How To Prevent Mask Fog During Scuba Diving or Snorkeling
Fogging up of masks is something that all divers have experienced. It is a problem that is usually just annoying, but can really make it hard to enjoy a safe, fun dive. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned diver, the tips discussed here will help you have clear visibility and enjoy a low-stress dive.
1. Pre-Dive Care
You can take several steps before you actually get to the water to reduce mask fog. Using non-whitening toothpaste is a great way to reduce fog, particularly for new masks. While you will find products specifically designed for cleaning masks on the market, toothpaste is a great alternative. You can either use your finger after washing your hands or a soft-bristled toothbrush to do this. When using your fingers, you need to wash them so that the oils from the hands don’t hinder you from properly and completely cleaning the mask. Spread some toothpaste on the lenses inside the mask then rub it in to completely cover them. Once this is done, wash the scuba dive mask while ensuring that you avoid touching the glass too much. You can check how well it holds out by breathing into the mask. You might have to repeat this severally, but it is one of the most effective ways for reducing mask fog in the long term.
2. Mask Defoggers
Toothpaste is an effective treatment, but divers still prefer using some kind of anti-fog during dives. Here are 3 common options:
Defog Products: The market is full of serums and sprays marketed specifically towards defogging scuba and snorkel masks. All of them generally work in a similar way. You apply enough to coat the lenses, swish it around, and rinse it once in water before you put it on for the dive. The products typically cost between $6 and $10 for a 2-ounce bottle, but it does last for a long time. You can expect the bottle to last for a long time, and a single treatment will sometimes last for multiple dives without the need of reapplication.
Baby Shampoo: A few drops of baby shampoo diluted in water and then poured into a spray bottle is a popular and cheap alternative to defog products. You simply use it as you do the commercial defog; spray, swish, and rinse. This approach is increasing in popularity, but the important thing is to use baby shampoo since it is biodegradable and gentle and you don’t have to use a lot of it.
Spit: It might be surprising for new divers to learn that spit can be used as a mask defogger, but it is an effective, common, and free way to get rid of mask fog. Many divers actually swear that spit is more effective than anything you buy, and you never have to worry about leaving the defog bottle at home. The process is still the same. Apply, rinse, then wear.
If fogging is still a problem even after you have pre-treated your mask and used a defogger, you should think about changing your habits to correct the problem.
Try as much as possible not to touch the inside of the mask, especially right after using the defogger. Touching the mask transfers oils onto it and negates the effect of the defogger effectively dirtying the mask. While you can apply the defog using your fingers, try avoiding that if you discover that your mask still fogs after you apply defog using fingers. Use a defog that easily swishes around inside the mask as opposed to needing to be spread manually, and avoid putting your hands back on it once it is rinsed.
Avoid breathing out of your nose. Adjusting to breathing in and out solely through the mouth can take some time to adjust to, but exhaling via the nose is one of the leading causes of mask fog. Your focus should be on how you breathe to find out whether it could be one of the problems you are facing.
Ensure that you have a properly fitting mask. This goes hand in hand with the point above. If the mask floods frequently, you will have to breathe out the nose to clear it out often. The moisture that gets into the mask will also promote condensation that results in mask fog. In a perfect world, you would put on the mask onto your dry face and the area would remain dry for the entire dive. The truth is that some moisture will always get in, but of you struggle with excessive mask fog, it could be a good idea to reduce the amount of water coming into contact with the mask during your dive.