How to Put On and Care For Your Wetsuit

July 27, 2014

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Taking care of your triathlon wetsuit is critical to enhancing your wetsuit's longevity and maximizing its performance. This guide will teach you how to put on, clean, store, and repair your wetsuit so that you get the most out of your investment.

Properly Putting On a Wetsuit

Putting on a wetsuit takes patience and time. Give yourself 5-10 minutes. Important items to remember before slipping into your suit:

  • Ensure your fingernails are trimmed.
  • Make sure you are completely dry.
  • The shiny surface goes on the outside.
  • Optional: Before putting on suit, apply anti-chafing spray or another lubricant on your body to make pulling it on and off easier.

The Steps:

  1. Fasten zipper up about an inch before you begin putting on wetsuit. This will make it easier to pull the zipper all the way up once it is on.
    2. Put both feet through the leg holes. One at a time, pull the wetsuit up to your knees. Do not try to pull the wetsuit on in one go. Instead, pull the neoprene in small sections.
    3. Pull your wetsuit up over thighs while still pulling a small amount of neoprene at a time.
    4. Finish pulling your wetsuit up the torso and begin to put arms through each sleeve, one at a time.
    5. While putting on over arms, continue to adjust small amounts of neoprene at a time. Note: Sleeves do not necessarily have to go to your wrist.
    6. Zip the wetsuit up by the long zipper strap and fasten Velcro flap.
    7. Make final adjustments to ensure your comfort. Pull up any excess neoprene on front and back of wetsuit.

Cleaning Your Wetsuit

After each use, perform the following steps to keep your wetsuit in optimal condition and to prevent it from prematurely wearing out:

1. Rinse with cool tap water.
2. Hang over shower rod to completely dry for one day.
3. Turn suit inside out and let it hang for another day.
4. Never use a heat source, like a hair dryer, to dry your wetsuit.

Storing Your Wetsuit

  • Hanging – This is the best way to store it, but only use hangers specifically made for wetsuits to prevent stretching and tearing.
  • Lay Flat – Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
  • Folding – This is not the ideal way to store a suit, but if you have to, follow these steps:
              1. Lay the suit on its stomach and cross the arms over the back.
              2. Bring the legs over the back so the ankles rest on the shoulders.
              3. Fold the entire suit in half so the waist meets the shoulders.
              4. Slide the suit into a bag so it stays properly stowed.

Repairs & Fixes

The most common fix that wetsuits need occurs from a fingernail dig. If left alone, it can turn into a large tear, so you want to take care of it right away. They can be easily fixed at home with a wetsuit repair adhesive.

What you need:

  • Wetsuit cement or wetsuit adhesive (cement is more expensive, but more effective).
  • Small utensil to apply repair substance, such as a small painters brush, an unbent paperclip, or a toothpick.

The Steps:

  1. Fold wetsuit in the spot of the tear. This will open the tear so that the surfaces can be glued back together.
  2. Using a toothpick or brush, apply a thin, even layer of cement or adhesive to both insides of the tear.
  3. Continue to hold surface for a few moments while repair product is still wet; do not close immediately.
  4. Flatten out area and allow tear to close on itself and lightly pinch the surfaces together so that sides of tear stay touching.
  5. For cement, let the wetsuit sit for five minutes to dry completely. Adhesives should be left overnight.
  6. Optional: Apply a very small amount of cement on the crease of the tear line and allow to dry for ten minutes or overnight. NOTE: Wiping cement or adhesive will cause it to smear. Use precision when applying the repair substance.

Take good care of your wetsuit by cleaning it after every use, properly storing it, and repairing small damages before they become worse. Large tears can be prevented by making minor fixes early on and premature wearing can be stopped by properly rinsing off and storing the wetsuit. By following the steps in this guide, your wetsuit will last you for years.

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