Preventing neoprene stink

I used to just rinse my wetsuits off with fresh water, perhaps with a little bit of soap or shampoo sometimes. That was OK but I still noticed some lingering sour-sweat odor, albeit faint.

This year I’ve been washing them–plus booties–after every use with a little laundry detergent, “ALL small & Mighty” in particular. No more remnants of sweat smell.

Now, why has nobody mentioned regular laundry detergent as an effective cleaner before? Whenever this question comes up, Sink the Stink and other specialized products are recommended. Yet ordinary detergent that you already have in the house and costs less works just fine.

Post-wash drying method remains the same as before: I hang wetsuits up on a wetsuit hanger that opens up the insides to air more than regular hangers do. These are well worth the money.

an ounce of prevention
Simple Green works well too.

I mention it every each time I answer

– Last Updated: Jul-09-12 10:20 PM EST –

this question or say Dish soap works too.

I also say to put the soap in then wear the booties for a bit before you rinse out.

Take a swim in the Poudre.
I heard it’s black with activated charcoal from the fires.

With all
my scuba stuff I used Woolite. I know people that sprayed their scuba stuff with Febreeze and left it at that.

Be careful
"Regular" washing detergent can have all sorts of additives-oxidizers, surfactants, enzymes- to get nasty stains out. Not knowing what the interaction is between an oxidizer and wetsuit materials, I will just stick to technical clothing soap such as sport wash, which is much cheaper than Tek-Wash.

Also, I think you may be miserable if you dont rinse the wetsuit thoroughly and excess detergent remains.

On a side note, the new front loading washing machines which have a gentle cycle seem to work well for wet suits.

Sink The Stink
Available in scuba shops. I don’t know how it does it, but it really works.

I put the detergent drops in the booties, add hot water, and hold the bootie tops closed while I vigorously shake them. Then let sit a few minutes, repeat the agitation, and rinse.

Walking around in the sudsed booties probably has a similar effect.

As well as nasty runoff constituents
Clear Creek at Golden was an opaque brown yesterday, unlike its usual enticing clearness. Flows were up, so I paddled but I made sure not to push the “capsize” risk. I didn’t want to put my head in it. Especially after a couple of small tree branches floated by. I think that’s the first time I didn’t roll at all, since normally I do a few practice rolls early on to help me get in the right mind frame.

Haven’t had trouble with it
The label says the detergent is safe for use with hand-washables. I rinse thoroughly. The thing to stay away from is bleach.

I don’t how to avoid the stink, but when it happens after washing the garmet, I soak it in a 50% vinegar/water solution for a day or 2. Even my really stinky neporene wetshoes came out smelling just fine.

just soak & rinse well
dunk it all in the laundry tub as soon as I get back. Rinse thoroughly. Always hand wash. True for booties, wetsuit, skirt and assorted neoprene gear.

Then place to dry out of sunlight. I use a short wooden rack like ppl dry towels on.

Every 5th use or so they get a short dunk w. McNett’s shampoo for wetsuits/drysuits. Rinse and dry as above.

Woolite is OK in a pinch. I’ve used it, and Simple Green (very diluted) too.

Using them, or worse, a detergent or dish soap, over time will deteriorate the glued seams. My gear is all 5 years moderate to hard use 10 months a year, and looks great.

I got these tips from people who own a longtime local scuba shop. They sell and rent a lot of neoprene gear. I figure they would know.

Stink tank
As a diver for years, I never did anything more than a fresh water rinse. But booties seem to smell as long as there is moisture there. It seems once totally dry, any oder is gone. I just think it takes much longer for the booties to dry. A little detergent will help but I really don’t know how much you’re accomplishing. When I say no oder, I wouldn’t want to sleep with my booties but once dry, they’re not driving the neighbors away.

special tip for booties
wearing even a thin sock layer traps the dead skin cells the feet shed… that’s the source of most of the odor.

In summer months I use a thin bamboo sock. Naturally microbial and dries quickly compared to other materials. In colder weather Smartwool.

It really works.

Then a good soak and rinse takes care of rest of it. Esp. stinky mud from rivers and boggy areas is worth a shot of Simple Green.

Boot drier.
I bought a boot drier to dry my booties and it works great. When they get a little ripe, I add some baking soda after they are dry.

Wash with fresh water, then
a boot dryer and then a clothes dryer fabric softner “sheet” stuffed inside boot after it’s dry = no odor