Rinse your suit after every use!
The single most important thing you can do to preserve your wetsuit is to rinse it out with fresh COLD water. Salt water is the arch enemy of neoprene. If you live by the shore, you know how salt air and water act as corrodes just about everything.
If you simply hose off the suit (inside and out), or take it in the shower and give it a good rise after each use, to flush out the evil salt demons, you’ll do wonders to keep your trusty rubber functioning flawlessly.
Use a good hanger
Hang your suit on a wide shoulder plastic hanger to dry. Don’t use a skinny metal hanger to dry or store your suit. They will rust and leave brown stains on your rubber; and second, the weight of the suit will cause indentations to form, and drooping and tearing may result.
Dry and store the suit in a dark or shady place, that has good ventilation so the suit will dry and breathe. Ultraviolet rays from the sun are your suit’s second worst enemy. They cause the neoprene to fade, break down and dry out. So keep your suit out of the sun when not in use.
Use wetsuit shampoo
Finally, every once in a while, it’s a good idea to give your wetsuit a shampoo bath. This may sound stupid, but it’s worth it. You don’t need to do this all the time, but a few times every season should be more than enough. Wetsuit shampoo is excellent for removing salt, urine and natural deposits, plus it leaves your suit smelling lemony fresh.
Just fill up the your tub or a rubbermaid tote, throw in your suit, add a cap full of wetsuit shampoo, and work it into the rubber. Go over the entire suit, lathering it up inside and out and let it soak for awhile (an hour is plenty).
Then, drain the tub and rinse out the suit thoroughly with fresh water (inside and out), and hang it up to dry as usual. This will also soften up a suit that’s been in storage for awhile, so it’s a good idea to do it at the beginning of a season.
Inspect all the seams on your suit. Make sure the threads are still in place and haven’t started to unravel. Replace stitching that’s missing or simply “tie off” any loose ends. Check glue on the seams to make sure they are spreading open. Glue any that are opening if necessary. You can use wetsuit cement found here
Here are all the Don’t dos
Don’t leave your suit crumbled up in a ball or folded. Creases will form and compromise the strength of the neoprene.
Don’t wash your suit in hot water. Hot water will melt the glues that hold the suit together, letting the seams open.
Don’t leave your wet wetsuit in your Rubbermaid tote for extended periods of time. It will smell foul and break down quicker.
Don’t leave your suit in direct sunlight for long periods of time when not in use. Remember, UV is your enemy when it comes to wetsuit preservation.
Don’t let salt water fester and ferment in your suit. Salt is a corrosive that destroys neoprene faster than you can cough up your next paycheck.
Don’t pee in your suit. The chemistry, especially the acidity, of urine is proven to break down the molecular structure of wetsuit material (and it really makes it stink, too). Enough said.