Can You Put a Wetsuit in the Dryer?

Can You Put A Wetsuit In The Dryer?

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A day of surfing or scuba diving is all fun and games until you have to dry your wetsuit— sounds familiar, huh?

In this article, we will address the most frequently asked question that surely crossed your mind – “Can you put a wetsuit in the dryer?”

While it may seem like the “life hack” option, this method is actually a one-way ticket to a damaged suit fresh from the laundry.

Instead of the dryer myth, let’s look at the safer (and simple) methods of properly drying a wetsuit without using invasive heat.

Walk through our step-by-step guide below and keep your valued wetsuit for years by cleaning it the right way!

Check out my related articles:
Can I Wash My Wetsuit in the Washing Machine?
How to Clean a Wetsuit With Vinegar (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Why Is It Crucial to Properly Dry a Wetsuit?

Unlike normal clothes, wetsuits may require extra effort and care to maintain their quality. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should be drying your wetsuit properly.

Neoprene Is Heat-Sensitive

Wetsuits are made from a special type of fabric called neoprene, which is a synthetic rubber material that is sensitive to heat.

Putting neoprene in contact with high heat is a quick way to permanently damage it. Heat can shrink, melt, crease, and stretch your wetsuits, hence proper care is necessary.

Odor and Bacterial Build-Up

Bacteria may build up on your wetsuit if it’s not properly dried because bacteria feed on moisture. When a wetsuit is left damp for days, the bacteria present on your wetsuit will start to multiply and can cause mold growth, unpleasant odor, discoloration, and damage.

Read my article about why your wetsuit smells?

Make Every Penny Count

It’s not news, a good wetsuit isn’t cheap. Wetsuits may cost you quite a fortune, so proper care is definitely a must to make every dime count.

By following our suggested care instructions below, your valued wetsuit should last for several seasons, making the investment well worth it.

Possible Results of Tumble-Drying a Wetsuit

Now, let’s dive into some of the circumstances you may encounter by simply tumble-drying your wetsuit.

Unwanted Damages

Neoprene can start to chip or peel when exposed to high temperatures, exactly what dryers emit. The heat may also weaken the adhesive material holding the wetsuit together, resulting in seams falling apart.

To top it off, the agitation from the machine can also cause abrasion, scratches, and wear to your wetsuit—an absolute mess.

Excessive Shrinking

Your wetsuit will most likely shrink to a certain degree depending on the time and temperature setting you set. This means you may not wear it with the same perfect-fit comfort again, or worse, the suit won’t fit you anymore due to excessive damage and shrinking.

Stinky Business

Wetsuits can develop an odor when you put them in a hot dryer as neoprene can release an icky smell when exposed to high heat. Additionally, heat can cause bacteria on the suit to grow and multiply, emitting stinky odors.

Void the Warranty

Wetsuit manufacturers often void product warranties if items are handled against the suggested aftercare. Always check the tag and aftercare guide!

Properly Wash and Dry a Wetsuit: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

The proper way isn’t as tedious as you think. Here’s a quick guide that you can follow every wash time!

What You Need:


  1. Flip your wetsuit inside and out. To get rid of any dirt or sand, carefully rinse the suit with running tap water.
  2. Fill up a basin with cool water and combine a little amount of wetsuit shampoo or mild baby soap. You may not add soap in this step. Water, as it is, should be fine.
  3. Gently hand wash the wetsuit, paying extra attention to areas that may have come into contact with sunscreen, oils, or urine.
  4. Rinse the wetsuit again in cool water to remove all residues. Be careful not to stretch or pull on it.
  5. To dry, hang the wetsuit on a sturdy plastic hanger, a rod, or a cloth line. It is ideal to fold the wetsuit on the waist area as you hang it on a hanger or a rod, rather than hanging it by the neck and shoulder area of the wetsuit— which may stretch the material and ruin the shape and quality of your wetsuit.
  6. Place your wetsuit in a shaded area to dry. Don’t attempt to put it directly under the sun because the extreme heat and UV rays will ruin your wetsuit.
  7. Check your wetsuit every 20 minutes and gently squeeze the accumulated amount of water on the wrists and ankles section of the suit at each interval.
  8. Finally, once the inner part of the wetsuit is dry, flip it inside out to ensure that the external part will dry too. This way, you can avoid creasing on the folded part of the wetsuit.
  9. Storage Tip: Do not fold wetsuits as you would with casual clothes; it can cause permanent creases. You can either hang it with a wetsuit hanger or roll it up before storing it in a cool, dry place.

What Not to Do with a Wetsuit?

  • Never use strong detergent or bleach.
  • Never wash it with hot water.
  • Never wash it in a washing machine or dryer.
  • Avoid hanging it on a radiator.
  • Avoid ironing it.
  • Never leave it in direct sunlight to dry.
  • Never use any brush or scrubber to clean it.

Alternative Ways to Dry Wetsuits

Speed up the process! Here are some tricks that can help you finish the job quicker.

Put That Dehumidifier Into Use

A dehumidifier can help dry wetsuits as it takes moisture out of the air which speeds up the drying process. In this method, leave a basin under the wetsuit to catch water drips and keep the windows ajar to let fresh air circulate the room.

The Towel Trick

This method allows you to take as much water as possible in one go to make drying quicker. In this method, you have to sandwich your wetsuit with two thick towels and then firmly roll all pieces at once.

Turn the Fan On

Put your fan on the highest setting, then place it facing your dripping wetsuit. Since electric fans do not emit a significant amount of heat, this method will safely help you with the process.

Wrap It Up

To prolong the lifespan of your wetsuit, never put it in contact with excessive heat– including your tumble dryer. Properly drying your wetsuit anywhere or in the comfort of your home is not as hard as you think.

After walking through this article, your wetsuit will never meet the dryer (or radiator) again.

Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson, a scuba diving enthusiast from San Diego, has spent over a decade exploring the underwater world across the globe. Sharing his passion through captivating stories and informative articles, Jack aims to inspire others to embark on their own scuba diving adventures and uncover the ocean's hidden treasures. Follow Jack on Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and Facebook or email him at

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