How to Clean and Maintain Snorkeling Equipment
Keeping your snorkeling equipment clean is important for your health and also the health of your gear. Saltwater and ocean debris can wreak havoc on snorkeling gear if left to fester, and once bacteria begins growing, many people just toss their gear rather than try to eliminate the bacteria and filmy residue. But that’s not very cost efficient, and we know that you’ll want to continue snorkeling in the Bahamas year after year. So we’ve put together some tips for cleaning and maintaining your snorkeling gear.
How to Clean & Maintain Your Snorkeling Equipment
Rinsing your snorkeling equipment after each outing is a basic yet effective way to help prevent filmy residue from forming and can reduce bacteria growth by clearing out sand, shell fragments, seaweed and other contaminants. We recommend using a soft sponge or nonabrasive cloth to clean your gear to prevent scratches. Not only can a scratch on your mask reduce visibility, but scratches are prime areas for bacteria to hide and grow.
Cleaning your snorkel is very important since you can breathe in debris trapped in the tube, and also because the mouthpiece has several nooks where bacteria can grow. Rinsing in fresh water helps, but we recommend using dish detergent to fully clean the snorkel. For a more thorough cleansing, perhaps for a snorkel that has been sitting in the garage all year, soak the snorkel for up to 30 minutes in a bucket of warm water and a tablespoon of bleach. Afterward, rinse thoroughly in warm water and allow the snorkel to air dry.
Proper mask maintenance can be a little more difficult because you don’t want to scrub too hard and scratch the mask. Most masks will come with care instructions, so you should follow those instructions first. Sometimes certain silicone-based cleaning solutions are recommended to clean a mask, and these can be purchased at sporting goods stores or dive shops. If you don’t have the proper cleaning solution, you can use warm water and dish detergent, but do not use any brushes or abrasive sponges. Ensure that you remove all debris, dirt, sand and salt from the mask. You should also make sure that there is no sunblock residue left on the mask. Afterward, dry with a soft cloth or towel. If you have one, keep your mask in its case to keep it clean and prevent scratching.
Fins are probably the easiest piece of Bahamas snorkeling gear to clean. You can rinse them in freshwater or let them soak in a bucket of warm, soapy water. Dish detergent can be used for this as well. Make sure to clean out any debris with a soft sponge or soft-bristled toothbrush (scrub lightly!).
We recommend cleaning your gear as soon as you’re finished snorkeling. Many boats and charters feature freshwater showers where you can rinse your gear, and getting into the habit of prompt cleaning can extend the life of your snorkeling equipment. Bahamas snorkeling trips are always fun and exciting, so keep your gear clean and well maintained so you can come back every year!