There are several different types of materials used in wetsuits to achieve specific functions. It is helpful to better understand each of these materials in order to properly care for them.
With any of the skin surfaces including Thermo-skin, care should be taken when donning the wetsuit to not snag the interior skin surfaces with a fingernail or toenail as this material can be cut. Avoid placing your wetsuit on or near any hot surfaces.
If you're diving or snorkelling from a beach or the shore, keep your wetsuit up and away from the mud/sand. It's not so comfortable to pull on a sandy wetsuit!
See also, Wetsuit Donning Guide.
The exterior surface of your wetsuit is designed to withstand the normal wear and tear you might encounter during a normal dive. Abrasion against sharp rocks or other sharp objects can cut or puncture the exterior nylon surface so reasonable care should be taken to avoid these situations. Small cuts or tears can be easily repaired with wetsuit glue. Ask your dive professional for assistance.
When removing your wetsuit, first unzip all the zippers completely. Then remove one section at a time taking care to avoid puncturing any of skin surface panels with a fingernail. Also, when you take off your wetsuit, stand on pavement, a rock, your changing bag, grass or anything besides the middle of the sandy beach.
Do not use strong washing agents, such as bleach, when soaking your wetsuit. They are way too harsh for your neoprene wetsuit (not to mention the discoloration that will occur). There are some mild cleansing agents, such as Adrenalin Wetsuit and Gear Wash Concentrate, Gear Aid Revivex Wetsuit and Drysuit Shampoo, and Gear Aid Revivex Odour Eliminator, that you can purchase from . If these specialist products are not available, you can use a mild dish washing detergent.
Adrenalin Wetsuit and Gear Wash Concentrate - 250ml
Our Price: $11
Removes mould, kills germs, deodorises and conditions wetsuit fabric. Regular use will prolong the life of your wetsuit.
Underwater Kinetics Exposure Suit Hanger 5.0
RRP: $63.50, Our Price: $57, You Save $6.50 (10%).
Huge Shoulder areas allow for natural air convection to flow throughout wetsuit and wick away moisture inside and out. Store your wetsuit as long as you like with NO harm from pressure points.
Zippers are designed to be pulled closed or open in a straight line. Try to avoid pulling on the zipper pulls at an excessive angle to their intended path of travel. It is best to ask your dive buddy for zipper assistance in either opening or closing the back-zipper of a one piece back-zipped jumpsuit.
Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner and Lubricant (59ml)
Our Price: $15
Push-pull brush top enables the cleaner to be delivered between the teeth and physically removes harmful dirt, sand, and salt deposits that can damage sensitive zipper components.
As we mentioned above, there are special cleaning soaps and solutions for getting rid of wetsuit odours. Our favourite is:
Gear Aid Revivex Odour Eliminator.
Other choices include:
Gear Aid Revivex Wetsuit and Drysuit Shampoo, and
Adrenalin Wetsuit and Gear Wash Concentrate.
Gear Aid Revivex Odour Eliminator (296ml)
Our Price: $26
A powerful blend of microbes that quickly and easily eliminate odours, so your wetsuit smells fresh and clean again. Instead of covering up odours, naturally occurring microbes remove the bacteria that cause them.
If these products are not available to you for some reason, then here is our recipe for washing smelly wetsuits:
An open cell wetsuit does not have an inner lining which means the rubbery neoprene goes right up against the skin. The porous nature of neoprene creates millions of tiny suction cups that stick to the skin making it impossible for water to get in. With gentle handling and lots of lubrication when doning, spearfishing and freediving open-cell neoprene suits can be a valued and lasting piece of equipment.
Since it is filled with air bubbles, neoprene is weak and tears very easily. Without an inner lining to give it added strength, the neoprene alone becomes very vulnerable to damage. Also, because of the suction-like properties on the inside of the wetsuit, an open cell wetsuit is much harder to put on compared to a closed cell suit which just slides on. Open cell suits require a lubricant to be put on before you slide it on your body. Without plenty of appropriate lubricant, you will not be able to put the wetsuit on without tearing it.
Divers inexperienced with open-cell neoprene suits often rip and tear the open-cell neoprene, usually with fingernails and toenails, when it is being donned and doffed. Even highly experienced divers can tear open-cell neoprene from time to time. Every time you pull the wetsuit on and off, any cut or tear that it may already have has an increased chance to expand and get worse. Avoid using the wetsuit once you notice any cut or tear.
Because it is so easy to cut the open-cell neoprene of your suit, you should always have some neoprene contact cement in your save-a-dive kit. Purchase some neoprene contact cement, and always follow the repair instructions exactly. There are no shortcuts.
Gear Aid Aquaseal + NEO Neoprene Contact Cement (44ml)
Our Price: $24
This is simply the best contact cement/glue designed for repairing open-cell neoprene suits. Wetsuit repair is simple and quick with Aquaseal NEO, previously known as McNett Seal Cement. This black flexible liquid adhesive is formulated to permanently bond with neoprene and other coated materials.
This no-mix open cell neoprene wetsuit glue creates a bond between the neoprene edges so strong that if pulled apart hard enough the neoprene will tear in a different place than the repaired area. This great glue really takes the worry out of tearing your open-cell wetsuit. Being black it matches the colour of open cell neoprene.
The dried glue is flexible so the joint remains flexible. Excess glue is easily rubbed off, and the joint can't be felt against the skin. The tube is convenient working size, and doesn't dry out. The fine nozzle allows direct precise application without a brush.
It's important to follow the repair instructions printed on the package exactly. One tube is good for many repairs over the course of years.
In general, the best open-cell wetsuit repair is to keep it from getting damaged in the first place. So, put your wetsuit on correctly, handle it with care, and never leave it in unsafe areas. As long as threats are surrounding it, such as nails, rocks, and reefs, your wetsuit may at one point get damaged.
Need a new wetsuit? Take a look at the new wetsuits we have available in our dive shop.