Dive Mask Care
Care Before the Dive
- During the manufacturing process, a thin film of silicone and mould release agents will develop on the glass lens of your new dive mask. This film will cause rapid fogging that is resistant to conventional anti-fog measures. It is important to remove this film from the lens prior to your first dive. To remove the film you will need to scrub the mask lens and skirt inside and out with a powerful surfactant. Please do not use toothpaste. There are commercial mask cleaning products, but any good baby shampoo will work well. Rub the cleanser into the lens and skirt with your fingers several times and then rinse clean thoroughly with warm (not hot) clean fresh water. We suggest you do this cleaning at least twice.
- Mask fogging is a normal occurrence, even after the film of silicone and release agents has been removed. Normal fogging can be easily prevented with after market anti-fog agents, or saliva. Rub onto the lens and then rinse. Your dive will now be fog free!
- Some after after-market anti-fog agents contain formaldehyde, alcohol, or other substances that may damage the plastic materials used in your mask. If unsure, avoid prolonged exposure of the anti-fog agent with the plastic parts of your mask.
Mask Defoggers Explained
Masks should be treated with a defogging agent before every dive. If treatment with a defogging agent does not prevent the mask from fogging, it is possible that some residue is left over from the manufacturing process.
Regardless of the brand or type of defog there are basically only two ways to defog your mask, either coat the lens with an inhibitor (gels like McNett SeaGold), and of course 'spit', or make the lens very clean so fog doesn't form (surfactants like McNett SeaQuick and McNett SeaDrops). Both approaches work equally well but require different application methods so it's mostly a matter of personal preference.
- A cleaning spray is the most popular approach because it's quick and easy. Generously spray the inside of the mask lens, rub and rinse completely to remove. If the lens is not 'squeeky clean' then repeat and perhaps rub a bit harder.
- The liquid drops are a concentrated version of the spray type cleaners. Wet the lens first, add a drop in each lens, rub and rinse completely to remove. Some people who like concentrated cleaners prefer to use Johnsons 'No More Tears' Baby Shampoo, it's effective even if a bit harsh.
- With the gel, apply a thin even coating to the inside of the mask lens (more is not better) and lightly rinse to smooth out the coating. Do NOT completely rinse or rub away the gel, remember you want a light coating of the gel on the lens.
Every once in a while it doesn't hurt to also clean the outside of the mask lens. It won't help to prevent fogging but you'll see better if the lens is clean on both sides!
While we should be trying to sell you these 'you beaut' commercial solutions, our preferred pre-dive anti-fog is spit. Spit on the inside of the mask and rub it around with your finger. Dunk the mask briefly in fresh water. The goal is to leave thin layer of saliva on the inside of the glass. Spitting does not work well if the mask dries out before diving, so use this technique immediately before the dive.
Another do it yourself pre-dive solution is Baby Shampoo. Baby shampoo can be used just like commercial defogging solutions. Many divers carry a bottle of watered-down baby shampoo with their dive gear. A few drops rubbed into the lens and then briefly rinsed out will keep a mask from fogging. Baby shampoo is preferable to standard shampoo, as it is generally hypo-allergenic, less irritating to eyes, and biodegradable. Baby shampoo smells good, too.
By the way, we are not big fans of the 'mask bucket' found on many dive boats. When everyone is rinsing their masks in the same bucket, they are sharing their bacteria and viruses with everyone else. We avoid that by rinsing our masks in seawater (works fine), fresh water from the shower hose if there is one, or even bottled water as a last resort.
Care During the Dive
- When entering the water either from a boat or a beach, place a hand over the lens of your dive mask and hold it securely in place. This will help ensure your mask stays in place during entry and will help deflect any direct impact of water on the lens caused by the jump into the water or any approaching waves.
- A typical dive staging area is a dangerous place for dive masks. Care should be taken to not leave your mask in a location where it might be exposed to dropping weight belts or tanks.
- It is best to avoid putting your mask on your forehead at any time during the dive. Several factors can cause the mask on your forehead to be dislodged and subsequently lost. If you want to temporarily remove the mask from your face, place the mask around your neck.
Care After the Dive
- Soak in warm fresh water, not over 49°C (120°F), to dissolve salt crystals.
- Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and towel dry before final storage.
- Store in a cool, dry and protected place out of direct sunlight.
- Store separated from other dive gear as the black pigmentation of other equipment may discolor the clear silicone skirt of your mask.
- Avoid any contact with alcohol, oil, gasoline, aerosols, or chemical solvents.
- Do not expose any part to aerosol spray, as some aerosol propellants attack or degrade rubber and plastic materials.
- Do not use any type of alcohol, solvent or petroleum based substances to clean or lubricate any part.
- Do not store your equipment near any oil, gasoline, chemicals, or solvents.
For a large range of Masks for all conditions visit the Masks section in the The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop. There you'll find a wide range of mask types, plus mask accessories.