June 23, 2024
proper wetsuit care

Proper Wetsuit Care: Ultimate Guide

Wetsuits are an integral part of surfing, especially in cold water environments. As such, it’s important to practice proper wetsuit care. Whether you are surfing in San Diego or Oregon, you are likely wearing a wetsuit year-round.

In this article, I’ll share tips on how to take care of your wetsuit, how to clean your wetsuit, and info on how long will a wetsuit last.

Read on for proper wetsuit care in order to extend the life of your wetsuit! After all, they aren’t cheap!

How to Take Care of your Wetsuit?

As mentioned, proper wetsuit care is super important. If you don’t take care of it, you are literally losing money. On average, a wetsuit from a brand like Ripcurl will cost $200-$400. If you need multiple wetsuits like I do for different seasons and different ocean temperatures throughout the year, the bill adds up. In this section, I’ll share a few simple proper wetsuit care tips in order to extend the life of your wetsuit.

  1. Always hose down your wetsuit with fresh water after each session to remove salt residue (a full wetsuit cleaning will be covered later).
  2. Get a surf changing mat to avoid your wetsuit scraping or laying on the ground when changing. Otherwise, you will wear your wetsuit out.
  3. Avoid hanging your drying wetsuit in direct sun exposure for long periods. Store in a cool dry place.
  4. Get a drying rack to hang your wetsuit on like the one pictured below. Do not use a closet hanger – this will stretch your wetsuit!
how to take care of your wetsuit
A drying rack will help your wetsuit last longer

These simple and proper wetsuit care tips will help extend the life of any wetsuit and save you a few bucks. This wetsuit care should be practiced regularly. Occasionally, you should thoroughly clean your wetsuit. More on cleaning your wetsuit in the next section.

How to Clean your Wetsuit?

At times, it’s important to thoroughly clean your wetsuit, more than just a freshwater rinse. Generally, I do a thorough cleaning of my wetsuits only once a year. This is because I have a winter wetsuit and a summer wetsuit, so they are in storage for half of the year. If you are wearing the same wetsuit year-round, I recommend cleaning your wetsuit at least twice year. My regimen on how to clean your wetsuit is below:

  1. Buy some Piss Off – it’s a wetsuit shampoo and conditioner made by Rip Curl for cleaning wetsuits.
  2. Pour a cap full of Piss Off into a bathtub and fill half-way.
  3. Soak your wetsuit in the bathtub for 15 minutes allowing the soap and bubbles to soak through. Turn your wetsuit inside out halfway through to ensure both sides are thoroughly soaked.
  4. Remove your wetsuit from the tub and hang dry on a drying rack like the one above.
how to clean your wetsuit
A bathtub is an easy way to soak and clean your wetsuit

The reason it’s important to do a deep clean of your wetsuit is to really rinse out that salt, pee, and other residues that gather up over time. Rather than allowing those agents to eat away at your neoprene year around, this will strip them away. Thus, you can further extend its life through proper wetsuit care. Read on to learn on average, how long a wetsuit will last.

How Long will a Wetsuit Last?

With proper wetsuit care, you can easily extend the life of your wetsuit.

Without proper wetsuit care, you will probably get one year out of a wetsuit before it’s starts stretching, fading, and tearing at the seams. However, if you know how to take care of your wetsuit and how to clean your wetsuit, you will easily double its life expectancy!

These averages are for someone who surfs several days a week over the course of a year. However, if you surf more infrequently – your wetsuit will last longer. Another way to make your wetsuit last longer is to have multiple wetsuits for different seasons. For example, a winter wetsuit for winter months and spring/summer suit for warmer months. If the water temp allows, wear board shorts when you are able.

The following guide will help you choose the best wetsuit for surfing.

In summary, by cycling through wetsuits based on the season and following the proper wetsuit care tips in this article, you will get a lot more bang from each wetsuit purchase!

Final Words on Proper Wetsuit Care

Clean your wetsuit, care for your wetsuit and you’ll save yourself money 🙂 Hopefully, you have learned how to take care of your wetsuit properly!

For further tips on buying, using, and maintaining the best surf gear, please consider subscribing below.

how long will a wetsuit last
Don’t be a Kook, take care of your wetsuit!


  • Gavin Bechtold

    Gavin has been living and surfing in San Diego for over a decade. He loves the ocean and is lucky to call San Diego home. Frustrated with mainstream reviews, he set out to create the best source of surf reviews for San Diego beaches. Check the About page for more info!