How to Clean Snorkeling Gear: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Clean Snorkeling Gear
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Snorkeling is a fun and exciting activity that allows you to explore the underwater world. However, to fully enjoy your snorkeling experience, it is important to keep your gear clean and well-maintained. Cleaning your snorkeling gear regularly not only helps to extend its lifespan but also ensures that it remains hygienic and free from harmful bacteria.

The process of cleaning snorkeling gear may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done quickly and easily. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to clean your snorkeling gear, including your mask, snorkel, and fins. Whether you are a seasoned snorkeler or a beginner, this guide will help you keep your gear in top condition and ready for your next adventure.

Understanding Snorkeling Gear

Snorkeling gear is essential for an enjoyable and safe snorkeling experience. Understanding the different components of snorkeling gear is crucial to ensure that you have the right equipment for your needs.


The mask is one of the most important pieces of equipment for snorkeling. It allows you to see clearly underwater and protects your eyes from saltwater and debris. When choosing a mask, it is important to consider the following:

  • Fit: The mask should fit snugly around your face to prevent water from entering.
  • Lens: Choose a mask with a tempered glass lens for durability and clarity.
  • Skirt: The skirt is the part of the mask that seals against your face. Choose a skirt made of silicone for comfort and a good seal.


The snorkel is the tube that allows you to breathe while your face is in the water. When choosing a snorkel, consider the following:

  • Size: Choose a snorkel that is the right size for your mouth and face.
  • Shape: The shape of the snorkel affects how easily you can breathe. J-shaped snorkels are the most common and provide a good balance of ease of breathing and water resistance.
  • Purge valve: Some snorkels have a purge valve that allows you to clear water from the snorkel with a quick exhale.


Fins help you move through the water more efficiently and comfortably. When choosing fins, consider the following:

  • Size: Fins should fit snugly but not be too tight or too loose.
  • Style: There are two main styles of fins: open heel and full foot. Open heel fins are adjustable and can be worn with booties. Full foot fins are worn barefoot and are generally less adjustable.
  • Blade: The shape and size of the blade affect how much power you can generate with each kick. Longer blades provide more power but can be more tiring to use.

By understanding the different components of snorkeling gear, you can make informed decisions when choosing equipment for your next snorkeling adventure.

Preparation for Cleaning

Before cleaning the snorkeling gear, it is essential to prepare adequately to ensure that the process is efficient and effective. The following are the necessary steps to take before cleaning:

Gather the Necessary Cleaning Supplies

To clean the snorkeling gear, one needs to have the right cleaning supplies. The following are the essential cleaning supplies for cleaning snorkeling gear:

  • Mild detergent or soap
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Bucket or sink
  • Warm water
  • Towels

Disassemble the Snorkeling Gear

The next step is to disassemble the snorkeling gear. Separate the snorkel, mask, and fins. This will make it easier to clean each part thoroughly.

Rinse the Gear

Before cleaning the snorkeling gear, rinse it with warm water to remove any sand, salt, or debris. Ensure that the water is not too hot to avoid damaging the gear.

Soak the Gear

After rinsing, soak the snorkeling gear in warm water with mild detergent or soap. The soaking time may vary depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, but it is advisable to soak for at least 30 minutes.

Scrub the Gear

Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the snorkeling gear to remove any remaining dirt or debris. Be gentle to avoid damaging the gear.

Rinse and Dry the Gear

After scrubbing, rinse the snorkeling gear with warm water to remove any soap residue. Dry the gear thoroughly using a towel. Ensure that the gear is completely dry before storing it to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Cleaning Process

Cleaning snorkeling gear after each use is crucial to maintain its longevity and ensure a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience. The cleaning process involves three main parts: cleaning the mask, cleaning the snorkel, and cleaning the fins.

Cleaning the Mask

To clean the mask, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the mask with fresh water to remove any sand or debris.
  2. Apply a small amount of non-abrasive toothpaste to the inside of the mask lenses.
  3. Rub the toothpaste gently with your fingers in a circular motion for about a minute.
  4. Rinse the mask thoroughly with fresh water and let it air dry.

Cleaning the Snorkel

To clean the snorkel, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the snorkel with fresh water to remove any sand or debris.
  2. Fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
  3. Submerge the snorkel in the soapy water and let it soak for about 10 minutes.
  4. Use a snorkel cleaning brush to scrub the inside of the snorkel tube thoroughly.
  5. Rinse the snorkel thoroughly with fresh water and let it air dry.

Cleaning the Fins

To clean the fins, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the fins with fresh water to remove any sand or debris.
  2. Fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
  3. Submerge the fins in the soapy water and let them soak for about 10 minutes.
  4. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the fins gently, paying extra attention to the foot pockets.
  5. Rinse the fins thoroughly with fresh water and let them air dry.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your snorkeling gear clean and in good condition for many snorkeling adventures to come.

Drying and Storing Your Gear

After cleaning your snorkeling gear, it is important to dry and store it properly to prevent mold and mildew growth. Here are some tips for drying and storing your gear:

  • Hang your gear: Hang your gear in a well-ventilated area to allow it to air dry completely. Make sure it is not exposed to direct sunlight or heat, which can damage the materials.
  • Separate your gear: Separate your mask, snorkel, and fins to allow them to dry individually. This will also prevent the fins from damaging the other gear.
  • Use a drying rack: If you have a lot of gear or limited space, consider using a drying rack to hang your gear. This will allow air to circulate around the gear and speed up the drying process.
  • Store in a cool, dry place: Once your gear is completely dry, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. A gear bag or plastic container with ventilation holes is ideal for storage.
  • Avoid storing in a damp area: Do not store your gear in a damp area such as a basement or garage. This can lead to mold and mildew growth and damage your gear.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your snorkeling gear stays clean, dry, and in good condition for your next adventure.

Maintenance Tips

To ensure that your snorkeling gear lasts for a long time, it’s important to take good care of it. Here are a few maintenance tips to keep in mind:

Rinse Thoroughly

After each use, rinse your snorkeling gear thoroughly with fresh water. This will help to remove any salt, sand, or other debris that may have accumulated on the equipment. Be sure to rinse both the inside and outside of the mask, as well as the snorkel and fins.

Dry Completely

Once you’ve rinsed your gear, be sure to dry it completely before storing it. Hang the mask and snorkel in a well-ventilated area, and allow them to air dry completely. Fins should be wiped down with a towel and then placed in a dry area away from direct sunlight.

Store Properly

When storing your snorkeling gear, be sure to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing it in a damp or humid environment, as this can cause mold and mildew to grow on the equipment.

Check for Damage

Before each use, be sure to inspect your snorkeling gear for any signs of damage. Check the mask for cracks or scratches, and make sure the straps are in good condition. Inspect the snorkel for any cracks or holes, and ensure that the mouthpiece is in good shape. Check the fins for any cracks or damage, and make sure the straps are secure.

By following these maintenance tips, you can help to ensure that your snorkeling gear lasts for years to come.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to cleaning snorkeling gear, there are a few common mistakes that people make that can damage their equipment or leave it less than clean. Here are some things to avoid:

1. Using harsh chemicals

Some people think that using harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia will help to disinfect their gear better, but this is actually a mistake. These chemicals can damage the materials in your gear and leave them less effective or even unsafe to use. Stick to mild soap and water for cleaning your gear.

2. Not rinsing thoroughly

Another mistake people make is not rinsing their gear thoroughly enough after cleaning it. This can leave residue on your gear that can irritate your skin or even damage the materials. Make sure to rinse your gear thoroughly with clean water after cleaning it.

3. Leaving gear in direct sunlight

After cleaning your gear, it’s important to let it dry completely before storing it. However, leaving your gear in direct sunlight to dry can actually damage the materials and cause them to degrade more quickly. Instead, let your gear dry in a shaded area or indoors.

4. Storing gear improperly

Finally, storing your gear improperly can also cause damage. Make sure to store your gear in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and any sources of heat or moisture. This will help to keep your gear in good condition and ready to use whenever you’re ready to hit the water.


In conclusion, cleaning snorkeling gear is an essential task that should be done after every use. It helps to prolong the life of the equipment and ensures that it remains in good condition for future use.

To clean snorkeling gear, one should first rinse it with clean water to remove any sand or debris. Then, the gear should be soaked in a solution of warm water and mild detergent for a few minutes. After soaking, the gear should be rinsed thoroughly with clean water and allowed to dry in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

It is important to note that different types of snorkeling gear may require different cleaning methods. For instance, silicone masks should not be cleaned with abrasive materials or harsh chemicals as they can damage the surface. Additionally, fins should be stored separately from other gear to prevent scratches and damage.

By following these simple steps, one can ensure that their snorkeling gear remains clean and in good condition for many years to come. Remember to always read the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations before cleaning or storing your gear.

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