How to Clean and Defog a Dive Mask

How to Clean and Defog a Dive MaskYour dive mask, when dirty or foggy, can ruin not only your view of the underwater wonders, but also your communication with fellow divers as well as your entire dive. In addition, it can also be dangerous in such a way that it affects your buoyancy or perception of the surroundings. But don’t fret just yet – you can always bring your foggy mask back to its old, clear state. However, not all foggy masks are treated the same. Old masks should be treated differently with new ones.

Why Do Masks Fog?

Your mask fog if you see effects of condensation inside the lenses. This happens when water vapor in the air meets with the cool glass or plastic, thus forming microscopic water particles at the mask surface.

Houses that use cool air conditioning system typically have 40-60% of humidity. Warmer areas, on the other hand, may experience higher humidity levels ranging from 80-90%. Cooler environments cause a little condensation to glasses, while warmer surroundings may cause formation of bigger drops of water. This only means that when there is more water vapor, more condensation will occur.

There are a few factors that affect formation of tiny water droplets inside a mask. These factors include lens surface tension, air humidity, and water temperature. Most of the time, surfactants such as anti-fogging products lessen the surface tension by smoothening out the lenses. But aside from defogging agents, there are other easy-to-find cleaning tools that you can use.

For New Diving Masks

Fogging happens when the manufacturing process leave residues on the mask lenses. If the outer coating is not removed, it will continue to fog regardless of how many times a defogging product is applied. To remove residues from the lenses, here are a couple of ways:

  • Toothpaste. Apply a bit of toothpaste inside the mask. Using your finger, gently rub it around for a few minutes. If you’d like, a soft cloth can be used as well. The best type of toothpaste to use is the basic kind. One without any cooling or bleaching ingredients. For best results, you may also rub several times or leave the toothpaste on overnight. Do not use a rough cloth or abrasive toothpaste, as these may leave scratches on the glass.
  • While the toothpaste trick is considered the easiest and quickest way to defog, it doesn’t provide result that’s better than the flaming technique. You can use a simple candle or a lighter for this method. To start, simply move the mask at the tip of the flame. This will leave traces of black residue to the mask. This means the fogging has been burned by the heat of the flame. Once lens is totally black, let it cool and then wipe off using a delicate cloth. Repeat as necessary. Keep in mind though, that you shouldn’t let the mask get extremely hot and this method should not be used on plastic masks. Avoid running flame above the silicon skirt, as they melt even with very little amount of heat.

For Used Diving Masks

Fogging on used diving masks are normally caused by condensation. Hence, they should be treated with a defogging product. If the product didn’t work, it’s possible that fogging is caused by manufacturing problems and should be treated using the methods above. There are multiple options for defogging used masks:

  • Commercial defogging products. Most divers find commercial defoggers the most effective option. To apply, put several drops of the liquid onto the mask. Rub gently with your finger and then rinse with tap water. Remember that the defogging coat must stay at the mask surface so avoid rubbing the affected area while rinsing.
  • Baby shampoo. Who knew that baby shampoos can alleviate fogging? The good news is, they work exactly as commercial defoggers in the market. Baby shampoos are actually better than adult shampoos because they are more gentle, non-irritating, and smell better. Apply baby shampoo as you would in a commercial defogging agent to keep fogging to the minimum.
  • This is probably the cheapest defogging tool that you can use. Just spit inside the mask, scrub gently with your finger, and then dunk the mask in a container filled with fresh water. Make sure that your saliva formed a thin layer at the inner surface of your mask as you rinse.
  • Dishwashing liquid. This can be applied in the exact same way as baby shampoo. Use this briskly as some products can be quite harsh to the eyes. Make sure that there are no excess dishwashing liquid in the water so your eyes won’t hurt when wearing your dive mask.
  • This natural defogging agent, when rubbed against the glass, can prevent fogging before it happens. Get a few slices, rub it inside, and then rinse. You can now use your dive mask without the hassles of fogging.