with fresh water so that the salt, minerals, and bacteria accumulated during the dive will not remain to crystallize and produce odors. Soaking it in a tub is the best way to do this. Do more than just rinse it with a hose and hang it up to dry. Even if you haven’t exposed your wetsuit to any of the other damaging elements in this post, a stinky, bacteria-laden wetsuit is just as ruined if you never rinse it. Occasional soakings with a product like Sink the Stink are a great way to refresh your wetsuit every few weeks or months, depending on how often you dive. 

Improper Storage

As well as suffering heat damage, leaving your wetsuit wadded up in your gear bag, trunk, or garage will cause rapid deterioration, as it compromises the structure of neoprene. Hanging your wetsuit on a proper wetsuit hanger is the ideal storage, but if you’re limited on space, you can store it folded in half in a dry container once it is fully dry.

If you rinse your wetsuit with fresh water after every use, it should stay clean in most cases. However, you sometimes might find that your wetsuit gets a little funky. If you pee in it, it will get funky. Make sure that you always use a cleaner that is designed for wetsuits. The wrong type of cleaning product on your wetsuit can be one of the worst things that damage neoprene. Some people say you have to get a new wetsuit every 3 to 5 years. The truth is it depends on how much you use it and how deep you go. Every time you dive deep it will compress the wetsuit and push some of the bubbles that are in the neoprene out. So there is no real time line on how long a suit will last.

One Response to “SCUBAPRO Sunday – Wetsuit Care”

  1. BoMo says:

    We love that Rubbermaid Tub. We use it to rinse gear after every dive outing on our annual Reef and Wreck trip to key largo with Intruders of the Deep. Sometimes we’ll even jump in when the skipper isnt looking! HA!

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