How to look after your scuba mask?
After our post about how to choose your scuba mask, now let's have a look at how to look after your new mask!
Important things to do after you have bought the mask
Once you are sure the mask fits and you are happy with it, you need to prepare it for diving. To protect the glass, manufacturing companies put a special chemical on the mask lenses which means no amounts of spit, baby shampoo or defogger seems to prevent fogging.
The most radical way to get rid of these, and the most effective, is to burn it off (that's what the dive centres do). You need to this very carefully for obvious reasons. Hold the mask up skirting down (as if the mask is looking to the ceiling) then very carefully bring the flame of a lighter to the glass and move it around in small circles, avoiding the silicon skirting. The glass will start getting black. When it starts getting hot on you fingers and on the glass, stop burning. Repeat several time on each/all over the lens. When you have done this get some white paste toothpaste and a toothbrush and gently scrub the lens until clean.
Some people advise to then leave a coat of toothpaste over night to finalise the process. If the mask is still fogging after your dives, repeat the process. Remember you'll probably need quite a lot of defogger anyway with a new mask at the beginning.
How to look after your mask
Wash it! Make sure you give it a really good rinse in fresh water after each and every time you use it. Put it out to dry and make sure it's perfectly dry before putting it away. If you don't use if often, it may be worth taking it out and wetting it from time to time or also looking into products that help preserve rubber (think fetish shops; only half joking but you should be able to find them elsewhere too).
Make sure you regularly give it a wash with 'washing up ' liquid, especially if it has a clear skirting. It stops the silicon from going milky and avoids the grey and black spots that might come from mold (another reason to dry it well). It's actually a good thing to do for dark/opaque skirting too, the silicon always looks better after a good wash with fairy liquid.
To avoid any unfortunate accident, keep your mask in a box (they often come in practical plastic boxes when you buy them) when you travel and if it takes up too much space when you are diving , pop it into your fin foot pocket if possible or pop it in the centre of the BCD and make sure it is wrapped inside (if possible under the wetsuit).
If you look after it your mask, it will last you a life time (well, close enough). Choose it well and take care of it!