Exposure Suit Preparation & Maintenance
Unlike body suits and wet suits, dry suits sometimes require special preparation before use however this varies widely depending on the manufacturer so it is best to refer to the guide which you get with your dry suit so ensure you prepare it correctly.
There our four basic steps to preserving the life-length of whichever exposure suit you choose. These simple maintenance tips will help to preserve the quality, and therefore the performance, of your suit. Look after them properly, after all they look after you in the water.
1. Rinse thoroughly after each use.
This is especially important if you have been diving in the sea, as salt water can cause neoprene to lose its flexibility which would make it stiff and difficult to get into next time you wanted to wear it. Also, neoprene (which is what the majority of exposure suits are made from) can create nasty smells if unwashed. Unlike smaller bits of equipment such as your mask, snorkel, gloves and boots, you can’t very conveniently soak your whole suit in a tank of fresh water after use. You can get special suit shampoos to maintain the cleanliness and freshness of your suit although a simple baby shampoo will do the same job, only shampoo every few uses.
2. Dry inside-out.
Before storing, your suit should be hung up to dry thoroughly (both inside and out). It is best to turn the suit inside out, to whatever extent possible; this may prove more difficult with certain suits. Allow to dry at room temperature. Never try to wring out exposure suits as the neoprene materials used to make them consist of lots of tiny bubbles which are what helps to insulate you; wringing the material may cause damage to these and therefore affect the performance of the suit.
3. Store correctly.
It is recommended that you hang your wetsuit up for proper storage. Store it, like other diving equipment, in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Also avoid folding or creasing your suit as this can cause damage to the material. Similarly, wire hangers can cause creases so if you are going to hand it up, use a broad-shouldered hanger made from plastic or wood, not metal
4. Lubricate zippers periodically.
Modern suit zippers will seldom need lubrication if you rinse the properly after use. But should they become stiff, the zips on wet suits and dry suits can be lubricated with a special zipper wax. Take especially good care of dry suit zippers in particular to ensure they remain waterproof for use. If you take good care of your zipper, it can last for years.
Should you have a tear or minor breakage to your wetsuit, these can usually be easily repaired with special dive proof tapes or glues. For dry suits however, a tear will usually mean they are no longer good for use and may have to be sent away for special repair, or replaced if beyond repair.