Buying a new wetsuit is a significant investment, but one that’s well worth it. Like any scuba equipment, it can last for years if properly cared for. Follow these steps right after you buy your suit, and then again after every saltwater dive, to keep your wetsuit in good condition for all your adventures to come.
As soon as you can, soak your wetsuit in cold or lukewarm freshwater (hot water can cause the suit to lose flexibility) with a mild solution of baking soda or wetsuit shampoo. Using a mild detergent will keep the neoprene from taking on an odor. Soak your suit for about 30 minutes, then turn the suit inside out to soak for another 30 minutes.
During the soak, pull the zipper up and down to dislodge any dirt. Scrub zippers and velcro patches with a toothbrush to get out any sand, dirt or other debris. Repeat if needed until the zipper operates smoothly.
After soaking, give the suit a thorough rinse, (inside and out), with fresh, cool water to remove the cleaning product.
Look for tears or gouges, especially along the seams. If necessary, resew the nylon with heavy polyester thread, or repair the neoprene with wetsuit cement.
Turn the wetsuit inside out, and hang it on a flat hanger out of direct sunlight. Turn it right-side out and repeat.
Store it on the hanger or loosely folded, and keep it where the temperature is consistent.