Can You Put Wetsuits In The Washing Machine?

It’s not a good idea to wash a wetsuit in the washing machine. While wetsuits are built to handle water, the spin cycle might harm the seams and zips, and hot water can damage the neoprene material, shortening the life of your suit. 

If you ever decide to use a washing machine because it’s more convenient, although it’s not recommended, avoid adding any detergent, turn off the spin cycle, and only use cold water. However, due to these complications, hand washing is generally simpler and safer.

But how do you handle more stubborn issues like stains or smells? Keep reading to learn about stain removal and the best practices to dry your suit without harming its material.

How To Hand Wash A Wetsuit

person wearing a wetsuit

The best method to wash a wetsuit is by hand. This isn’t much of a vigorous wash—you simply need to soak it in pure water to remove any grime and dirt. 

Here’s how you can do it effectively:

  1. Ensure all zips are open and turn the suit inside out.
  2. Soak it in lukewarm or cool water in a bathtub for about an hour.
  3. If your wetsuit smells, you should use wetsuit shampoo, add it after the initial soak.
  4. Drain the water and rinse the suit in fresh warm water.
  5. Dry the suit by hanging it in a way that doesn’t stretch the material, ideally in the open air.

Important: Steer clear of regular laundry detergents and bleach; opt for wetsuit shampoo or baby shampoo. Always wash your wetsuit soon after wearing it, before it dries, so salt and grime come off easier. 

How To Dry A Wetsuit

Proper drying is just as important as cleaning. Never use a tumble dryer for your wetsuit! Here’s the best way to dry your wetsuit to maintain its shape and integrity.

  1. After washing, hang the wetsuit on a large hanger in a shaded, airy spot away from direct sunlight. If you need to dry it indoors, stay clear of any heat sources. 
  2. Start from the shoulders and gently press the water down to the wrist openings, repeat every 30 minutes until moisture is minimal.
  3. Once the exterior is dry, turn the suit right side out to finish drying.

Pro-tip: Don’t fold your wetsuit since creases can cause cracks over time. Be mindful of sharp items and snags that can damage the neoprene; despite being tough, wetsuits are not completely damage-proof.

How To Remove Stains From A Wetsuit

Removing stains from wetsuits can be challenging, especially those from sunscreen, oil, or tar. Never use harsh chemicals or bleach. Instead:

  • Apply a gentle wetsuit wash cleaner.
  • Gently rub the stain with a soft cloth or brush. It’s important not to scrub the neoprene material harshly with a stiff brush, as it might cause it to break down and weaken
  • Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary.

Why Is It Important To Wash Your Wetsuit?

It’s important to wash your wetsuit, just as you would any other sports gear. Your suit absorbs skin oils, sweat, salt, and chemicals in the water, which can affect both the lining and neoprene. 

Always clean your suit after you’ve been in the water. Unwashed, the salt, bacteria, and chemicals will degrade the neoprene quickly, making it wear out faster and eventually smell.

SEE ALSO: Can You Tumble Dry A Wetsuit? (is it safe or will it damage it)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to wash a wetsuit in the washing machine?

No, it is not OK to wash a wetsuit in the washing machine. The spin cycle can harm the seams and zips, and hot water can damage the neoprene material.

What’s the best way to clean a wetsuit?

The best way to clean a wetsuit is by hand washing it. Soak it in lukewarm or cool water in a bathtub, use wetsuit shampoo for any odours, and rinse thoroughly.

Can you wash a wetsuit with washing up liquid?

No, you should not wash a wetsuit with washing up liquid as it can be too harsh for the neoprene. Instead, use a dedicated wetsuit shampoo or baby shampoo as an alternative.

What happens if you don’t wash your wetsuit?

If you don’t wash your wetsuit, salt, bacteria, and chemicals from the water can degrade the neoprene quickly, causing it to wear out faster and develop a bad odour.

What happens if I put my wetsuit in the dryer?

Putting your wetsuit in the dryer can severely damage it due to the heat. It can cause the neoprene to become brittle and crack.

Should I dry my wetsuit in the sun?

No, you should not dry your wetsuit in direct sunlight as UV rays can degrade the neoprene. It’s better to dry it in a shaded, airy spot.

How do I stop my wetsuit from smelling?

To stop your wetsuit from smelling, wash it soon after use with a wetsuit shampoo and ensure it is thoroughly rinsed and dried in a well-ventilated area.

How often should I rinse my wetsuit?

You should rinse your wetsuit with fresh, cool or lukewarm water after every use to remove salt, chlorine, and other residues.

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