The Case of the Funky Wetsuit

Posted: July 31, 2015 in Equipment, Swim

It’s already been well documented here on my feelings regarding peeing in one’s wetsuit.

Yes, it’s gross.

But sometimes it’s necessary.  Shit, sometimes it’s even pretty nice.

I understand all the ick factors associated with pissing in ones wetsuit for sure (click HERE for a little reminder) but, over time, I’ve just learned to accept it as one of things when it comes to triathlon and open water swimming in general.

If you gotta go, go.

Let ‘er rip.

But where I don’t necessarily look forward to it as some others seem to do, I have learned to relax a bit and just learned to go with the flow, so to speak. Shit, at times I’ve even enjoyed it.  For example, it’s just after 6:00am in the morning and you’re a kilometer into your open water swim in the canal and you’re in the middle of these calm, still waters with no one else around but the ducks…and you have to piss.

Hey, don’t judge me.

Unless you’ve felt the warm sensation of pee spreading through your wetsuit as you casually stroke through the misty water then, well, let’s just saying you’re missing something a kin to being back inside the womb. It’s comforting.  Gross – but comforting.

Anyway this was the case this past Wednesday morning.  It was glorious.  And after said pee break I swim back to the dock at a leisurely pace, strip out of my wetsuit and wrap it in a towel and proceed to the nearby gym to shower off, get dressed and get to work with not another thought about it.

Perfect workout.

Except that when I get home later that day to rinse out my wetsuit I get the comment from my step-daughter, “that smells really, really bad.”

“It just smells like the canal”, I responded.

Usually, this is the case anyway and I was dismissing it as more of the same.

We then left for Stage 2 of our ‘Tour de Ridgeway’ (post coming shortly) around the neighborhood for approximately 45 minutes or so for.  Upon entering the front door immediately adjacent from where my wetsuit had been hanging in her bathroom to drip dry, the smell just kind of lashed out at you and punched you in the face.

Okay, it definitely smelled bad.

Kind of a cross between road kill that has been steeping in mustard gas and the potent whiff of ammonia you might get off your pee after eating a shit ton of asparagus.

I couldn’t deny HRH  her claim any longer to it smelled bad and maybe I had even been a bit presumptuous.  In fact, there was the very real possibility now that the smell would reach the neighbors and potentially arouse suspicion that something or something had actually died in the house.

“We’ve got the funk. Gotta have that funk…”


This had never happen before.  That quick rinse out of the wetsuit afterwards had always worked before, likewise, it’s not like I piss in it all  the time – quite rarely, actually – but for whatever reason, the wetsuit did reek.


But I had done everything I knew how to do (i.e. rinse and hang it) so the task of “defunking” the wetsuit then fell onto Kelly’s shoulder’s; ever the dutiful Triathletes Wife.

She spent about 10 minutes click-clacking away on her laptop and eventually found a few websites with suggestions on how to remedy just such a problem.

In particular she found this:  “Wetsuit Care – 360guide

The site offered a bunch of obvious tips for cleaning wetsuits, including what NOT to do (i.e. bleach, iron, machine wash, etc.), but at the very end there was this little quip about relieving wetsuit funk.

“Once every couple weeks, throw your wetsuit in a tub of fresh warm water (not hot) with a couple of caps of dish-washing detergent. Wash it and the detergent will break down the body oils and wash away the bacteria that leads to smelliness. Rinse your wetsuit in fresh water so you get all the detergent off, then dry your wetsuit in the fresh air.”

So she did this.

It didn’t work.

I think we might have to call in a priest.

  1. 360guide says:

    Haha… well there are special wetsuit shampoos that you can buy, but they are pretty mild so if dish washing detergent didn’t do the job the only thing to try is the washing machine on the lowest possible temperature and only a little washing powder. It’s not the best thing for your wetsuit but it is the best thing for the stink.

  2. Kelly says:

    I’m not giving up just yet

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