Caring for your kit
The best way to care for your sailing kit to ensure that it stays fresh, snag-free and lasts, is to hand wash it in a large bucket of luke warm water and use a specialist shampoo, like Stormsure Neoprene Clean, then allow it to drip dry on the washing line out of direct sunlight. In reality, we know that many people rarely have time for this and ignore the care labels on products. Those that use washing machines and detergents to clean their kit may end up with drier, fresher smelling kit the next day, but it will reduce the life span of the products. Here are some pitfalls and pointers to help you out.
The most important thing to do before washing your kit is to turn it inside out and do up all zips and Velcro attachments. Anything with Velcro will stick to neoprene, flatlock seams and Polypro. This results in furry worn seams and bobbles on your neoprene and Polypro. By doing up zips and straps on wetsuits and buoyancy aids, you also reduce the strain on these fastenings when hanging them out to dry - or if you're naughty and put them through a spin cycle! If you do use a washing machine, choose the lowest temperature wash and the slowest spin cycle possible.
It's worth knowing that washing powders and softeners will degrade and breakdown the glue used on taped seams, rubber boots, waterproof coatings and neoprene over time. We recommend avoiding them completely. When hanging kit out to dry, make sure you keep it inside out and avoid direct sunlight - UV rays can cause neoprene to age and this will make it become brittle and prone to cracking much more quickly. The heat from the sun will also degrade glues and taped seams, as well as cause fading or sun-bleaching to colours. Don’t forget to turn your kit the right way round and allow the other side to dry before packing it away.
When it comes to drying your boots, stuff newspaper down into the toe to help draw out the moisture and avoid them smelling.
The quickest and easiest way to wash your kit? Shower in it!!