You’ve spent the time and effort needed to get through your scuba certification, bought a new mask, arrived at your first scuba diving destination as a qualified diver and jumped into the water.
As you begin your descent you are amazed by the visibility in the water and the beauty of the reefs, then all of a sudden your mask fogs up and you can’t see your hands in front of you let alone anything else.
Picture by: mauren veras
This can lead to a nightmare dive full of taking your mask off, de-fogging it and clearing it from water only for the mask to be fogged up less than 5 minutes later. What can you do to solve the problem?
Although you won’t be able to do anything about a fogged up mask during a dive (except for the laborious cleaning described above) there are a couple of things that you can do when you get back onto dry land (or boat).
Toothpaste (Mask Cleaner)
All new masks are sold with a type of protective seal over the lenses, which is what causes them to fog up when worn underwater for a short length of time. Likewise an old mask can suddenly start fogging up if it hasn’t been cleaned correctly due to dirty water spots or salt crystals.
Although there are a number of mask cleaning agents on the market nowadays one of the most tried and tested methods (which works incredibly well) is toothpaste. Try to purchase a cheap brand of toothpaste that doesn’t include whitening agents as this can damage your mask.
Cleaning your mask is simple. First clean your hands to rid them of any oil and then spread a liberal amount of toothpaste onto the lens of the mask. Rub the toothpaste into the mask and notice the change in the texture; it should start to feel smoother the more toothpaste that you rub in.
Once the entire lens feels smooth, wash away the toothpaste with clean water and perform a breath test. If the mask still fogs you may want to repeat the process again (this is sometimes necessary with new masks).
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Baby Shampoo (Defogger)
If your mask is clean but still continues to fog up when diving, the second option you have is to buy a mask defogger. Again there are a variety of different ones available but I find that (Johnson’s) Baby Shampoo works really well and does the exact same job – just make sure to wash your mask out properly before wearing it.
The application of either the shampoo or the defogger is the same as above although you do not need to be as liberal with the amount you use.
Good old spit
It works (almost) every time. Spit in your mask, give it a good rub and rinse once before you descend. Don't worry about other people seeing you spit in your mask. They do it too. I always spit in my mask after I used the baby shampoo. Better safe then sorry.
A Few Extra Tips
If your mask continues to fog up you are advised to go through the process again starting with cleaning your mask out with toothpaste. You could also try placing your head into the water before you place your mask on as this well help to cool down your temperature and hence stops your mask from fogging up so fast.
It is natural to need to defog your mask after every couple of dives so you may want to keep both a cleaner and a defogger with your dive gear so that if you do have any problems whilst diving you can sort them out as soon as you return to the surface.
We all know the problem of a scuba mask fogging up. How do you prevent this from happening. Do you spit or do you use shampoo? Let us know in the comments below
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Blog written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.