Defog Your Dive Mask for Good!
There can be nothing worse during your Maui vacation than scuba diving or snorkeling with a foggy dive mask! It’s true, a comfortable and well-prepared dive mask is essential to your ocean experience. It is also safer for everyone around you. When your lenses are full of fog, it blocks your view of the Maui sea life, and you cannot see hand signals from your dive buddy. Learn how to prepare your dive mask and save yourself the frustration.
There are a few methods that divers have long touted as the best way to prepare a new mask for diving. Most will tell you that toothpaste is a magic cure. While regular white toothpaste is helpful (NOT the gel kind!), there is an additional step that will defog your new dive mask for good.
Steps to Defog Your Dive Mask
Step 1: Choose the Right Dive Mask for You
Before you even think about needing to defog your lenses, you first need the right dive mask. When shopping around, it is incredibly important to try a variety of brands and skirt sizes. Every face is different, so scuba manufacturers make many types of dive masks at various price points. Pro-tip, don’t buy the cheapest or most expensive scuba mask.
Banyan Tree Divers recommends the Scuba Pro Spectra Mini for small faces! After trying different brands for specifically smaller faces, this Scuba Pro mask is top of the list for its comfort, fit, and price.
When testing a mask, you will want to hold it up to your face, inhale through your nose and see if it sticks. If you get a good seal and you like the feel of the mask skirt, then you can try it on and make sure that it is easily adjustable. Whether you buy a clear skirt mask or a black skirt mask is purely based on personal preference. Black skirt masks tend to cut the sun’s glare, which is useful for underwater photographers. A good dive mask with a soft silicone skirt should cost $75 to $100.
Step 2: The Dreaded Mask Burning
Yes, this is the scariest part of preparing your brand new dive mask. All new tempered glass lenses have a factory layer of protective silicone that causes each lense to fog when exposed to heat, such as heat from your face. On a side note, DO NOT attempt to burn a mask with plastic lenses (#commonsense)! By removing that layer of silicone with a lighter, you will permanently set up your scuba mask for success.
There are people out there that will tell you not to attempt to defog your mask with a lighter, and it comes down to how comfortable you are with handling fire. So kids, please have a grown-up complete this step for you! As a dive instructor that has to replace her mask every few years and has prepared many dive masks, I can personally attest that this method works if done correctly.
- Do NOT burn the outside of your scuba mask. You must only use the flame on the inside of each lens.
- Hold the flame to the lens only. Try to keep the fire clear of the silicone skirt.
- Burn the glass until it turns black. You will see the factory coating burn away as you do this.
- Be careful not to burn yourself! Your lighter will get very hot. I have had my fair share of overheated fingers. Take breaks in between lenses.
- DO NOT burn plastic or prescription lenses.
After burning your scuba mask, each lens will be very hot. Set your gear aside and let it cool down before moving on to Step 3. Be careful here; glass tends to break when exposed to sudden changes in temperature!
Step 3: Rub Toothpaste on Burnt Lens
Use regular white toothpaste to rub on each burnt lens. The abrasive properties in the toothpaste will help remove the remaining factory coating. Rub this around for a good couple of minutes. If you have the time, some will say you can set your aside for an hour or so before rinsing. I, however, am paranoid about leaving the burnt black matter in my mask and usually rinse it right away. I have never had an issue with this.
Hold your mask under lukewarm water and rinse with baby shampoo so as not to leave any soapy residue that could burn your eyes later. If you managed to get any of the burnt mixtures into the sides of your scuba diving mask, then you might need high-pressure water to remove it. Naturally, this burning method is more aesthetically pleasing for black skirt masks. Sometimes it is harder to remove all of the black residues from transparent silicone masks. Consider this when purchasing your favorite scuba mask.
Once you have thoroughly rinsed your mask, it is ready for scuba diving! Please note that it will still be necessary to defog your scuba mask with one of the following methods before you go diving:
- Spit: Yes, spit! Scuba divers say, the “greener the cleaner, whiter the brighter ;-)”
- Baby Shampoo: Banyan Tree Divers uses this method because baby shampoo ensures no tears!. We prepare a mixture of baby shampoo and water for our dive guests to use before we enter the water. It’s essential to rub the mixture into each lens vigorously.
- Store-bought anti-fog spray: You can purchase small bottles of anti-fog solution from any Maui dive shop. They are small and fit in your BCD pocket. The small bottle is handy if you need to defog again on the surface before your descent.
Defog Your Dive Mask Final Thought
A proper fitting and well-prepared dive mask is the most critical piece of dive equipment. Take the time to prepare your new scuba mask, and you will have countless enjoyable dives ahead. Always protect your dive mask by securing it before entering the ocean, and remember that once you put it on, leave it on your face.
Cheers and HAPPY DIVING!