Here you are, diving with your brand new dive mask and you realize it’s fogging up on the inside of your mask… now you’re fiddling around with it and missing all the cool aquatic critters!
Not only is this frustrating, but now your mind isn’t on your surroundings and your buoyancy is messed up. If you’re a seasoned diver you would just pull that mask away from your face and fill it with water and clear your mask.
You might be a casual or a beginner diver and not think of doing that mask clearing technique… the worst thing you want to do is push a panic button!
In most cases, if you purchased your dive mask at a dive shop, your sales rep will tell you how to defog it. If you purchased elsewhere, you might not have received that information.
By the time you finish reading this, you’ll know exactly how to defog your mask whether it be dive mask or a snorkel mask!!
Why your mask fogs up!
There are couple of reasons why your mask fogs:
1) During your dive, you might be breathing out thru your nose.
I do a lot of dives and started noticing my same ‘ole’ mask would fog up… turned out I developed a habit of breathing out a little thru my nose in the hopes of keeping water from seeping into my imperfect non-fitting mask.
Wonder why this makes such a difference?
First, water temperature is much lower than your body temperature (98.6 degrees F). When you breathe out, that air in your lungs is warmer than water which causes condensation into your mask and causes constant fogging.
Second, you just broke the seal from your mask and now you have water seeping in and of course the fogging issue!
Remember to inhale and exhale through your mouth!
2) When you purchase a new mask, it comes with silicone residue and mould release agents left on the inside of the lens during its fabrication. If these are never removed, your mask will always fog up underwater and quickly too.
Here’s what you need to do to DEFOG your New mask!
Be prepared before you dive! Make sure you wash your fingers because the natural oil from your hands will prevent effective mask defogging when following the procedures below..
This is what I recommend… your choice!! Whichever method you choose, you can test the mask by breathing into it and if need be, repeat the process a couple of times until the mask stays fog free.
1) Burn the Residue and Agents.
If the mask is new, you need to remove the residue and agents first.
Some dive shops will do this for you if their staff is not too busy and if you purchased the new mask from them!
The best way for you to do this is with either a tapered candle or a BBQ lighter. What you want to do is to burn the residue and agents off. Put the tip of the flame in the inside of the lens and move it around until the lens is black and then wait for the lens to cool off. Wipe out the black residue soot with a soft cloth. Repeat this process until the lens is no longer black.
- Make sure the lens is tempered glass and not plastic. If it’s plastic, it’ll melt if you put heat to it.
- Keep the flame absolutely away from the soft silicone skirt.
- Don’t let the lens get too hot.
2) Non-Abrasive, Non-Gel Toothpaste
Squeeze a bit of non-abrasive, non-gel toothpaste (no bleaching agents – you don’t want it scratched) onto the inside of the mask lens. Using your fingers, rub the paste around on the inside of the lens and in the corners. Work it in really good. You can let it dry or do a quick light dunk in water.
Pepsodent does the job well, just make sure it’s non-abrasive and non-gel!
Also great to use on your used mask!!
What if your used mask keeps fogging up?
Even after you remove the silicone and mould release residue from your new mask, it will still fog up during your dive… it’s a normal occurrence for divers!
So, on all of your dives, it’s good practise to always take preventative measures of defogging your mask. You can do the non-abrasive toothpaste technique or choose from the following:
1) Spit, it’s cheap!
If you choose to do this, make sure you do just when you’re ready to enter the water. If you let it dry up it won’t be very effective and your mask will still fog underwater.
If there is nothing else… spit into your mask and using your fingers, swish it around and lightly dunk it in water. The idea is to leave a little bit of the saliva inside your lens.
Always clean your mask after you’re done with your dives. Leaving the spit in your mask can cause bacteria and mold to grow. Don’t rinse your mask in the same rinse bucket on the dive boat… for health reasons. Your tour guide on dive boats are pretty good on not allowing you to do that anyway.
2) Baby Shampoo with a little bit of water.
Not only does this smell nice, but it’s also soft and gentle to use on the inside of your mask. It’s biodegradable and usually not irritating to your eyes.
This is definitely a favorite amongst divers!
Put this in a spray bottle and take it with you to use before all your dives. Put a couple of drops onto the inside lens, rub it around with your fingers and lightly dunk out. This is a wonderful way to keep your mask from fogging!
3) Happen to have a potato and a knife with you?
This isn’t a myth! It really does work.. I tried it. Cut it in half. Wash it well so the potato doesn’t scratch the lens. Rub the inside of the lens with the potato and lightly dunk in water.
4) Dishwashing Liquid.
Some dive boats will have a spray bottle with mild dishwashing liquid. Spray couple of drops on the inside of your mask. Use your fingers and rub it around and do that light dunk in water.
If you get a little bit of water in your mask, the liquid ingredients can be irritating to your eyes.
My suggestion, if you want to go with something soap-free and hypo allergenic go with the baby shampoo like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo it’s more gentle on your eyes.
5) Commercial Defogging Products.
These work more effectively than spit and dishwashing liquid because they’re designed to specifically defog the inside of your mask. The procedure is the same.. put a couple of drops on the inside of the lens, use your fingers to rub it in and dunk lightly in water.
My favorite commercial defogger for my dive mask is the 500 PSI Mask Defogger with Carabiner! Make sure you follow the instructions. The cost for a 2oz bottle is around $9.16 + FREE Shipping and will last for quite a few dives and sometimes doesn’t require re-application on your second dive of the day.
The only downside to it is that your inside mask has to be bone dry and your fingers must be very clean as in no sunscreen residue.
6) Pull mask away from your face.
If your mask fogs up when you’re underwater, the best thing to do is to pull the mask away from your face to allow water into the mask. Let it completely fill with water then use your mask clearing technique you learned during your Open Water Dive Certification Course.
It’s also a great idea to practice this skill during your dives.
Once you have that silicone residue and mould release agents removed off your new mask, I think you’ll find the Baby Shampoo mixed with water is the best plus, you can shampoo your hair with it!!
Well… this is it folks, thanks very much for reading!
If you have stories about your mask fogging up, I really would like to hear from you. What works best for you to defog your mask?
If you have any questions or comments, please put them here in the comment box below.