wetsuit cleaning?

Left my wet wetsuit and neo boots in the trunk after paddling and now I’m terrified to wear them,l they smell a bit rank. Any suggestions on cleaning these (fresh water paddler here)?

Use a bucket or your tub

– Last Updated: Oct-09-06 12:40 PM EST –

NRS sells a wetsuit shampoo that works pretty well. Just soak the suit in the tub or bucket for about 20 minutes and rinse with cold water. Mild anti-bacterial shampoo will work in a pinch. I usually just rinse my wetsuit with a hose or in the shower every time I wear it then every couple of weeks give it a thorough cleaning. It smells OK to me but my wife has banished it to the garage.

The booties are a different matter. I use a hose for flushing them. Mix white vinegar about 10/1 with water(real bad I go full strength but be carfule it may dissolve adhesives in the booties) and rinse them out with the solution, let it stand in them for about a half hour, then rinse them out with the wet suit shampoo or anti-bacterial dish detergent. Wash out thoroughly let them dry so they can drain outside in the sun. Booties are always going to smell a bit . I always hose mine out every time I wear them then give them the vinegar treatment about once a month.

Shower it
When I get home from paddling I rinse the salt of my gear with the hose, then hop in the shower wash off the salt and while I’m there I give the wetsuit a quick rinse with the shower. Leave it on a plastic hanger on the shower curtain rod, and put it away the next day.

works well. We’ve used it on our dive gear for years. Soak and rinse.

Have fun,


Wetsuit shampoo source
Wetsuit shampoo can also be purchased at most shops which carry diving suits/equipment.

To keep from having “hanger” creases on your wetsuits, use padded hangers. These were recommended by a sales person at the local dive shop. I also use them for my Hydroskins, dry top and paddling jacket. Wire or plastic hangers can also create a breakdown of materials at the crease line if weight is left on them too long. Plus, the padded hangers will not leave or cause rust marks on fabric.

To dry the insides of my boots, I cut fairly stiff cardboard about 4-6 inches high X the fit around the inside of my knee high Chotas. This keeps the calf area from falling over and allows air to get inside for drying purposes. I also use this method with my ‘over the ankle’ paddling shoes. It helps to dry them out faster.

For the booties or Mukluks,
get an inexpensive boot warmer. It really gets rid of the odor.

once again…
…thanks for all the advice.

Instead of cardboard
Try using a 3-4’" piece of PVC pipe. Works great, lasts forever.