A wetsuit keeps you warm and comfy in cold and windy conditions. It saves your skin from the sun. It allows you to stay in the water longer than you would have thought possible.
And in return, what do you do? Rinse it out in fresh water? After all of the exposure to the elements, the pushing and pulling it off in the sand and on the asphalt, you think a simple rinse will do it? Let’s not even get into the whole peeing in the wetsuit thing (yes, you do, ya liar).
Let’s give the proper respect to the most required piece of gear second only to your surfboard, the mighty wetsuit, and give it a proper cleaning.
Wetsuit Cleaning 101
Cleaning your wetsuit is not like your everyday laundry work. It requires detergents specifically made for the job. This is because your wetsuit is predominantly made of neoprene which is a synthetic rubber. The chemical composition of neoprene makes it require specific shampoo and cleaners that will clean your wetsuit without damaging it.
There are many wetsuit shampoos and cleaner brands to choose from. We’ll walk you through the short list of our favourite wetsuit cleaners to make sure you give your wetsuit a good olde washing.
What Is Wetsuit Cleaner Shampoo?
A good wetsuit cleaner is a gentle cleanser specially formulated to help clean your wetsuit without damaging the neoprene. Ideal wetsuit cleaner contains ingredients that are biodegradable, alcohol-free and gentle on your skin and on the neoprene. It has antibacterial chemical ingredients which safely removes bacteria and salt from your wetsuit after surf session.
Why Do You Need A Wetsuit Cleaner?
We already established that peeing in your wetsuit and not giving it a proper cleaning is wetsuit abuse, but let’s give a wee bit color (here comes the zinger) that is not yellow.
A wetsuit cleaner is uniquely designed to remove the salt, sand, bacteria and all the micro-organisms that come with daily activity of being in the ocean. It does this without damaging the neoprene used in making your wetsuit. No other detergent does this better than a wetsuit cleaner.
Additionally, a wetsuit cleaner is gentle on your skin. Other laundry detergents may react with the salty waters of the ocean and cause some skin irritation. This is the last thing you want as a surfer.
Can You Use Laundry Detergent To Wash A Wetsuit?
No, you should not use ordinary laundry detergent to wash your wetsuit. This may be a double jeopardy for both you and your wetsuit. The chemical ingredients in laundry detergent make it harsh on neoprene and to your skin as well.
Do I Need To Rinse A Wetsuit?
Yes, always rinse your wetsuit with fresh water after using it.
But we are going a step further with a deep clean. After washing your wetsuit with shampoo and cleaner, you should rinse it in clean, salt-free water to take off all the sand, salt and also the detergent.
Can You Machine Wash A Wetsuit?
First you pee in, then you drag it in the sand, then to finish it off you want to wash it in in a washing machine? What kind of sicko are you? No, you DO NOT wash a wetsuit in a washing machine and you sure as heck don’t dry it in the drier either.
Machine washing is not good for your wetsuit. It wears out neoprene much faster than hand washing. Putting it in the drier will melt the glue that keeps those seams sealed up.
Using machine to wash or dry your suit is the best way to prematurely retire you wetsuit
How Can I Stop My Wetsuit From Smelling?
Before you know whether or not you can stop your wetsuit from smelling, you need to understand what makes it smell.
Neoprene is not a breathable material. This means it traps the sweat, urine, dirt and body oil inside. This can be made worse if you store a wetsuit in damp places without drying it.
Wetsuit smell can be stopped by a series of routine cleaning steps. First of all, rinse your wetsuit after each use. You want to rinse off both the inside and outside. Then hand it to dry in a shaded area. Do not leave it in direct sunlight.
Next, give old faithful a dedicated deep cleaning every so often. Once a month should do it, depending on how much you use it. If you are in the water every day, maybe every two weeks will work. The trick is to get in front on stink and the build-up of grime. OK, Let’s get into the best wetsuit cleaners.
Wetsuit Cleaners & Shampoos For Surfers
You didn't find this page by accident. Get some wetsuit cleaner.
Open Road Goods Wetsuit Cleaner
It is not a surprise that Open Road Good Wetsuit Cleaner is our choice for the best wetsuit cleaner. Its magnificent little white bottle package brings you this all-natural, non-toxic, citrus-scented neoprene shampoo and conditioner. It cleans, conditions, disinfects and deodorizes your gear in a record 5 minutes! Not every wetsuit cleaner will do this.
It is a biodegradable product that has an awesome restoration, softening, and deodorizing effect on your wetsuit. It’s a great all-in-one solution.
Rip Curl Piss Off Wetsuit Shampoo
This biodegradable wetsuit disinfectant comes in a 250 ml package. It is an outstanding conditioner and shampoo all in one.
It will keep your wetsuit and other neoprene-made gear like gloves, rash vest and boots stretchy and fresh. The biodegradable nature of Rip Curl Piss Off shampoo makes it a very environmentally friendly option.
It is an amazing choice for a stinky, pissy wetsuit. This antimicrobial disinfectant is the surfer’s choice for getting rid of that odor caused by pee, dirt, sand, and bodily oils and plain old nastiness.
Other Wetsuit Cleaners & Shampoos
O'Neill Wetsuit Cleaner and Conditioner
O'Neill Wetsuit Cleaner and Conditioner is one of the best there is in the market when it comes to extending your gear’s lifespan.
This non-toxic, biodegradable cold water activated conditioner smells great and is excellent in restoring the functions of your wetsuit even after long term storage.
Sink The Stink Wetsuit Cleaner
Sink The Stink Wetsuit Cleaner is designed to take care of stink. It simply sinks that stink (we went there). This synergistic formula has bacteria cultures that kill the odor. These special bacteria are activated when you dilute this concentration in warm water.
Don't just clean and condition your wetsuit but get rid of the stink with one wash. De-stink it as they say.
Gear Aid Wetsuit Cleaner and Conditioner
This concentrated shampoo is uniquely formulated to gently remove residue, salt and bacteria from your neoprene wetsuit. It is a great choice for all your rubber and plastic water-sports equipment.
It leaves your wetsuit reconditioned, supple and smelling fresher than a daisy after a summer rain. Minimally, your suit doesn’t smell like a fish died it in.
That’s it groms. That wraps up our review of the best wetsuit shampoos and cleaners. We do hope that this helps you and your wetsuit be less stinky