Properly cleaning and disinfecting your snorkel gear is essential, both for your gears longevity, but also for your health!
Cleaning and maintaining your snorkeling equipment is super easy so there’s no good reason to neglect it.
Here’s everything you need to do to keep it looking and working like new…
Why You Should Clean Your Snorkel Gear After Every Use
Salt water can be very damaging to your snorkel gear.
If you don’t take care of your gear then given time it can degrade, split, crack, break and just plain go mouldy on you!
Snorkeling gear is simple to clean and maintain and it starts as soon as you exit the water.
With just a few minutes of care and attention, cleaning your gear can extend it’s lifespan by a number of years, and keep it working just as well as the day that you bought it.
Here’s how to clean your snorkeling equipment..
How To Clean Snorkel Masks
Cleaning your snorkel mask is very important for several reasons.
Firstly the obvious; Cleaning your snorkel mask will ensure that it lives longer, and prevent it from going moldy.
But there is another reason for ensuring your mask lens is nice and clean, and it happens to do with mask fogging.
A dirty mask lens will not only make for a poor viewing experience, but dirt on the lens (even dirt particles too small to be seen), will attract condensation and cause your mask to fog.
So, in order to have a beautiful fog free snorkel sesh, always ensure your masks lens has been cleaned and prepped prior to first use. [Check out the guide I’ve written on how to properly prep your snorkel mask].
Now, in order to properly clean and care for your snorkel mask…
Immediately after you’re done snorkeling you should rinse your mask in fresh water.
Then, once you return to your hotel/home you should fill a bucket or bathtub/sink with some warm water and dish detergent.
DO NOT use anything abrasive to scrub the mask as you can end up scratching the lens and damaging it. A soft towel or a sponge will work nicely.
Once you’ve cleaned it, rinse it with fresh water again to get any soap off and allow it to air dry, or use a clean soft towel to dry it.
I have a protective case for my snorkel masks where I store them in my wardrobe. Most snorkel masks come with a case or box these days, but if you don’t have one then that’s fine.
What’s most important is that you allow the mask to dry fully before you store it away. (Allowing it to air dry is fine so long as you keep it out of direct sunlight, but a microfiber cloth is also really useful for drying your snorkeling gear).
I’d also like to point out, that a lot of snorkel masks these days have double edged skirts (as shown below).
These double feathered layers of silicone help to create a really good seal of the mask against your face, but they sometimes get neglected when it comes to mask cleaning.
This area of your snorkel mask provides the perfect little hideaway for dirt, sand and bacteria to collect and for mold to inevitably grow if it’s not cleaned out properly and dried fully!
So always ensure when cleaning your snorkel mask that you clean around the entire mask, including between the layers, and ensure that you dry this area completely to prevent bacteria growth.
How To Clean A Snorkel Tube
Your snorkel can be the trickiest to clean, and thus, is usually the first piece of equipment to go a bit funky or stop working properly if not cared for correctly!
Immediately After Snorkeling
It’s very important to give your snorkel a really good rinse in fresh water after every use.
Make sure that you rinse every part of the snorkel thoroughly, and ensure any sand/other debris has been completely washed away – this is especially important if any is located around the purge valve and dry top (if your snorkel has these parts).
A common cause of a purge valve or dry top sticking, not working correctly, or even failing entirely is often due to sand being lodged there.
When You Get Home
As with your snorkel mask, give your snorkel a soak in warm water mixed with dish detergent. (The dish detergent you normally would use is fine. I use Fairy liquid 🙂 ).
Try to give it a good soak for at least thirty minutes, but you can leave it a few hours or even overnight if desired.
Using a soft sponge or a soft cloth, gently clean the outside of your snorkel. You shouldn’t have to spend too long with this. A couple of minutes max is going to be fine!
One thing which I can highly recommend, is a long thin cleaning brush such as this one which will allow you to get deep inside the tube to really give it a good and thorough clean in this hard to reach area!
Once it’s finished soaking and you’ve given the inside a gentle scrub with the brush, give it another rinse in some warm, fresh water in order to rinse off the soapy water
Once your snorkel has been fully rinsed, let it air dry completely before you store it away.
A couple of sheets of paper towel twisted together and pushed down the tube can be helpful in making it dry quicker, but this method only really works with traditional open top snorkels.
How To Deep Clean & Remove Mold From Your Snorkel Gear
Because deep inside your inner snorkel tube can be tough to reach and clean, it is unfortunately susceptible to growing moldy over time.
Periodically (once a year if you’re don’t snorkel often, to every couple of months if you’re snorkeling regularly) I recommend giving your snorkel a thorough deep clean in order to keep it mold free! [After all, you certainly don’t want to be breathing that in!]
To deep clean a snorkel you should;
- Use a diluted bleach solution. (A tablespoon or capful of bleach diluted in a bucket of water is more than enough).
- Leave your snorkel to soak for at least 30 minutes
- Use a long thin brush or soft bristled toothbrush to gently clean inside the snorkel tube.
- Thoroughly rinse your snorkel in fresh water
- Allow it to dry completely before storing
Snorkel masks have also been known to get a little funky at times as well.
Removing mold from your snorkel mask is just the same as with your snorkel – Use diluted bleach to soak your mask in (30 mins), wipe it down with a soft sponge or cloth, and then rinse it thoroughly with clean warm water.
How To Clean Snorkeling Fins
Snorkel fins are really easy to clean and maintain as they don’t have intricate parts like a snorkel, or a delicate surface like a snorkel mask.
To clean them just follow the exact same procedure as I outlined above.
Rinse your fins with clean fresh water as soon as possible after use, and then give them a soak in the same bucket/sink/tub as your mask and snorkel.
Give them a good clean with a soft sponge – Make sure you get into all the crannies (like the foot pockets).
Once you’re done rinse them with fresh water again and allow them to air dry fully (away from direct sunlight), before you store them away.
How To Maintain Snorkeling Equipment For The Long Term
Good quality snorkeling equipment will last a really long time if you take care of it properly.
But it also helps that some parts of your gear can be replaced if needed.
A snorkel mouthpiece can often (although not always depending on which model you have), be completely replaced. [The snorkels that I use, the TUSA Hyperdry Elite and the Scubapro Spectra Dry, both have the option to replace the mouthpiece if needed].
Things like mask straps and the buckles on fins are usually parts that can also be replaced as well.
If you combine taking care of your gear, proper cleaning protocol and storage, and replacing parts as needed, your snorkel equipment is going to look and perform as new for years to come. Just follow the steps outlined above, and the tips below….
Tips For Keeping Your Snorkeling Equipment As New
- Always rinse all of your snorkeling equipment in clean, fresh, warm water as soon as you are able to after every use.
- You should store your gear out of direct sunlight, and in a place that doesn’t attract moisture (that means no leaving it in the trunk of your car, or an old damp garage for example).
- You should never dry your snorkeling gear in direct sunlight either. This can be very damaging to the silicone and will compromise it’s integrity over time.
- Make sure your gear is completely dry before you store it. Putting wet gear into a dark cupboard is providing it with the perfect conditions for mold to grow!
- Do not use anything abrasive such as the scouring side of a sponge, or an abrasive toothpaste to clean a snorkel mask. (This can scratch the lens of your mask).
Hopefully you found these tips on how to maintain snorkeling equipment useful!
It’s really not much effort to clean your gear and keep it in tip top shape.
Just remember to build the above tips into your routine when you go snorkeling and your gear will hold up for plenty of underwater adventures to come!