Almost all scuba diving gear requires some preparation before it can be used. When you bring home your scuba mask, you will notice an oily film on the lens of your mask and sometimes on the strap of your mask. Most manufacturers rub a light oil onto the silicone to help protect the silicone during shipping. You need to remove this film before you use your scuba mask, otherwise your mask will continually fog while diving. An oily film on your mask will prevent it from sealing properly or the mask may slip off your face during a dive. To clean your scuba mask, apply a pea-sized drop of toothpaste, not gel, to the inside of the lens. Using your fingertips rub the toothpaste in a circular motion around the entire surface of the lens. Do not use your fingernails; this may scratch the lens of the mask. Rinse with clean water and repeat until the film is completely removed. You can also rub toothpaste up and down the strap to remove any film. Always rinse your mask thoroughly after cleaning.
The key to clear vision, while scuba diving and keeping your scuba mask in good condition, is proper maintenance during and after each dive. These maintenance procedures will help to keep your mask in good shape for many years of scuba diving:
- Use a defogging solution before every dive, even when diving more than once in the same day. This will prevent your scuba mask from fogging during a dive. You can purchase a commercially prepared defogging solution from any reputable scuba diving retailer. Squeeze a drop or two onto the inside lens of your mask and gently rub the solution around to cover the inside completely. Dip your mask briefly into water, swirl the water around the inside of your mask very quickly and empty the water from your mask. A quick rinse will remove any excess defogging solution from the inside of your mask. You do not want to get defogging solution in your eyes, especially while diving, since it can cause stinging and irritation. If you don’t want to use a commercially prepared defogging solution you have a defogging solution readily available and it’s free, your saliva. Your saliva will prevent your scuba mask from fogging just as well as any commercial defogging solution. The enzymes in your saliva stick to the lens of your mask like a commercial defogging solution and you will never find yourself without a defogger while on a dive.
- Never lay your scuba mask face-down on any surface. Salt, sand and grit will scratch the lens of your mask. Always place your mask face up when you are not wearing it or if it is not in its hard case.
- Rinse your scuba mask in clean, freshwater after each dive and dry it thoroughly before storing it in its hard case. After a dive, your mask will be covered in a salty residue and/or dirt. This must be rinsed clean to prevent the silicone on your mask from degrading. Your mask must be completely dry before storing it to ensure the silicone stays clean and odor-free.
- Always store your scuba mask in its hard case. If your mask did not come with a hard case purchase an after-market hard case. This will protect your mask from dirt and abrasives and protect it while traveling. Always store the case out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will break down the silicone after years of exposure.
- Periodically repeat the toothpaste treatment to keep the lens of your scuba mask clean. A good rinse after each dive helps to keep your mask clean, but to ensure there is no residue or grit left on your scuba mask you must properly clean it on a regular basis.