How To Clean Neoprene Wetsuits And Booties?

by Laura
(Grinnell, IA, USA)

We are wondering how to properly clean neoprene wetsuits and booties at the end of every day. We have just purchased sturdy dive boots to use on our January snorkeling trip to Bonaire. We are also considering getting thin wetsuit tops. We have Mirazyme for odor elimination. But we're thinking that the neoprene will also hold all kinds of invisible little creatures. We've read various suggestions--wetsuit wash, baby shampoo, Betadine. What works best? What is the most efficient way to use whatever product you recommend (e.g., wash by hand, soak, etc.)? Finally, is it necessary to use Mirazyme if also using a soap?

By the way, your Bonaire Snorkeling Guide eBook is fantastic and we've successfully adopted many of the recommendations on this site, but we're klutzy enough that we decided to go with the dive boots and not the flip flop recommendation!

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Sep 02, 2013
Cleaning Wetsuits....
by: Cary Bennett

We have been traveling with our wetsuits for 3 years now, and we find that rinsing them thoroughly each day after we finish up, in the bathtub of our hotel room, then wringing them in a towel and hanging them to dry works well. If we have a dive shop on site or where we snorkeled, we will utilize the dunk tank after we get out of the water, then rinse back at the room.

We are generally on 1 week trips. After we get home they are the first thing to get unpacked and washed immediately in McNett Wetsuit/Drysuit Shampoo, in our front loading HE washer set on the "Hand Wash" setting (cold water only), then wrung out in a clean towel and hung to air dry.

Our suits remain in nearly new condition. We will be out in Fiji and Tonga for 3 weeks next year and plan to take along some of the wetsuit shampoo to use at the end of each week. The McNett Wetsuit/Drysuit Shampoo is also a conditioner for the neoprene. I highly recommend it.

Sep 02, 2013
Our cleaning routine
by: Dwight

Everyone probably has a little different routine. Personally, I just can't stand donning a suit that smells like mold / mildew.

Rinsing at the end of the day alone just doesn't work for us. Usually by the 2nd or 3rd day, our wetsuits smell completely horrible.

We usually pack along wetsuit hangers, as well as bottles of wetsuit shampoo and mirazyme.

The first day is a good rinse, hang to drip dry for an hour or so (occasionally wringing out the cuff and ankle areas), and then roll up in beach towels (to dry as best possible) before rehanging for the next day.

Every other day we'll hand agitate in warm water with wetsuit shampoo (have used baby shampoo without problems), rinse well, followed by a 30 minute soak in mirazyme solution before a drip dry hang - rolling in towels - and rehanging. The next morning after this routine the suits smell good!

After getting home we follow a similar routine as the previous poster. We got something called a "Hang Air" wetsuit dryer. While it is a little expensive ($50 or so) for what it is, basically a computer fan in a large well designed hanger, the product works great! It blows air down the arms and legs and usually after an overnight hang, the wetsuit is bone dry and ready to store. If the "Hang Air" wasn't so large, I'd probably pack it along with us on our trips. With this device I can see a rinsing only routine being viable.

Happy snorkeling!

Sep 02, 2013
Thanks Much? Booties?
by: Laura in Grinnell, IA

These are both incredibly useful comments. Thanks much to you both for taking the time. What about the boots? We're testing the gear in our local pool, doing a rinse to get rid of chlorine, and then soaking in Mirazyme for a bit. What's the best way to dry boots? Can't do the towel ringing as with a wetsuit. Right side up? Upside down?

A pair pulled out of Mirazyme about 42 hours ago is still wet in toes, despite being in a low humidity spot. We're guessing that this, versus wetsuit with more circulation, is really ripe for,... well,... we don't want to think about it!

Sep 03, 2013
Drying Boots/Booties
by: Cary Bennett

While we do not have the "boot" type booties, in terms of drying them.....perhaps placing them in front of a fan to dry would work.

Or, here's an sweetheart, Gary, travels A LOT and he takes along long sleeve waffle knit shirts to go walking in for exercise when he is on the road. After getting the shirt really sweaty he turns on the television in his room and drapes the shirt over it to let the heat of the TV dry it out.

Perhaps setting the booties up on the top of a TV while it is on would help dry them? Or even setting them right up next to the TV where the heat could help dry them? Just a couple of ideas......

Sep 14, 2013
by: Anonymous

When our booties get smelly, I rinse them in vinegar. Be aware that in Bonaire, the vinegar is different than in North America and can't be used.

Jul 21, 2019
I Love Living by the Ocean
by: Stick Figure

My wetsuit never gets stinky. But my net that I use to catch jellyfish generally reeks after I have a few in there.

I use the same method for all my gear. I have 2 tubs and I let everything soak in there for between 30 minutes to several hours in lukewarm water. I have gloves and booties too, in addition to the suit. I never use any shampoo. The only time my suit had some stains on it was the one time that I did not give it a good wash right after exiting the ocean.

I never ring my suit. I just put it on a regular hanger and run a fan in the bathroom all night. The only gear that remains wet the next day is the bottom of the booties; maybe slightly damp, if even. I never ring any of my gear and never put it in any machine.

I always give everything a fresh water soak as soon as I exit the ocean. So far so good.

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