Apr 2015

Defogging your Mask

By Mike Waddington

A foggy mask can do more than just spoil your dive by obstructing your view to the incredible underwater world. It can damage you and your buddies ability to effectively communicate together, and it can even be dangerous to the less experienced diver, as it can distract the diver, leading them to possibly lose control of their buoyancy. At the very least, a foggy mask is annoying, but there is no need to let fog ruin your dive with these simple fog beating agents:

Commercial Defogging Agents: These defogging agents are probably the most effective way to prevent your mask from fogging up. Simply put a few drops in, and rub it around using a finger, and briefly rinse with freshwater before the dive. The idea is that you need to leave a film of the agent on the inside of the mask lens, so don’t be too vigorous when it comes to the rinsing stage.

Spit: Personally my favorite technique to stop my mask from fogging up. It is free, and when else is spitting socially acceptable?! It also gives you the chance to say the ‘the greener the cleaner, the whiter the brighter’. The downside is that some people feel that spitting is a disgusting habit, and won’t wear a rental mask that others may have spat in. Applied simply by spitting on the inside of the lens and rubbing it around. The idea is to leave a film of saliva on the mask lens, so try not to rinse too much, and it doesn’t work it the saliva dries, so this technique only works if used immediately before the dive.

Toothpaste: Another great method that leaves you minty fresh over your dive! The recommended way to do this is to apply a film of tooth paste AFTER your dive, and leave it on there to dry until your next dive. When that time comes simply rinse of the tooth paste off with fresh water a few minutes before the dive (to help avoid an overly minty dive).

Baby Shampoo: Used just like the commercial defogging agent. Regular shampoo can be used too, but beware, if it gets in the eyes you will know about it. Baby shampoo is less irritating to the eyes, hypo –allergenic and usually biodegradable.

Washing up Liquid: The choice for many dive operations while conducting pool dives, washing up liquid is an effective, cheap and hygienic way for keeping a mask clear while keeping the rented pool free of excess spit. Normally it is diluted a little, and it is a very effective way of keeping your mask fog free. The downside is, if it gets in your eyes it will seriously hurt, so be sure to only put enough in the prevent fogging. Please never use this technique in open water, as most washing liquids are non-biodegradable.

These techniques are great if you have had your mask for a while, or are using a rental mask from a dive center. If you have got a brand new mask then you will need to ‘prepare’ it before taking it out on its first dive. New masks have a residue left over from the manufacturing process, which coats the lens (it is supposed to help prevent damage to the glass). If this coating is not removed no amount of spitting or commercial defogging agent will keep your mask clear. There are two effective ways to remove this residue:

Toothpaste: Once again toothpaste can come to the aid of divers. Simply put some toothpaste on the inside of the lens and rub it around for a few minutes, and then leave it in overnight. Then before you go diving, repeat the process but this time simply wash the tooth paste off after. Personally I like to use toothpaste with granules in, as it really helps to get into the edges where the glass meets the silicon. Avoid using an extremely abrasive toothpaste, as it can potentially scratch the glass, which will really be annoying! It may take a few attempts to get it all off, but usually even after the first time the mask will be fine to use.

Fire: I personally don’t like to hold a lighter to my nice new silicon framed mask, as silicon melts with very little heat, and can burn if it gets too hot, but many divers swear by it, and it does work very well. All you need to do is hold a small flame, like that of a lighter or a candle, to the inside of the lenses. Simple move the flame around under the glass until the mask lens is completely black. When it has cooled wipe the black layer off using a cloth and repeat the process until it is difficult to make the glass black. Just be aware to keep the flame away from the silicon and don’t allow the glass to get too hot. Also never try this with a plastic lens mask!

‘Defogging your Mask’ was written by Mike

Related Blog: Tips for Mask Clearing

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Mike Waddington

I first discovered diving in 2008 after going snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. After trying diving at a flooded quarry in England I decided to head out to warmer more interesting waters in Thailand where I ended on the Island of Koh Tao completing my Open Water course. Instantly addicted with money to spend and plenty of time on my hands I decided to continue until I became a Divemaster so I could live what seemed as the perfect life.

After that I headed to the Caribbean to an island called Utila to complete my instructor course, I spent several months out there completing the MSDT internship, teaching students and leading dives. This is also where I discovered my interest in the technical side of diving, taking part in equipment repair courses and learning about blending gasses and running compressors.

With all my new qualifications it was time to head back to where it had all started, Back to Koh Tao where I intended on living the dream. Once I arrived I quickly found a job and started teaching straight away. During my time on Koh Tao I took part in all many technical diving courses, learning how to dive with re-breathers, in caves and even going down to 90m/300ft!


PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
PADI/DSAT Tech Deep Instructor
PADI/DSAT Gas Trimix Gas Blender
PADI/DSAT Trimix Diver
TDI Intro to Cave Diver
TDI Advanced Wreck Diver
TDI Inspiration rebreather Decompression Procedures
PADI Professional Videographer
BSAC Compressor Operator
TDI Equipment Service Technician

Dream Dive Locations:

Silfra, Iceland
Cenotes, Mexico
Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia
Ice Diving in Russia