Wetsuit Care: Learning How to Dry a Wetsuit the Right Way

Jörg Matzdorff
Jörg Matzdorff

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Picture this: The sun woke you up with loving heat and the sound of the ocean makes you jump out of bed enthusiastically. Excited, you are eager to grab your board, throw on your wetsuit and jump into the waves. But oh no, the good mood comes to a harsh end as your wetsuit greets you not warm, dry, and perfectly fitting, but cold, soggy, smelly, and resistant to even let you in. Yes, we know, it’s not the most glamorous part of the water sports experience, but mastering the art of wetsuit drying can make all the difference in the comfort and performance you need to have a great session.

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

  • What is the best way to dry a wetsuit?
  • How long does it take for a wetsuit to dry?
  • How to dry a wetsuit indoors?
  • How to hang a wetsuit to dry?

Why is it so Important to Know How to Dry a Wetsuit?

Properly drying a wetsuit is crucial for several reasons during water sports activities. When a wetsuit is damp or waterlogged, it can feel cold, clammy, and heavy against the skin. This not only detracts from the overall enjoyment of the experience but can also lead to discomfort and distraction while in the water.

Losing Comfort

A damp wetsuit can cause a wetsuit rash, particularly in areas where the material rubs against the skin, such as the neck, underarms, and knees. Additionally, the presence of moisture can create a sensation of chilliness, making it harder to stay warm, especially in colder water conditions.

By ensuring that your wetsuit is thoroughly dried between uses, you can avoid these discomforts and enjoy a more pleasant and comfortable experience in the water.

Dry neoprene feels warmer and more supple against the skin, allowing you to move freely and focus on your activity without being distracted by feelings of cold or dampness.

Odor Prevention

When a wetsuit remains damp or moist for an extended period, it creates an ideal environment for microorganisms like bacteria and mildew to thrive, resulting in the characteristic “wetsuit smell” that many water sports enthusiasts are familiar with.

By thoroughly drying your wetsuit after each use, you remove moisture from the neoprene material, depriving bacteria and mildew of the conditions they need to multiply. This helps to prevent the development of foul odors and ensures that your gear remains fresh and hygienic between sessions.

Additionally, proper wetsuit drying is crucial for eliminating any lingering saltwater residue, which can contribute to odor buildup over time. Rinsing your wetsuit with fresh water and allowing it to dry completely helps to remove salt and other contaminants, reducing the risk of unpleasant smells developing.

Lack of Durability

Neoprene, the material most wetsuits are made of, is highly durable, but it can degrade over time if not cared for properly.

Dampness and prolonged exposure to saltwater can accelerate this degradation process, causing the neoprene to lose its elasticity, become brittle, and develop tears or cracks. Additionally, bacteria and mildew thrive in damp environments, further compromising the integrity of the material.


If you plan to wear your wetsuit in a swimming pool, make sure to be extra careful, since chlorine can destroy neoprene even faster if not cleaned and dried correctly.

By thoroughly drying your wetsuit after each use, you remove moisture from the neoprene, preventing it from weakening and deteriorating.

This helps to maintain the wetsuit’s flexibility, strength, and overall structural integrity, ensuring that it remains capable of providing the warmth, protection, and buoyancy you rely on during water sports activities.

Performance Issues

Properly drying your wetsuit is directly linked to its performance in the water. When a wetsuit is damp or waterlogged, it can negatively impact your ability to perform.

●  Flexibility: Damp neoprene can feel stiff and restrictive, limiting your range of motion and agility in the water.

●  Buoyancy: Waterlogged neoprene can become heavy and cumbersome, making it more difficult to stay on the surface and impacting your ability to maneuver effectively.

●  Warmth: Damp wetsuits conduct heat away from your body more efficiently, increasing the risk of hypothermia and reducing your endurance and performance in the water.

In summary, proper wetsuit drying is essential for optimizing your performance in the water, ensuring that you can move with ease, stay buoyant, maintain warmth, and achieve your full potential.


Knowing how to dry a wetsuit is not only important for performance and comfort, but for your health as well.

Damp wetsuits create an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew, which can lead to a range of hygiene issues if left unchecked:

●  Skin irritations

●  Infections like folliculitis or dermatitis

●  Mold spores present in a damp wetsuit can be inhaled, potentially leading to respiratory issues, particularly for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or allergies.

By taking the time to thoroughly understand how to dry a wetsuit after each use, you can protect both yourself and your gear.

The Best Way to Dry a Wetsuit

Who wants mold or mildew lurking in their wetsuit? Yet, too often, post-water-session fatigue wins over wetsuit maintenance. However, investing just a couple of minutes to rinse and hang your wetsuit properly can yield significant benefits for those who conquer their inner laziness.

The best way to dry a wetsuit involves a few key steps to ensure thorough drying without compromising the integrity of the neoprene material.

How Long Does it Take for a Wetsuit to Dry?

The time it takes for a wetsuit to dry depends on various factors such as humidity levels, airflow, and the thickness of the neoprene material. In general, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day for a wetsuit to dry completely.

In a well-ventilated area with low humidity and ample airflow, a wetsuit may dry relatively quickly, typically within a few hours. However, in more humid environments or areas with limited airflow, drying time can be extended, and it may take closer to a full day or two for the wetsuit to dry thoroughly.

Factors such as the wetsuit thickness and the design of the wetsuit can also influence drying time. Thicker wetsuits with more insulation may take longer to dry compared to thinner ones. Additionally, wetsuits with features such as sealed seams or additional layers may trap moisture and require more time to dry completely.


Patience is key, and it’s worth waiting until your wetsuit is completely dry before your next aquatic adventure to ensure optimal comfort and performance.

How to Dry a Wetsuit Overnight?

Once you are done washing your wetsuit, you want to get it dry and prepared for the next session in or on the water as soon as possible. Yet, please do not put it in a dryer! Heat and spinning would have a horrible impact on the material.


Do not put your wetsuit in a dryer!

Rather, find a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Ideally, choose a spot with good airflow, such as a shaded outdoor area or a room with windows and a fan.

Try to avoid drying your wetsuit in a closed, damp space, as this can promote mold and mildew growth. Additionally, ensure that the area is clean and free from debris to prevent dirt or sand from sticking to the wetsuit while drying.

How to Dry a Wetsuit Indoors?

Drying your wetsuit inside your apartment is a little trickier than doing it outdoors.

Following this list of tips will help you to understand how to dry a wetsuit in an apartment:

1. Select a room in your home with good airflow, such as near a window or an open door. If possible, use a fan to enhance air circulation and speed up the drying process.

2. Avoid placing your wetsuit near direct heat sources such as heaters or radiators, as excessive heat can damage the neoprene material. Instead, opt for gentle air drying at room temperature.

3. If possible, rotate your wetsuit periodically during the drying process to ensure all areas receive adequate airflow. This helps promote uniform drying and prevents any damp spots from forming.

4. Use a sturdy drying rack or a wide, padded hanger to hang your wetsuit. Ensure that the wetsuit is hung in a way that allows air to circulate freely around it.

5. Place a towel or a basin underneath your wetsuit so you don’t end up with puddles of seawater on your apartment floor.

Drying a wetsuit indoors may take longer than outdoor drying, especially in humid environments. Be patient and allow the wetsuit to air dry completely before storing it away.

How to Hang a Wetsuit to Dry?

After rinsing your wetsuit with fresh water, it’s best to hang it on a padded hanger to air dry. However, avoid direct sunlight, as UV rays can deteriorate the neoprene more quickly than mold would grow.

Attention! Steer clear of hanging your wetsuit by the shoulders, as this can lead to wetsuit stretching over time. Instead, opt to support its weight on the hanger using the waist or hips of the wetsuit.

To avoid water accumulation inside the wetsuit, leading to potential stretching or seam damage, make sure to invert the seams correctly after hanging it. Carefully pull on the seams to ensure they are opened up, allowing any trapped water to drain away.

After drying, place your wetsuit in a cool, dry location shielded from direct sunlight and heat. Avoid folding or creasing the wetsuit, as this can cause permanent creases and weaken the fabric. Instead, hang it on a wide hanger or roll it loosely to preserve its shape.

How to Dry a Wetsuit in Winter?

Drying a wetsuit in winter may require some adjustments due to lower temperatures and potentially higher indoor humidity levels.

Luckily, the world of technology offers a handful of solutions:

1. Use Indoor Heating: If your home has central heating or a space heater, you can use it to create a warm and dry environment for drying your wetsuit.

2. Use a Dehumidifier: In winter, indoor humidity levels can be higher, which may prolong the drying time for your wetsuit. Using a dehumidifier can help remove excess moisture from the air, speeding up the drying process.

3. Utilize Fans: Position fans near your wetsuit to improve airflow and help evaporate moisture more quickly. This can be especially helpful in rooms with poor ventilation.

4. Rotate Periodically: Periodically rotate your wetsuit during the drying process to ensure all areas receive adequate airflow.

5. Avoid Direct Heat: While it may be tempting to use heaters or radiators to dry your wetsuit quickly, avoid placing it too close to direct heat sources. Excessive heat can damage the neoprene material and affect the wetsuit’s performance and lifespan.

6. Allow Sufficient Time: Drying a wetsuit in winter may take longer than in warmer months due to lower temperatures and higher humidity levels. Be patient and allow your wetsuit to air dry completely before storing it away.

If your wetsuit still does not dry fast enough, think about investing in a second or third wetsuit to switch between them and allow them to dry properly after each use. Maybe even a specific wetsuit for cold water.

How do I Know That my Wetsuit is Dry?

Especially in Winter, when everything feels cold and clammy, figuring out whether your laundry or likewise your wetsuit are actually still wet or just cold is frustrating.

You can determine if your wetsuit is dry by using a few simple methods:

1. Touch Test: Feel the surface of the wetsuit with your hands. If it feels dry to the touch, especially in areas that were previously damp, then it’s likely dry.

2. Weight Test: A dry wetsuit will feel lighter compared to when it was wet. Lift it up and compare its weight to how it felt when it was wet.

3. Visual Inspection: Check the wetsuit for any remaining wet spots or areas that appear darker in color, indicating moisture. Look inside the wetsuit as well to ensure both sides are dry.

4. Smell Test: If your wetsuit had an odor when wet, it should dissipate once it’s dry. Give it a sniff to see if any residual odor remains.

5. Time: Depending on drying conditions, it may take a few hours to a full day for a wetsuit to dry completely. If you’ve allowed sufficient time for drying and the wetsuit meets the above criteria, it’s likely dry.

By using a combination of these methods, you can confidently determine if your wetsuit is dry and ready to either go on its next adventure or be stored away for the next swell to come in.

Conclusion: Where, For How Long and How to Dry a Wetsuit?

As we bid adieu to our trusty wetsuits after each exhausting and exciting session, let us not forget the simple yet essential steps to ensure their longevity and performance. Proper wetsuit care is key to maximizing its performance and longevity, so take the time to dry it correctly after each use.

By following a few easy steps, preparing your wetsuit to dry won’t take you any longer than two minutes, yet might make the difference in how long your wetsuit lasts. So, next time you hang up your wetsuit, remember that you’re not just drying fabric; you’re preparing for the next chapter of your aquatic journey. Happy drying, and may your wetsuit always be ready for the next splash!

FAQ – Most asked questions about wetsuit care

Jörg Matzdorff
Jörg Matzdorff

Outdoor and surfing enthusiast.