There is nothing more frustrating than a foggy mask while going on a Fun Dives or snorkelling! It makes you miss all the cool stuff you could have seen underwater. You have troubles communicating with your buddies and it disturbs your technique as you obviously don’t see well what you are doing! So how do you avoid this irritating situation?
WHY DOES A MASK FOG UP?
The main reason is condensation. The moist and warm air contained in your mask starts cooling down in contact with the colder water and the natural process of condensation happens. The same thing takes place in winter when the windows of your house or car get foggy because room temperature is warmer than the air outside. This fogging effect is usually enhanced by dirt, imperfections of the glass or chemical residues present on the mask lens. It allows the drops of condensation to attach more easily. So here is what you should do!
FIRST THING TO DO WITH A NEW MASK
If you have a new mask, it will almost surely fogs up. Why? Because there are residue left over from the manufacturing process on the lens. You therefore need to remove those to start with. How to do that? Burn it! Yes you heard me burn your mask! Of course not the entire mask… Take a lighter or a candle and run the tip of the flame over the inside of the lens until the glass turns black. It will burn the chemicals out. Be careful not to get too close to the silicon skirt of the mask. Once it is done, wait until the glass cools down and clean it with soap or normal water.
PREVENT A FOGGY MASK BEFORE YOUR DIVE
So now your new mask is ready to take it diving but you still need to make sure you prevent it from fogging underwater. Most products you will use work the same. The chemicals in them lay a protective layer across the lens of the mask thus preventing mask fog from building up inside. To guarantee the process works efficiently, quickly rinse your mask after using them and don’t touch it anymore. There are a few products available so here are the ones you can try.
ANTI FOG/DEFOG PRODUCTS
The diving industry has a large variety of product available to prevent your mask from fogging. They are called anti fog, defogging agent, defog products…They usually come in small bottles and their texture is similar to a gel. Put a drop on the lens of your mask, rub it along the surface and rinse quickly.
TOOTHPASTE & BABY SHAMPOO
If you don’t want to invest in expensive defogging agents, know that simply toothpaste or baby shampoo work great. Avoid abrasive toothpaste, they could end up scratching the lens of your mask. The first price on the market would do great. And why the shampoo needs to be specifically for babies you may ask? That’s in case you don’t rinse your mask well enough, baby shampoo tends to hurt your eyes way less! Apply both the same way as the anti-fog, rub and rinse, done! It also leaves a nice smell in your mask for you to enjoy while diving. Toothpaste is the product we use at Bali Diversity with our divers.
This is by far the cheapest method! It has also the two great advantages of being always available (you can’t really forget your saliva!) and it is definitely the most environmentally friendly one! You will see most dive professionals use that technique as they dive every day. They may tell you “the greener, the better”! Don’t believe them, they are joking… just spit on the lens, rub, rinse, easy! This is my favourite technique as an Instructor and a marine biologist.
HOW TO DEFOG YOUR MASK UNDERWATER
Now you have done your job well but your mask still fogs up while diving…There may be additional reasons to why. First you may be exhaling a lot using your nose. Some people do. That adds moist air into your mask and can increase the risk of foggy mask. Second, you may have applied way too much sun cream on your face before your dive. This definitely helps the fogging process so try to limit the quantity you use and try to put it on at least 30min before the dive so it penetrates well into your skin. It is better for your mask and better for the reef!
If you still happen to get a foggy mask during your dive. Then remember the exercises you were learning during your PADI Open Water course. Put a bit of water inside your mask by placing the tip of your finger between your skin and the mask skirt. Face down so the water is on the lens of the mask and move your head right and left. The water acts as windscreen wipers and your mask is clean. You just need to clear your mask afterward. It may come back later on the dive, just repeat the process as needed.
Here we hope those tips have helped you enjoying your dives or snorkelling and that you would never get a foggy mask again!