Nothing is as annoying as your mask fogging up while diving and snorkeling. Imagine this… you get ready for the dive of your life on the islands of the Galapagos. You jump into the water, and while you are descending you notice the first signs of your scuba mask fogging up. You let some water in and clear the fog, hoping that it will stay away. Sadly, most of the time this is only the start of more trouble. Once you have rinsed your mask with water the enzymes are washed away and your mask keeps fogging up the whole dive. The result is that you’ve just missed the large school of hammerheads passing by. To help you prevent this we have listed the four best ways to keep your mask from fogging up.
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1. Pretreat your mask
When you buy a mask, it’s not ready to dive straight from the box. On the inside of the mask there is still leftover residue from production. This is a byproduct of the manufacturing process and it causes your mask to fog up all day long, even when you use anti-fog before your dive. Luckily this is quite easy to fix. Get your toothpaste out and get ready to scrub.
The first thing you need to do is get comfortable. Get your newly bought mask and sit on the couch with the toothpaste ready. Place a small drop on the glass and rub it in for around 10 minutes. After ten minutes rinse all the toothpaste out in the sink and your mask is ready to be used.
Over time, your mask will start to fog again. This is due to the grease which comes off of your face. Products like sunblock contribute as well. The only thing to counter this is to whip out your toothpaste and start rubbing again.
2. The good old spit
Even though pretreating your mask is absolutely necessary, it doesn’t solve the problem of fogging your mask up completely. Just before the dive or snorkel you need to spit in your mask and rub it all over the glasses. Rinse the mask and put it on your face. The closer to the dive you do this the better. Also every time you take off the mask it is recommend to repeat this process. And remember, an old diving saying says “the greener the cleaner!”
One big downside of using spit is the fact that over time fungus accumulates around the edges of the glass. To prevent this you can use anti-fog spray or detergent.
3. Anti-fog plastic stickers or specially designed masks
One of the latest innovations to combat the fog is the Tusa Anti-Fog Film. This film is put on the inside of your mask and prevents it from fogging. Spitting in your mask is a thing of the past with this film in place. You do need to clean it every now and again with a small anti-fog lotion, which is sold separately.
Cressi released a new mask called the Calibro which is equipped with a special strip around the nose. This strip supposedly closes of the nose so that when you breath out the air is trapped in the nose pocket. We have tested the Cressi Calibro and you can find the review here!
4. Licking the glass
So what do you do when you’re on the Galapagos on the dive of your life and your mask fogs up? There is actually a technical diver trick to fix this problem but it requires some skill. First you take off your mask and keep it in one hand. With the other hand you take your regulator out and you simply start licking the glass of your mask. This is the underwater equivalent of spitting in your mask. Since you’re without a mask and without a regulator in your mouth during this, maybe practice it a few times in the pool before you have a go at it in the real world.
How not to prevent mask fogging
A way to pretreat your mask which we hear a lot is burning the residue off with a lighter. This is actually not a great idea and here is why. You actually burn off the tempered part of your mask and make it prone to breaking under pressure. Many mask manuals state this fact, but still, a lot of people keep doing it. The only reason why you won’t hear about lots of divers having imploding masks underwater is because masks nowadays are built for extreme depths, so burning of a little bit of the tempered protective layer won’t affect them that much. But please keep in mind that you are weakening your mask and if you do it every year or so this builds up.
Curious what mask to buy? We have done quite a few reviews about masks! You can find them here.