How Well Does a Chlorine Resistant Wetsuit Really Work?

Jörg Matzdorff
Jörg Matzdorff

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When considering investing in the perfect wetsuit that meets all your water sport needs, a myriad of questions arises: What size wetsuit do I need? Which color is optimal for a wetsuit? How much does a wetsuit cost? What thickness should my wetsuit have? How long does a wetsuit last, and ultimately, does a chlorine resistant wetsuit truly deliver when it counts? While the initial questions concern any athlete seeking their ideal wetsuit, only a select few must worry about wearing the wetsuit in a swimming pool. If you are one of them, we will get to the bottom of this one specific question today. 

In this article, you will get answers to the following questions:

  • Why does chlorine harm your wetsuit?
  • How well do wetsuit, swimming pool and chlorine get along?
  • Are chlorine resistant wetsuits a myth?
  • What does a chlorine resistant wetsuit cost?

Wetsuit, Swimming Pool, Chlorine: A Dangerous Combination

Chlorine, a common disinfectant used in swimming pools, serves a vital role in maintaining water hygiene by eradicating harmful bacteria and viruses. 

However, its potent chemical properties can wreak havoc on certain materials, including neoprene – the primary component of wetsuits. When you wear your wetsuit in a pool over longer periods or repeatedly, neoprene may deteriorate.

What happens to a Wetsuit in Chlorine Water?

Is your wetsuit exposed to chlorine it can lead to several negative consequences for it and you, including material degradation, color fading, weakened seams and zippers, skin irritation, reduced insulation and buoyancy, and a shortened lifespan. 

The corrosive nature of chlorine can break down the neoprene material over time, causing it to lose its elasticity and structural integrity. This degradation not only affects the performance and durability of the wetsuit but also compromises the comfort and safety of the wearer.

  • Chlorine Oxidation: Chlorine, in its various forms such as hypochlorite acid and hypochlorite ions, acts as a powerful oxidizing agent. When neoprene comes into contact with chlorine, oxidation reactions occur, leading to the breakdown of chemical bonds within the neoprene polymer chains. This process weakens the structure of the neoprene and contributes to material degradation.
  • Color Fading: Chlorine can also impact the colorants used in wetsuit fabrics. The oxidizing properties of chlorine can break down the organic molecules responsible for the vibrant colors, leading to color fading and a dull appearance over time.
  • Weakened Seams and Zippers: The aggressive nature of chlorine can weaken the stitching and materials used for seams and zippers in wetsuits. This weakening makes the wetsuit more susceptible to structural failure, such as seam separations and zipper malfunctions, which compromise the integrity of the suit.
  • Skin Irritation: Chlorine-damaged neoprene may release chemical byproducts or residues that can irritate the skin upon contact. Very similar to wetsuit rashes, this can lead to discomfort, itching, and even allergic reactions in some individuals, particularly those with sensitive skin.
  • Buoyancy and Insulation Reduction: As the neoprene material deteriorates due to chlorine exposure, its ability to provide insulation and buoyancy diminishes. This can result in reduced thermal protection and decreased buoyant force, eliminating almost the whole reason why to wear a wetsuit in the water.

Is it possible to Repair a Chlorine-Damaged Wetsuit?

Repairing chlorine-damaged wetsuits is possible to some extent, depending on the severity of the damage. However, it’s essential to understand that while repairs can address certain issues, they may not fully restore the wetsuit to its original condition or performance level. 

While seams and zippers can be replaced, holes can be patched, and the color can be re-dyed, treating the damage the neoprene material of the wetsuit has suffered, is a bit trickier.

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Attention! In some cases, particularly if the damage is extensive or the wetsuit is nearing the end of its lifespan, investing in a replacement may be the most practical option.

When simply washing your wetsuit with cold water after each use is not enough, various neoprene conditioning and rejuvenation products are available on the market, designed to nourish and revitalize chlorine-damaged neoprene. 

These products typically contain ingredients that help soften the neoprene, restore elasticity, and improve overall durability.

Doesn’t Saltwater harm Neoprene too?

Yes, saltwater can also have some negative effects on neoprene, although the extent of damage is typically less severe compared to chlorine exposure.

Corrosion from the salt minerals contained in the water, abrasion from sand and sediment, drying out, salt crystallization and fading colors are all inevitable consequences of exposing your wetsuit to the water of the ocean. 

But with the right care and maintenance, these effects are by far not as fatal as the contact with harsh chemicals, such as chlorine.


Rinsing wetsuits with fresh water after each use, avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, and storing wetsuits in a cool, dry place can help preserve the integrity and performance of neoprene materials over time, even in saltwater environments. 

What is a Chlorine Resistant Wetsuit?

Luckily, science offers, at least in most cases, easy solutions for problems like the incompatibility of wetsuit and chlorine. To address these challenges, manufacturers have developed chlorine resistant wetsuits by incorporating specialized materials and treatments. 

These wetsuits may feature neoprene blends that are more resistant to chlorine degradation, coatings, or laminates that provide additional protection against chlorine exposure, and reinforced construction techniques to enhance durability in chlorinated water.

A chlorine resistant wetsuit is constructed using materials and techniques that offer enhanced durability and longevity in chlorinated environments, reducing the effects of chlorine damage on the wetsuit’s performance and lifespan. However, they cannot completely eliminate the damage 100 percent.

What Makes the Wetsuit Chlorine Resistant?

While a normal wetsuit can fulfil her tasks up to ten years when cared for, the contact with harsh chemicals like chlorine can shorten the lifespan of your wetsuit radically. 

To counter this effect, manufacturers developed multiple solutions against the negative influence of chlorine.

The chlorine resistance of a wetsuit primarily comes from the materials and construction techniques used during its manufacturing process. Whether it is a special coating or the use of a high quality neoprene — the process provenly helps mitigate the effects of chlorine exposure.

Specialized Materials

Chlorine-resistant wetsuits are typically crafted from specialized materials specifically chosen for their ability to withstand exposure to chlorinated water. The primary material used in chlorine-resistant wetsuits is neoprene, a synthetic rubber known for its excellent insulation and flexibility.

Wetsuits constructed primarily from high-quality neoprene tend to offer superior chlorine resistance and longevity in chlorinated environments compared to wetsuits made from other materials such as Lycra, nylon, or spandex.

High-quality neoprene is often crafted from superior raw materials sourced from reputable suppliers. These materials undergo rigorous testing to ensure consistency, purity, and optimal performance.


By picking a higher wetsuit thickness, your wetsuit gets more resilience against external influences, such as chlorine, too. 

Chemical Coatings

Additionally, some chlorine-resistant wetsuits undergo chemical treatments or coatings to bolster their resistance to chlorine damage. Such treatments may encompass the application of protective layers or finishes on the wetsuit fabric, impeding chlorine from breaking down the material over time.

Some common types of coatings used on a chlorine resistant wetsuit include:

  • Polyurethane (PU) coating
  • Neoprene sealants
  • Nano coatings
  • UV protective coatings

PU coatings, just like nano coatings, are frequently applied to the outer layer of neoprene wetsuits to provide added durability and water resistance. These coatings can also enhance the wetsuit’s resistance to chlorine.

Some chlorine resistant wetsuits feature neoprene sealants applied to critical seams and areas of high wear. And, additionally, some chlorine resistant wetsuits may also receive UV protective coatings to shield the neoprene material from damage caused by sunlight exposure. 

Robust Construction

Robust construction is a key feature of high-quality wetsuits, especially those designed to be chlorine resistant.

Chlorine resistant wetsuits often feature reinforced seams to enhance durability and prevent water leakage. These seams may be:  

  • glued
  • blind-stitched
  • or sealed with seam tape 

to provide extra strength and resilience in chlorinated environments.

Typically, high-quality stitching techniques are used, such as: 

  • flatlock stitching 
  • or overlock stitching

to ensure, seams remain secure and resistant to unraveling, even after prolonged exposure to chlorine.

High-quality zippers and fasteners are essential components of robust wetsuit construction. Chlorine resistant wetsuits typically feature corrosion-resistant zippers and reinforced fasteners to ensure they remain secure and functional, even with frequent use in chlorinated water.

Design Considerations

Chlorine resistant wetsuits often feature reinforced neoprene panels in areas prone to wear and tear, such as the knees, elbows, and seat. Thicker neoprene or additional layers of material provide extra protection against abrasion and degradation from chlorinated water.

Strategic paneling in chlorine resistant wetsuits aims to strike a balance between durability, flexibility, insulation, and buoyancy

By carefully designing the placement and composition of neoprene panels, manufacturers can create wetsuits that offer superior performance and longevity in chlorinated environments, while ensuring comfort and mobility for the wearer.

Stringent Testing

Manufacturers subject their wetsuits to rigorous testing protocols to assess their performance, durability, and resistance to chlorine exposure. Wetsuits undergo controlled exposure to chlorinated water in laboratory settings to simulate real-world conditions.

Further tests include:

  • Durability testing, assessing the resistance to wear and tear
  • Performance testing, checking the performance in water, including buoyancy, insulation, and flexibility
  • Seam integrity testing, ensuring they remain watertight and resistant to chlorine degradation
  • Visual inspections, dimensional measurements, and material analysis to verify compliance with specifications and standards

Once testing is complete, chlorine resistant wetsuits that meet or exceed performance standards may be certified by regulatory bodies or industry organizations. Certification provides assurance to consumers that the wetsuit has undergone rigorous testing and meets the necessary criteria for chlorine resistance and overall quality.

Is a Chlorine Resistant Wetsuit Worth it?

Whether a chlorine resistant wetsuit is worth it depends on your specific needs. Here are some factors to consider when determining if a chlorine resistant wetsuit is worth the investment.

  • Frequency of Pool Use: Would a normal wetsuit be enough?
  • Performance and Comfort: Do you require a wetsuit in the swimming pool?
  • Peace of Mind: Does it give you comfort to be prepared for an eventual pool visit?
  • Costs: Is it better to invest in a potentially more expensive chlorine resistant wetsuit, or to replace damaged normal wetsuits regularly?

How Much Does a Chlorine Resistant Wetsuit Cost?

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 or more for a chlorine resistant wetsuit. 

Entry-level or budget-friendly options may be available at the lower end of this price range, while high-end or premium models with advanced features and technology may fall towards the higher end.

  • Wetsuit brands known for their quality and innovation may command higher prices for their chlorine resistant models.
  • The type and quality of materials used in the construction of the wetsuit can significantly impact its cost. High-performance neoprene blends and specialized coatings or laminates designed for chlorine resistance may contribute to a higher price tag.
  • Wetsuits with advanced design features, such as seamless construction, strategic paneling for enhanced flexibility, and specialized reinforcements for durability, may be priced higher than basic models.
  • Wetsuits with thicker neoprene for added warmth or extended coverage for full-body protection may be more expensive than thinner or less coverage options.
  • Some chlorine resistant wetsuits may incorporate additional technologies or features, such as thermal linings, UV protection, or hydrophobic coatings, which can increase the cost.

An entry-level non chlorine resistant wetsuit typically ranges from $50 to $150. These wetsuits are usually made from standard neoprene materials. They offer basic features suitable for occasional recreational use.

Ultimately, the cost of a chlorine resistant wetsuit is an investment in quality, durability, and performance, and it’s essential to consider your specific needs and budget when choosing the right option for you.

Who can Benefit From a Chlorine Resistant Wetsuit?

Several individuals and groups can benefit from using a chlorine resistant wetsuit. Wetsuits in pools might not be as common as out in the open water, but can still bring a lot of benefits

  • protection from chlorine
  • thermal insulation
  • support of your muscles
  • preparation for outdoor performances under similar conditions
  • additional buoyancy

Those points make wearing a chlorine resistant wetsuit attractive for multiple swimming pool users. Whether you are a professional athlete, competitive swimmer, or recreational enthusiast

Individuals who participate in water aerobics classes or aquatic fitness activities, people undergoing aquatic therapy or rehabilitation in chlorinated pools, or divers and snorkelers preparing for open water dives can benefit from chlorine resistant wetsuits.

Swim instructors who spend extended periods teaching lessons in chlorinated pools can benefit from chlorine resistant wetsuits. These wetsuits offer durability and reliability, enduring the demands of frequent pool use and providing comfort throughout teaching sessions.


But just because your wetsuit is more chlorine resistant doesn’t mean you can neglect a thorough maintenance and care routine after each use! Knowing how to wash your chlorine resistant wetsuit is essential to ensure its performance.

By taking care of your gear, washing it, drying it the right way, and repairing it or having it repaired when needed, you not only save yourself immense costs and the frustration over malfunctioning equipment. You also help save nature from unnecessary waste of resources and pollution.

Environmental pollution and water sports are two topics that go hand in hand. Any surfer who went looking for the most beautiful surf paradises on earth, only to find it overrun by waves of rubbish, knows that quality is often the better alternative to quantity. 

Are Chlorine Resistant Wetsuits Suitable for Other Water Activities?

Chlorine resistant wetsuits are typically made with durable materials that can withstand harsher conditions. Using them in non-chlorinated environments should not significantly affect their durability or lifespan.

While chlorine resistant wetsuits are optimized for chlorinated water, they can still provide insulation and protection in non-chlorinated environments. However, their performance characteristics, such as buoyancy and flexibility, may not be specifically tailored for these conditions.

Some wetsuits may have specific features or coatings designed for use in chlorinated water. While using them in non-chlorinated environments won’t necessarily harm the wetsuit, it’s essential to check for any manufacturer recommendations or guidelines regarding usage.

Can a chlorine resistant wetsuit completely eliminate the effects of chlorine damage?

While chlorine resistant wetsuits offer increased resistance to chlorine damage compared to regular wetsuits, they cannot completely eliminate the effects of chlorine exposure. 

Prolonged exposure to chlorinated water can still have some impact on the wetsuit over time. However, chlorine resistant wetsuits are designed to withstand this exposure more effectively, providing enhanced durability and longevity in chlorinated environments. 

Proper care and maintenance, such as rinsing the wetsuit with fresh water after each use and storing it away from direct sunlight, can help minimize the effects of chlorine damage and prolong the lifespan of the wetsuit.


A chlorine resistant wetsuit is specially designed to withstand exposure to chlorinated water, such as swimming pools, offering enhanced durability and longevity compared to regular wetsuits. These wetsuits are constructed using specialized materials, that help mitigate the effects of chlorine damage, while providing you with comfort, performance, and peace of mind.

While chlorine resistant wetsuits cannot completely eliminate the effects of chlorine exposure, they provide increased resistance and protection. Proper care and maintenance, along with adherence to manufacturer guidelines, are essential for getting the most out of your chlorine resistant wetsuits. Overall, if you are reflecting on how to buy the perfect wetsuit, and your training requires wearing it in a pool, the investment in a chlorine resistant wetsuit is definitely worth being considered. 

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Jörg Matzdorff
Jörg Matzdorff

Outdoor and surfing enthusiast.